August 2015 Bar Bulletin
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August 2015 Bar Bulletin

"Why, When I Was in Law School ..."


[This month, we conclude with John Rupp's story of his days at the University of Washington School of Law and "old" Condon Hall in the 1930s. When last we left you in April, Mr. Rupp had finished his discourse on the faculty and concluded with a couple of classroom anecdotes.]

Last of a Series

I remarked earlier in this paper that when I was an undergraduate all "The Lawyers" wore suits. When I was in law school, however, that was no longer the case. We usually wore slacks and sport coats and shirts with neckties, and hence, compared to the law students I see now, were sartorially quite elegant. I suppose that, if you were a Phi Bete, you contrived to wear a vest with a watch chain.

The faculty, of course, always wore suits. Can you imagine Jud Falknor in anything other than a dark suit? And french cuffs suitable for "cuff-shooting". One spring morning Paul Friedlander showed up in a new white sport jacket. As Paul came by to take his seat, Bill Laube glanced up and, with scarcely a pause in what he was saying, rapped out, "Two beers, waiter!" I can't recall seeing the white coat again.

Speaking of Paul reminds me of his tale of finding a job. He said that, at long last in 1937, he got a job offer. From Eggerman & Rosling, now Williams, Kastner & Gibbs. Don Eggerman was decidedly not known for open-handedness. Paul reported his success to his father, Louis Friedlander, who owned one of the city's leading jewelry stores. When Paul told his father of the starting salary, Mr. Friedlander said, "I'll pay you twice that. Take off your coat and get to work." So Paul did, and he never practiced law, although he has always kept up his active membership in the State Bar.

The composition of the student body when I was in law school was a lot different from what it is now. Fifty years ago nearly all law students were white males. I can't recall a single Black student in our class nor any Native Americans or Asians. Women, too, were in short supply. Offhand I remember Marian Gould (Gallagher), Mary Burrus, Anne Olson, Flora Rosenthal, Betty Roe, Ellen Kerr and Kathreen Wilson Mechem. I pray the forgiveness of those whom I have momentarily forgotten.

Helen Graham (Greear) was with us in our third year, but I never knew her status in school. She had been Kitsap County Superior Court Judge H. G. Sutton's court reporter, and she may have taken courses with us as an "auditor". I do remember that Helen took notes in class on her Stenotype machine and that when she took the Bar exam with us she passed with the highest marks. In those days the Bar announced who had "passed high". Mercifully, the other standings weren't announced.

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