Michael Freed (1962)  

I enrolled at the University of Chicago Law School almost by accident. I attended an undergraduate business school and in the early part of my senior year I accepted a job with a large automobile manufacturer as an assistant comptroller. I thought this was a good plan, but I never discussed it with my folks before I took the job. When I did get around to discussing it, they urged me to consider law school as an alternative - "after all, it's a useful education and you can always go into business". My compromise was to apply to a single law school - the University of Chicago - with the commitment that I would attend if accepted. As fate (at least my fate) would have it, I was accepted.

From the first day of classes, I jettisoned any notion that I could give anything less than a total commitment to my law school education. Our class was the first class in the new law school which seemed very high tech then. The Dean was Edward Levi, and while he may have been the brightest star in the faculty constellation, the other professors seemed awesome to me: Walter Blum, Bernie Meltzer, Brainard Currie, Harry Kalven, Malcolm Sharp, Frank Allen, Allison Dunham, Karl Llewellyn, et al - I can remeber every one of them to this day. They all taught classes and they all demanded that we think - individually and collectively. To me it was educational boot camp. I never really felt comfortable that I understood the big picture - or the little pictures for that matter. But I did know that for the first time in my education I was being challenged to think for myself and to defend my positions when called on to do so. It may not seem to be very revolutionary now, but for me it was a real eye opener about how much I had to learn in order to reach and defend a position.

Law school did not fly by for me. It sort of lurched from year to year, but as it ended, I had abandoned my idea about a business career; I knew that I wanted to tackle the intellectual rigors of a legal career. Back then, law students didn't expect to make significant earnings, that was for doctors and business people. But, believe it or not, being a lawyer was then seen as a respectable and fulfilling career. Interestingly, that perception became a reality for me.

To fast forward from law school. I took a job in the Honors Program with the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice in Washington. It was a wonderful time to practice there - perhaps because the judges in the federal court system tended to be activist and favor the government's position. In a little over two years, I worked on three civil trials (in court!) and handled a number a minor federal appeals for administrative agencies.

Without question, my experience at the law school provided me with the tools to successfully begin and continue my legal career. Whiile sometimes
intimidated by the scope of a matter or an issue, I have always believed that it has to be dealt with uncompromisingly, with no shortcuts or
unwarranted assumptions. This, I believe, is a direct product of my law school education.

Law students at the University of Chicago, myself included, have been very fortunate. They have had access to the best minds and the best education they could hope for. I have no doubt that this will be true at the time of the next centennial as well.

Michael Freed (Class of 1962)