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Kenneth Standard

Lawyer Kenneth G. Standard is a prominent lawyer and diversity activist. As a child, civil rights activism was an important part of his family life; his elder sister worked for the national office of the NAACP, and from a young age he heard about and met NAACP lawyers like Thurgood Marshall and Charles Hamilton Houston. Standard graduated from Harvard University with his A.B. degree, and went on to receive his LL.B. degree from Harvard School of Law in 1962.

In 1967, Standard was hired as an attorney with the Bristol-Myers pharmaceutical company. In 1968, he was promoted to counsel of the products division; by 1970, he had been promoted again to become the division’s vice president. Standard continued his legal education, receiving his LL.M. degree from New York University’s School of Law in 1971. In 1988, he began working at the Consolidated Edison Company (Con Ed) as the assistant general counsel for labor relations. In 1999, Standard joined the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he served as special counsel. From 2004 to 2005, he served as president of the New York State Bar Association, and focused on increasing diversity within the legal field. In 2004, Standard joined the law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green as a member in its National Labor & Employment Practice. During this time, he also developed and chaired the firm’s nationwide diversity committee.

In 2006, the New York State Bar Association created the Kenneth G. Standard Internship program in his honor, which is specifically designed to support law students from a diverse range of backgrounds. In 2011, Standard received the American Bar Association’s Alexander Award for Lifetime Achievement in Pipeline Diversity; and, in 2013, he was elected fellow by the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Standard and his late wife, Valerie Ann Salmon, have a daughter, Alison, and two sons, Devin and Trevor.

Kenneth Standard was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 14, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.003

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/14/2014

Last Name

Standard

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 47

P.S. 44 Marcus Garvey Elementary School

P.S. 45 Horace E Greene School

Boys High School

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

New York University School of Law

First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

STA10

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/4/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Lawyer Kenneth Standard (1936 - ) has been an employment and labor lawyer for over forty years, and served as president of the New York State Bar Association.

Employment

United States Securities & Exchange Commision

New York State

New York Telephone Company

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

New York City Board of Education

ConEdison

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Epstein Becker & Green

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth Standard's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard talks about his father's service in the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard talks about his Bajan heritage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks briefly about the migration of his paternal aunts from Barbados to Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes his older siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard describes his childhood home in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard describes his childhood neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard recalls his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Kenneth Standard recalls an experience from his elementary school years

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Kenneth Standard talks about the onset of the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Kenneth Standard describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Kenneth Standard remembers his eldest sister, Muriel

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard talks about moving to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about the academic influence of his elder sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes spending time with his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes his family's Christmas holiday celebration

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard remembers his elder sister, Phyllis Johnson

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard describes his experience as an Eagle Scout and lifeguard

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard lists his favorite school subjects

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard talks about being awarded his Eagle Scout badge as an adult

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard talks about his family's eviction in 1954

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes his experience at P.S. 44 Marcus Garvey elementary school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard describes Boys High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard talks about applying to the Naval ROTC program and explains how he financed his college education

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard describes the student body demographic at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1954

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard describes his suitemates in his freshman dormitory at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard remembers his first weeks as an undergraduate student at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his freshman academic year at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard explains how he financed his undergraduate and law school education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard describes his personal development during his undergraduate years at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks briefly about playing squash with the Harvard Club of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes his introduction and marriage to his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard remembers his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard explains how he avoided the draft

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes the class size, faculty and curriculum at Harvard Law School in 1958

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard talks about the black student population at Harvard Law School, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard talks about the absence of discriminatory attitudes from Harvard Law faculty

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard describes the academic environment at Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Kenneth Standard describes the black student population at Harvard Law School, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard describes his jobs between semesters at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard explains the transition from the LL.B. to the J.D. degree within the legal profession

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard talks about the birth of his daughter in 1962

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes studying for the bar exam

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an enforcement attorney in 1962

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure in the New York State Moreland Act Commission legal department

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard explains how he became a trial attorney for the New York Telephone Company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes his experience as a trial attorney for the New York Telephone Company, and his introduction to judge George Bundy Smith

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes his final case with the New York Telephone Company in 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes the legal department at the New York Telephone Company, and joining Bristol-Myers as an assistant staff attorney

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard reflects upon his career prior to joining Bristol-Myers

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard describes the size and structure of the legal department at Bristol-Myers

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about the involvement of his children at the Bristol-Myers company

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at Bristol-Myers, and his contribution to the organization of the Monarch Crown Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes the Monarch Crown Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard describes employee demographics at the Monarch Crown Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks about his promotion to division counsel and division vice president at Bristol-Myers

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes the nurturing environment at the Bristol-Myers, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes the nurturing environment at Bristol-Myers, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes his proudest accomplishments as an employee at the Bristol-Myers Company

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard talks about a management overhaul and company reorganization at the Bristol-Myers Company

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard talks about his termination from the Bristol-Myers Company in 1984

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining the New York City Board of Education as its director of legal services in 1985

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at the New York City Board of Education

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at Con Edison

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard talks about resolving an employment discrimination lawsuit filed against Con Edison

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm in 2000

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes his volunteer work with BEEP, the Black Executive Exchange Program

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard talks about his involvement with the Harvard Club of New York

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes working at the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion plans, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard explains how the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion of 2003 was financed

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard describes the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion plans, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard talks about settling a lawsuit in opposition of the 2003 Harvard clubhouse expansion

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard talks about the additions to the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse and its membership procedures

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about being elected president of the New York State Bar Association

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard talks about black members of the New York State Bar Association and its first black president, Archibald R. Murray

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure as president of the New York State Bar Association

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard remembers an instance of racial profiling against hiim

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks about custodial interrogation and the death of Danroy Henry

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining the law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green in 2004

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes his role as general counsel at Epstein, Becker & Green

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard considers retirement

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard considers his influence on his children and grandchildren

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard reflects upon the role his high-quality elementary education played in his success

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard remembers instances of discrimination in elementary school

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his hopes and concerns for the African American demographic

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard talks about contemporary American social justice efforts

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard critiques the high cost of legal education and suggests reforms to resolve the unmet legal needs of the public

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard considers the factors that contributed to his success

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$5

DAStory

11$3

DATitle
Kenneth Standard explains how the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion of 2003 was financed
Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at Bristol-Myers, and his contribution to the organization of the Monarch Crown Corporation
Transcript
I discovered that we had a painting in the clubhouse [Harvard Club of New York, New York, New York] that was worth in the--in the seven figures. We, we got a--we had talked to some agents, art agents about the possibility of selling it. We found that, that they would sell it for us and then their commission would be--it was 10 or 15 percent; I, I can't recall. Then we--and this is all within the first six months of my taking office. We had retained a lawyer who specialized in representing people who have valuable works of art, and he said that he had been contacted by a gallery that had a client who might want to buy the painting, which was called The Chess Game by [John Singer] Sargent, and that the person wanted to see the painting.$$By John Singer Sargent?$$Yes, wanted to see the painting in his home to see how it went with the decor. So we worked out an agreement for him to get the painting on approval. We didn't know who it was; it was an anonymous person, and the painting was shipped out. A day or two after the painting was shipped out, we started getting calls from some members who said I've seen your painting in the Bellagio in Las Vegas [Nevada]. Why is The Chess Game hanging in the Bellagio in Las Vegas? So we didn't respond right away, but we made inquiries; we had our lawyer make inquiries. And it turned out that the person was Steve Wynn, but he didn't want to see it in his home, he wanted to display it in the Bellagio, which was contrary to the agreement that he had signed with us or that had been signed with us on his behalf because he was on disclose. So we directed them to send it back immediately, so the painting was sent back immediately. But this turned out to be a happy aberrational act because our lawyer then said to us, you know, this reminds me that I have a client I think who might be interested and can afford to buy this painting. Let me approach him and see if he is interested. And this client has a foundation, so he did approach the client, the client was interested. The client agreed to buy the painting, $13,500,000 dollars, no 10 percent commission, so we netted $13,500,000 on this painting, which had been given to us about forty or fifty years earlier. It was hanging in our stairway in the front entrance, very accessible to a thief or thieves, no great security. We had a lot of insurance; we were paying about fifteen to twenty thousand dollars a year in insurance on it, but it was underappreciated. So I said to the board, I think we need to sell it. I got them to agree, so we sold it, $13,500,000 less $20,000 dollars in legal fees for everything the lawyer had done for us. And so that gave us about 40 percent of the cost of the expansions, which meant that the mortgage could be much smaller. Through prudent management, we also had built up reserve funds, so we had a couple million dollars in cash available to us, so I said, well, let's go ahead and explore with architects the expansion, so we did that.$I would say within six, probably six months of my arrival [at Bristol-Myers, later, Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York, New York]--$$And you joined in nineteen sixty--$$I--August of '67 [1967].$$Seven, okay.$$Yeah. Yes, and it was a far more generous company than New York Telephone Company [later, Verizon Communications, New York, New York]. They--Bristol-Myers paid much, much better, and keep--there were a lot of other fringe benefits that were not available at the Telephone Company, available at Bristol. So I joined--they also had a policy that all the new lawyers would be sent to law school to learn the kinds of--to deal with the kinds of issues that the company was facing. So I enrolled at NYU [New York University, New York, New York] at the firm's expense. I went down a couple nights a week and I took food, drug, and cosmetic law. I think that was probably the first course I, I took there, and, and I took a number of other courses over the years. And I, like some of the--my predecessors, elected to stay long enough to get an LL.M. [Master of Laws], so that's how I happened to get an LL--LL.M. degree in trade regulation. And so I was preparing myself to do the work as, as I went along and the company was very supportive. We had a change relatively quickly. The man who had been counsel for the division as well as for another division lost the Bristol-Myers Products division and was counsel for just one division, and the lawyer who had been in between me and him was promoted to be counsel of the division, so there was just the two of us then doing that work. Around the same time, I was also asked to help set up a new [U.S.] Military sales organization of all of the products, not simply Bristol-Myers but the Clairol products and Drackett products to Military installations. And a man who had been vice president of sales for products division by the name of [F.] Harry Fletcher, he was the man who was then made the president of this new division, which was called--or a subsidiary--Monarch Crown Corporation, so I helped him to organize that division. He became a lifelong friend of me and his family and my family also became lifelong friends.$$So let me understand something, so you come in 1967. What division are you assigned--I mean you said that--$$I'm--I worked for Bristol-Myers company--$$Right.$$--I'm on the Bristol-Myers company payroll, but I'm assigned to the Bristol-Myers Products division as their lawyer.$$Okay, so you stayed with it, so--$$I stayed with that division during my entire career.$$Okay. And then so, Mr. Flet--you said--$$Fletcher.$$Fletcher.$$Fletcher had been a vice president of sales of Bristol-Myers Products and because of political issues and so on, he lost that position, and then he was given the opportunity to create this new business, which he did very successfully called Monarch Crown Corporation.$$Okay.