42 SUPERLAWYERS.COM A TTORNE YS SELEC TED TO SUPER LA WYERS WERE CHOSEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROCESS ON PAGE 44.
FIELDS: I was hired to teach at Stanford Law
School right out of Harvard Law School, but
the Korean War was going on, and my draft
board didn’t think teaching at Stanford was
a really good excuse for not serving. So I got
a commission in Air Force JAG and spent the
next two years trying court martials. It was
a great experience. It taught me a lot about
cross-examination and how to argue before a
jury. The court-martial panel was a lot like a
jury, and I was doing one or two a day for two
years. At one point, the base commander was
going to court-martial me for the crime that
he described as “overzealous defense of the
guilty airman.” It was serious! I could picture
myself in Leavenworth. Until the Eighth Air
Force said, “You can’t do that.”
TROPE: When I got out of law school,
almost all the established law firms
wouldn’t consider giving a young Jewish
lawyer an interview. So that’s why a lot of
people of my religious belief were induced
to go out and open offices by themselves.
There was perhaps one established law firm
of any substance in the city that considered
hiring a Jew. So I opened an office by myself
on North La Cienega Boulevard and I
practiced on my own for two or three years.
RUTTER: O’Melveny & Myers did not
interview at Penn, but another prominent
Los Angeles firm did. The person who
came said to me, “Marshall, I’d really like
you to come and work in my law firm, and
this year we have to hire a Jew, and you’re
not Jewish, but I’d like to help you get
a job at O’Melveny & Myers.” Just can’t
even imagine anyone saying that—even,
probably, thinking that—nowadays.
GREENBERG: I may have been the first
summer clerk in Southern California. I
knocked on many doors and was offered a
job by a large firm with about 30 lawyers at
$125 a month. I was put in the library to do
legal research. I also had the job to bring
the senior partner his lunch every day.
PAUL F. MARX / Rutan & Tucker; Tax Law;
Harvard Law School 1956: I was going to
stay in Boston, because I love Boston, but
they were offering $50 more a month in
downtown Los Angeles. Starting salary:
$300 [a month] in Boston and starting
salary at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where I
wound up, was $350.
LEO PIRCHER / Pircher, Nichols & Meeks;
Real Estate; University of California,
Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law 1957:
There were a very few large firms. In Los
Angeles, the largest firm at the time
had 40 lawyers. And they had no branch
offices. Latham & Watkins was a tax
boutique with 12 lawyers.
Then began the steady search for a
SALKIN: We were tax lawyers. We handled
any area that came along, whether it was
federal or state, criminal or civil. Now there
are people who specialize in corporations,
partnerships, employee benefits, estate,
gift and so on. We did all of it.
STONE: My first job out of the Army was
working for a personal injury defense
firm, where they were retained by
various insurance companies to defend
cases. Then I got over to what I call “the
side of right and justice”: representing
GREENBERG: I went to work for a two-person, general practice law firm. … I
had no training and no experience and
nobody gave me any help, other than an
occasional book on trial practice. [So] to
get trial experience, I went to PI lawyers
to take cases that they had to try and did
not want to try. That’s how I learned to
try a lawsuit.
PIRCHER: I became involved in mergers
and acquisitions. One of my major clients
at the time was Fairchild Camera and
Instrument, which had decided that there
was a future in the technology industry.
I was involved in a number of their
acquisitions that became Silicon Valley.
One of our first acquisitions was a group
that formed Intel.
FIELDS: I didn’t really set out to be an
entertainment lawyer. Coming out of JAG,
having tried all those court martials, I kind
of thought I was a hotshot trial lawyer.
So I just offered to try any case that came
along—criminal cases, divorce cases.
Gradually, I met people who were young
writers and young actors, and tried cases
for them, and then they’d say, “Why don’t
you look at my contract?” I started learning
something about entertainment contracts,
and one thing led to another. Those young
writers and actors became famed writers
and actors. And my practice grew.
In ’50s and ’60s LA, there were still “fault”
divorces and plenty of movie stars begging
for representation. Opportunities for a well-trained lawyer seemed endless. Big cases
were just around the corner.
STONE: My first big case was a volunteer
ski patrolman, and he died because the
fellow who was operating the chairlift
didn’t turn it off when he should’ve, and
the guy got crushed to death. I represented
his wife and kids.
MARX: My biggest tax case was my very
first one, in 1963. The name of the case
was Alderson v. Commissioner. The IRS
was vigorously opposed. They considered
a three-party exchange to be a loophole,
something that the code didn’t contemplate
and which shouldn’t be allowed. [But] it
was tried in tax court, and I won, and it was
affirmed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
GREENBERG: I tried an antitrust case
where a famous motion picture was
licensed for television. What the [television]
producer did was to add to that list four
or five more films, and then he did the
allocation in favor of those films, in order to
deny my client, the producer of the famous
picture, his share of the license fee. That’s
called “block booking”—a violation of
antitrust laws. I tried that case and won it
with treble damages.
TROPE: Cary Grant was a client, and he
and I became socially friendly. That lasted