> Law School Alums and Faculty Named Most Influential Lawyers in America
Four Columbia Law School alumni and one professor made the National Law Journal’s 2006 list of 100 most influential lawyers in America. Ira M. Millstein ’49, recently appointed by former New York State Governor George Pataki ’70 to chair a commission to overhaul state public authorities, is a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Gary Naftalis ’67, called “the zelig of the white-collar bar” by the Wall Street Journal, is co-chairman and head of the litigation department at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel; Michael Ratner ’69 is president of the nonprofit Center for Constitutional Rights, whose litigation has challenged the detaining of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay; Mary Jo White ’74, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1993 - 2002, prosecuted securities and terrorist cases and is now chairwoman of the litigation department at Debevoise & Plimpton; and Prof. John C. Coffee, Jr., is a scholar of securities law, corporate governance, and class actions and author of Gatekeepers: The Professions and Corporate Governance.
> Thomas Evans on the Rise of Reagan
Now an icon of the conservative movement, Ronald Reagan began his political career as a Hollywood liberal and active Democrat. Thomas W. Evans’ ’57 The Education of Ronald Reagan: The General Electric Years and the Untold Story of his Conversion to Conservatism (Columbia University Press, 2007) offers new insights into Mr. Reagan’s ideological shift and his political ascendancy. Drawing on newly discovered private papers as well as interviews and corporate documents, Mr. Evans links the eight years when Mr. Reagan worked as public relations envoy for General Electric with his conversion toward economic conservatism. Exploration of this unexamined chapter in Mr. Reagan’s life reveals the strong influence of GE executive Lemuel Boulware, a free-market fundamentalist and skilled political operative.
> Lawyer to Landscaper
After an extensive legal career in real estate, David T. Goldstick ’57 has spent the past 16 years designing and installing public gardens in Riverside Park (shown here) and in Westport, Conn. His work has earned him several awards, including the 2002 Golden Spade from the Garden Club of America.
> Working inside the Box
Robert B. Shapiro ’62, the former chairman of both Monsanto and the Pharmacia Corporation, did not want to retire and rest on his laurels. He liked the action, the adrenaline, the deals, and the camaraderie of business. He sat down with an old friend with the same mind-set, Nick Rosa (former president and CEO, The NutraSweet Co.), and they talked about getting back in the game. They soon developed a plan to start a company that helps new businesses grow from conception to operation to liquidity, and to stick to the fields they knew: life science, technology, and consumer products. They also agreed to proceed cautiously, nurturing only a few projects each year.
The result of their plan is Sandbox Industries. Like two entrepreneurial buddies fresh out of B-school, Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Rosa gave themselves official-sounding titles, ordered business cards, rented a one-room office on Chicago’s West Side, and declared themselves open for business. Unlike young Turks, they had a half-century of business experience and Rolodexes thicker than most phone books.
Today, a few years later, their “sandbox” has begun to grow. The company now has a staff and more proposals than they know what to do with. Those selected are evolving from idea to reality – receiving much-needed funding and guidance from two men who have seen just about everything in business. One of the latest endeavors to receive Sandbox Industries’ support is A Fresh Squeeze (www.AFreshSqueeze.com), a web site offering tips and information about environment-friendly products and services for people in Chicago.
– Greg Forbes Siegman
> Alums Involved in USSC Case on Reproductive Rights
A number of Law School alumni are playing significant roles in the challenge to the first-ever federal ban on abortion, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Eve Gartner ’88, senior attorney at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, argued Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court also heard oral arguments in Gonzales v. Carhart, the companion case argued by the Center for Reproductive Rights, whose president is Nancy Northup ’88. Alumni also represent organizations that filed amicus briefs: Talcott Camp ’94 (ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project) and Elisabeth Benjamin ’92 and Galen Sherwin ’03 (New York Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Rights Project). They also represent plaintiffs in a third challenge to the ban. That case is on hold, awaiting decisions in the two Supreme Court cases.
> Law + Art = Fabulous New Café
Jamie Titus ’90 sees parallels between law and art. For example, “They allow a person to experience a meaningfulness that could not be experienced but for the structure of the painting or the legal system,” she says.
But, then again, law and art diverge in critical ways.
“Art, at its best, transcends the underlying structure in its endeavor to know the unknowable, while law, at its best, allows us to maximize our potential.”
And if she had to choose between the two?
“I just knew I was more interested in the unknown than the system,” she says.
She left the law after several years of practice to pursue painting and had solo exhibitions in New York and Chicago. Some of her work is also on display at Arium, a café she opened in New York’s Meatpacking district. Arium is a sanctuary for New York’s artists, as well as anyone looking for a unique atmosphere. Its elegant yet functional space serves as an art gallery, concert hall, and French salon, and offers what New York magazine called “chef Richard Guier’s refined lunch- and tea-time fare, including dishes like spicy chicken posole and a full roster of tea sandwiches and scones.”
While she no longer practices law, Ms. Titus used her legal training to set up the business and also gives legal help to artists in need.
> Alum Honored for Development Work in Southern Africa
Jason Fraser ’98 (left) received the Federal Bar Association’s 2006 Younger Lawyer’s Award for his work in Swaziland with small and medium enterprises. He also was commended for his work with smallholder producers in Zambia and Malawi in their leveraging of sustainable economic development funds with the United States government. Mr. Fraser serves as acting director of the regional legal office for USAID/Southern Africa. At right is Themba Mavimbela, an entreprenurial exporter of Swaziland honey.