Wednesday, February 17, 2010

665 Old Lawyers Never Die

665 Old Lawyers Never Die

Remember Robert Shapiro? Of course you do. He was one time leader of OJ Simpson's "dream team." He's defended other criminally charged celebrities and is a founder -- and now commercial face -- of the do-it-yourself law services internet company "Legal Zoom."

Another OJ lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, actually IS dead. But his image is still used by what has become a nationwide legal franchise.

Do you remember Ken Starr? He was the Republicans' attack dog, who kept trying to bring Bill Clinton down. Now, he's President of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, a town famous for the Branch Davidian fire trap/death trap standoff with the feds.

Well, Starr actually is a Texan, so this is something of a homecoming. But don't these guys ever go away?

This will not deteriorate into a bunch of lawyer jokes. (Here we are resisting the impulse to say "lawyer joke" is redundant. Oops. Said it anyway.)

Baylor has been headless for almost two years. The previous guy was fired with the school issuing a vague statement about his failure to unite various factions that normally are in perpetual war at any college. No details, of course.

"Unifying figure" is not exactly the phrase that comes to mind with thinking of President Starr. But unifying students, faculty and staff is not the same as unifying a country, say, the USA. So maybe Ken's found his niche after floating around various different jobs. Prosecutor, persecutor, judge, teacher, law school dean. And maybe he's mellowed with age?

The school issued a "Welcome Kenny" statement almost as vague as the one it issued about the president they bounced in '08. Something about his "Christian faith..." blah blah blah. So who else would they pick to head a Christian college, Richard Dawkins?"

A lot of these schools are self-accredited or accredited by associations the schools set up to make themselves seem legitimate. To its credit, Baylor has real accreditation and you can actually get a good education there if you work at it.

Like lawyers, universities have their own secret code words. In the case of "president," read fundraiser-in-chief." In the law biz, the term "rainmaker" means a guy who brings in clients. Well paying long term clients. So Starr could be a star in either field these days.

Kenny turns 64 this year (2010.) So he's no kid. And this new gig is a lot easier and more rewarding than chasing ambulances.

Think he'll get a salary? Or will it be contingency fees?


--This is the 665th entry in this series, which means the next one will be 666. Or not. It's a hard number to use in a title.

--It's a famous New York address, 666 Fifth Avenue. It actually is 666-670. Why they didn't or don't use the "70" number is one of life's great mysteries.

--It's not like the place is an historic landmark, or anything. It went up in 1957. Everyone thinks its part of Rock Center, but it ain't.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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