Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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June 27, 2007
class reunion

Almost exactly a year ago, something happened that made TiR start to wonder what it would be like to attend, as a fly on the wall, a reunion of the University of Michigan Law School's class of 1988.

We wondered about the various people who graduated from the law school that year.

Where were they now? What kinds of honorable things had they gone on to do with their law degrees, with their lives? To what level of prestige had they advanced in their chosen profession? To what standard of ethics, pride and public service had they held themselves? What kinds of impressive accomplishments would they have to compare, of the kind that would command the respect of their colleagues?

In short: What would the various grads have to show for themselves?

So, a year ago, we did some research about the members of that graduating class.

TiR learned that many of them, at least as of last summer, had indeed used their law degrees to go on to do some very impressive and honorable things with their lives and opportunities.

Michael Newdow was the plaintiff behind a major First Amendment case, and argued his position directly before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cindy Cohn became Legal Director and General Counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and in 2006 was named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.

John Nixon beat the odds to become a black partner at two law firms in Philadelphia, in a city and profession where it seems that firms have a not-great track record when it comes to partnership diversity.

Steven G. Bradbury became principal deputy / acting Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel.

Mark Soble became a Deputy Attorney General in California, amassed an awesome baseball card collection, and ran for mayor of Sacramento.

Karen Barr became General Counsel of the Investment Counsel Association of America.

Edward Morse became a professor holding an endowed chair in business law, an author and blogger about economic trends.

Donn Davis became president of AOL Interactive Properties Group, then became CEO of a company with $1 billion in real estate.

Many classmates, as of a year ago, had attained partnership and security in big city law firms, in places as varied or far flung from Ann Arbor, Michigan as Dallas; D.C.; Denver; Detroit; Honolulu; L.A.; Milwaukee; San Francisco; Brussels, Belgium; and Frankfurt, Germany. Several    ended   up in Chicago.

Olena   Kalytiak   Davis became a prize-winning poet and sometime editor, and moved to Alaska to live among the Yu'pik people.

Then there's another 1988 law grad.

She has published numerous books and has sort of a history of making controversial statements.

TiR can't exactly remember what happened a year ago, but there must have been something in the news that made us wonder about a reunion of the Class of 1988.

Thus we wondered what the vibe in the room might be like, or about the conversation when the grads looked among themselves and reflected on what the various among them had become, and what good they had contributed to their profession and the world.

However, last year TiR did all the research but restrained ourselves and shelved the post. Too voyueristic, it felt. TiR extracted its own personal reflections about life "paths," and took yet another moral inventory of our own, via the indirect method of a look in context at the concrete details of others' biographies and fates, and at how a group of people once linked by location and time can travel in different directions, via chance and choice, to pursue differing values and accomplish varying attainments to show for their lives.

But TiR saw no use in posting anything. Besides, we optimistically told ourselves that the news story we saw, that triggered our string of reflection and inquiry, would be a passing, last-of-a-kind thing. TiR moved on and forgot about the research we'd saved.

Until yesterday.

That's when a new news story appeared
(like clockwork: an old book was newly released yesterday in paperback)
and caused us to wonder all over again what that reunion would be like.

Guess we'll have to check back in another year, to see if one happpens or how it goes.

[12/31/08 update: here]