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David B. Wilkins

Legal scholar and law professor David B. Wilkins was born on January 22, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois. His father, attorney Julian Wilkins, became the first black partner at a major law firm in Chicago in 1971. Wilkins graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in 1973. He received his A.B. degree in government with honors in 1977 from Harvard College and his J.D. degree with honors in 1980 from Harvard Law School. While in law school, Wilkins was a member of the Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, and the Harvard Black Law Students Association.

Upon graduation, Wilkins served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Wilkins then clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall from 1981 to 1982. In 1982, Wilkins worked as an associate specializing in civil litigation at the law firm of Nussbaum, Owen & Webster in Washington, D.C. He then joined the faculty of Harvard Law School in 1986 as an assistant professor. Wilkins was appointed as Director of the Program on the Legal Profession in 1991 and received tenure in 1992, making him the school’s fourth African American tenured professor and the sixth in the history of the school. He served as the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law from 1996 until 2008, when he became the Lester Kissel Professor of Law. In 2009, Wilkins was appointed as Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession and Faculty Director of the Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School.

As a legal scholar, Wilkins authored over sixty articles on the legal profession, and co-authored, along with Andrew Kaufman, Problems in Professional Responsibility for a Changing Profession. In addition, Wilkins served as a Senior Research Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the Faculty Committee of the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. Wilkins has also lectured on various issues in legal studies internationally as well as in the United States. Harvard Law School honored Wilkins with the Albert M. Sachs – Paul Freund Award for Teaching Excellence in 1998 and the J. Clay Smith Award in 2009. He received the Order of the Coif Distinguished Visitor Fellowship in 2008 and was honored as the American Bar Foundation Scholar of the Year Award in 2010. In 2012, Professor Wilkins was elected as a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2012, Wilkins was honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Stockholm University in Stockholm, Sweden, the Distinguished Visiting Mentor Award from Australia National University, and the Genest Fellowship from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Wilkins and his wife, Ann Marie WIlkins, live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

David B. Wilkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 29, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.109

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/29/2013

10/18/2016

Last Name

Wilkins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Brian

Occupation
Schools

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WIL63

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Just Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/22/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Macaroni and Cheese

Short Description

Lawyer and law professor David B. Wilkins (1956 - ) was the Lester Kissel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He also served as the vice dean for global initiatives on the legal profession and faculty director of the program on the legal profession and the Center on Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry.

Employment

Harvard University Law School

Harvard University

American Bar Association (ABA)

Nussbaum, Owen and Webster

Supreme Court of the United States

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Kirkland and Ellis LLP

McDonald's

Commonwealth Edison Company

Covington and Burling LLP

Morrison and Foerster LLP

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644522">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David B. Wilkins' interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644523">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644524">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644525">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about his sister's research on their family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644526">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls his family's connection to the United Methodist Church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644527">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644528">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644529">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins talks about his paternal uncle, J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644530">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644531">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's education and U.S. military service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644532">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644533">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his paternal family's legacy at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644534">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers his paternal grandfather's tenure in the U.S. government</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644535">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins talks about the founding of Seaway National Bank in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644536">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644537">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's transition to Jenner and Block in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644538">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's tenure at Jenner and Block, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644539">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's tenure at Jenner and Block, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644540">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about the creation of Lafontant, Wilkins and Fisher in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644541">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins remembers his father's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644542">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644543">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls a family trip to South America</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644544">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644545">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins recalls graduating from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644546">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's and paternal uncle's legal careers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644547">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins describes his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644548">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about his brothers' international travels</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644549">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins recalls his childhood on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644550">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers moving to Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644551">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins describes the racial demographics of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644552">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers his classmates at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644553">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins talks about his friendship with Arne Duncan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644554">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins describes his family's relationship with the Bowman family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644555">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls his interest in debate at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644556">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about the environment of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644557">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about the environment of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644558">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins remembers his high school debate coach, Earl Bell</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644559">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644560">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins recalls the gang activity on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644561">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins remembers the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644562">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about the segregation of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644563">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's political affiliations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644564">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about his paternal family's prominence</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644565">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his decision to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644566">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls the political climate of the early 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644567">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American community in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644568">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins describes the founding of the Black Students Association at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644569">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American faculty members at Harvard University, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644570">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American faculty members at Harvard University, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644571">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of David B. Wilkins' interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644572">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's experiences at the Harvard Law School, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644573">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's experiences at the Harvard Law School, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644574">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's influence on his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644575">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American community at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644576">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins recalls his classmates at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644577">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins remembers meeting Al Haymon at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644578">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins talks about the increase of African American students at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644579">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about the Black Students Association at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644580">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins describes his involvement in theater and radio at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644581">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about his experiences of racial discrimination in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644582">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers Anthony R. Chase and his wife at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644583">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins describes his summer position at the Commonwealth Edison Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644584">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins recalls his decision to attend Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644585">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins remembers his professors at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644586">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins recalls meeting his wife, Ann Marie Wilkins</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644587">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's decision to leave Jenner and Block in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644588">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls joining the Harvard Law Review</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644589">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his experiences clerking at Kirkland and Ellis, LLP in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644590">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his experiences clerking at Kirkland and Ellis, LLP in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644591">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins talks about the emergence of critical legal studies at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644592">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins talks about his clerkships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644593">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins describes his experiences on the Harvard Law Review</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644594">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins remembers working with Harold Hongju Koh at the Harvard Law Review</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644595">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins remembers his colleagues at the Harvard Law Review</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644596">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about his paternal uncle's thoughts on his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644597">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his clerkship for Justice Wilfred Feinberg</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644598">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers clerking in the U.S. Supreme Court for Thurgood Marshall, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644599">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins remembers clerking in the U.S. Supreme Court for Thurgood Marshall, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644600">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his position at Nussbaum, Owen and Webster in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644601">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins remembers his Harvard Law School professor, Clarence Clyde Ferguson, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644602">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins remembers being approached to teach at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644603">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls the controversy surrounding Jack Greenberg's course at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644604">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins remembers his interview at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644605">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about the different levels of professorship at the Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644606">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls the first African American professors at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644607">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his initial faculty presentation at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644608">Tape: 11 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins recalls his first year of teaching at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644609">Tape: 12 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about the first class he taught at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644610">Tape: 12 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins describes his position as a graduate assistant at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644611">Tape: 12 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins remembers his transition to teaching at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644612">Tape: 12 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about Charles Ogletree's career at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644613">Tape: 12 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins talks about the faculty and students of Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644614">Tape: 12 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers Derrick A. Bell, Jr.</a>

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$10

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
David B. Wilkins remembers his paternal grandfather's tenure in the U.S. government
David B. Wilkins remembers clerking in the U.S. Supreme Court for Thurgood Marshall, pt. 1
Transcript
So Wilkins, Wilkins and Wilkins in Chicago [Illinois].$$Yes.$$That's the law firm.$$That's the law firm.$$Okay.$$And it was a typical you know black law firm of its day. Meaning it served primarily, if not almost exclusively, a clientele of black individuals and small black businesses. My grandfather [J. Ernest Wilkins, Sr.] had built it up over the years at the time in which there were very few black lawyers in Chicago. He'd become well known in the Chicago legal circle. He was one of the few black lawyers who had gone to a prestigious law school [University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, Illinois]. He was active in Republican politics. This was at the time in which it was still the party of Lincoln [President Abraham Lincoln] and so most blacks were Republicans. That--it was through that combination of being prominent in the legal community, he was prominent--he was the head of the Cook County Bar Association, which was the black lawyers association, and also was a member of the ABA [American Bar Association] and of the Chicago Bar Association, again for black lawyers was very unusual, and I think it was that combination plus his role in politics which brought him to the attention of the Eisenhower administration [President Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower]. That's why he got selected for that position and when he left to go to Washington [D.C.], my father [Julian Wilkins] took over the law firm and very quickly thereafter, and I can't quite get the chronology, it might have even been before my grandfather went to Washington, my uncle [John R. Wilkins] also left the firm. First, to go to be a law clerk to William Hastie [William H. Hastie] who by that time was now a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit]. Although he could have been when he was a district judge. Actually I should look that up to make sure. But he was Hastie's first law clerk and I'm pretty sure it was on the Third Circuit. Then my uncle went on to government service where he worked in the Agency for International Development [United States Agency for International Development] living in India for several years and eventually became--was appointed by President Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] to be the general counsel of the Agency for International Development, where he became the first black general counsel of that organization. And until, I think this is fair to say, until the Obama administration [HistoryMaker President Barack Obama] or certainly until the Clinton administration [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton], the only black general counsel. There has now been at least one more and maybe two more. Then he left there to become a professor at the University of California law school at Berkeley [University of California Berkeley School of Law, Berkeley, California], the Boalt school of law, where he became the first black professor of that law school and only the second black faculty member in the entire Berkeley campus [University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California]. So he joined there '63 [1963] or '64 [1964] shortly after Kennedy was assassinated.$$Okay.$$My grandfather, in a history that actually is chronicled very well in my sister's book ['Damn Near White: An African American Family's Rise from Slavery to Bittersweet Success,' Carolyn Marie Wilkins], was--held his position for something like two or three years but eventually resigned in the course of a power struggle controversy around the direction of the labor department [U.S. Department of Labor] particularly, (cough) excuse me, in international affairs. So my grandfather had been the delegate to the International Labour Organization, which was a very important hotbed of controversy in the 1950s during the Cold War. And my father's--and my grandfather's appointment there was seen as a kind of way for the United States to blunt the criticism of the Soviet Union, that the U.S. was hostile to labor and particularly to black labor. So he was very much a symbol of his race in that organization and in a story that we still don't fully understand, he got into a power struggle with a new--Eisenhower had a new secretary of labor [James P. Mitchell] who was brought in the second term, I think so in nineteen fifty--fifty- no it was during the first term, it must have been in '55 [1955] or something like that, '54 [1954], '55 [1955]. Eventually my grandfather resigned and it was a big controversy about the resignation. There were lots of stories in the paper. My sister [HistoryMaker Carolyn Wilkins] writes about this in the book. But my grandfather stayed living in Washington as he decided what he was going to do and he died very tragically of a heart attack in his, he was in his mid-fifties. And, so he never came back to the firm.$So is it an easy thing once you work on the law review [Harvard Law Review] to clerk? Is it (simultaneous)--?$$(Simultaneous) It's an easy thing to get--almost everybody gets a clerkship--$$Clerkship.$$--but then it's incredibly competitive about which clerkships you get, and the most prestigious ones are on the D.C. Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit] or on the Second Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit], and particularly those which were thought to be quote feeders for the [U.S.] Supreme Court. Meaning that they send--judges who sent a lot of law clerks up to clerk on the Supreme Court.$$So Feinberg [Wilfred Feinberg], he was a feeder?$$So he was--I didn't fully realize it at the time, but because he was sitting in Thurgood Marshall's seat and Thurgood Marshall was the circuit justice for the Second Circuit. He would take often a Feinberg clerk, not always, it wasn't quite like a Skelly Wright [J. Skelly Wright] and Brennan [William J. Brennan, Jr.], where Brennan would just take all of Skelly Wright's clerks. But it was a very--it turned out to be a very advantageous clerkship for me to get, my ultimate dream was to clerk for Thurgood Marshall which was an incredible experience (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So, so can you talk about that?$$So, you know people ask me--$$'Cause at that point what age is he?$$So, he's old, he's like seven- well, I mean he's getting younger every day because now as I turn sixty, seventy-eight I think he was or seventy--he was in his seventies, it doesn't seem all that old to me actually. But I think seventy-eight sticks out in my mind. And when people ask me what he was like I say he's kind of like your grandfather, meaning he had a lot of--your grandfather lived an amazing life. So he was really smart and he had lots of wisdom, but he also didn't have a lot of patience and he pretty much knew exactly what he was going to do and what he wasn't going to do and he really didn't put up with much. We'd be arguing with him and we'd be--the law clerks would be saying, "Judge, you have to do this," or, "You have to do that," and he would say, "You know, I only have to do two things; stay black and die" (laughter). That would kind of be the end of the argument. Or he'd turn around and he would point to the wall and he'd say, "President Johnson [President Lyndon Baines Johnson] signed my commission. Who signed yours?" (Laughter) So again that was sort of the end of the argument, right. People say, "What do you remember most?" And, "What's the best thing?" And of course there were these amazing arguments and I saw these amazing lawyers including--Larry Tribe [Laurence Tribe] came and argued a case. Walking up the steps to work in this marble building [Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C.] was just incredible. But the best part had nothing to do with the law, although I realized it had everything to do with the law, because the best parts were the stories. Everyday about four o'clock, just like your grandfather, he would kind of walk into the office, so he--the way the office worked was each of the justices has a kind of a suite. It's a really weird building, so basically each of them occupies a kind of corner of the building and there are all these separate stairways and elevators and stuff. So actually they hardly ever see each other and you hardly ever see another human being walking in the halls, 'cause there are only nine people that live there and it's a building that's as big as an enormous city block. Most of the people who aren't justices work in the interior of the building, like the clerks and the clerks' office, and then the rest of it is just for these nine what were guys until my first--the year I clerked it was Sandra Day O'Connor's year and so then it wasn't just nine guys anymore, and they stopped calling them Mr. Justice, which I always regretted. I always thought the coolest thing in the world would be to be called Mr. Justice (laughter). So it was a weird building, but anyway Marshall's office was on the--the justice's office was on the corner of course, and then there was a middle office where he had--there were two secretaries and a messenger and then the far office was where the law clerks sat. And there was a big overstuffed chair at the corner by the door and--by the interior door and everyday about four o'clock the judge would kind of walk in and he'd sit down in the chair and he would just start telling stories. He was a master storyteller. All kinds of stories, stories about Brown [Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954], stories about escaping lynchings. But also stories about his son, John [John W. Marshall], who is a Virginia State trooper and how they would set speed traps for people, or stories about the custodians who he knew the names of every single custodian who was in the building, or about his marshal who had been with him since the solicitor general's office. His name was Mr. Gaines [ph.]; we called him Gaines. When I first started telling people, I was always kind of sheepish about--I should be talking about the great decisions that were there. I don't even remember--if you press me I could remember one or two cases that were decided and one or two cases that I worked on that I'm proud of. But we only wrote dissents and when we got majority opinions they were like stupid cases, you know that were nine nothing because by that time Burger [Warren E. Burger] was in charge, and it was the Burger court and Marshall and Brennan were totally marginalized.