The 1990s

Al Carpenter isn't pictured here. He died of a pulmonary embolism before he ever finished my LSAT class. He had broken a leg playing varsity football for NC Central, and was on his way to my house for tutoring when he was stricken. I rarely talk about this event, but it deserves to be marked. He and his family struggled to rise above the fate of black people in the south, and he was so close to succeeding. I have hardly any memories predating that event, because the passing of such a fine young man marked me so fiercely that it erased many earlier memories, and is part of the reason I devoted myself to disadvantaged and minority students thereafter.

Melissa Volpe deserves to be remembered here as my truest compatriot -- a New Yorker who was as fully out of her element as I was. My favorite Melissa story is about the time she brought a classmate home to New York over spring break. They were off to a club when the classic car-jacking scene occurred: while they were stopped at a red light, some dude pointed a gun in the window and said, "Get out of the car." Melissa took a quick look left and right for cross-traffic, told him what to do to himself, and floored it!

She and John McCaskill are intertwined in my memory. Her family had invited me to stay with them when I was planning my annual trip to New York for Gay Pride (a/k/a the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade). At the last minute I called and asked whether I could add a second guest. John, a 400-meter hurdler, had been given mainstream answers to questions, which serve no purpose at all to a minority, when he stopped by Penn Law School during the Penn Relays, so I invited him along to talk to admissions officers pre-and post-parade. The Volpes extended us their hospitality. We walked in the door, Melissa trotted down the stairs, they stared and, almost in unison, pointed at each other and shouted, "You!" Apparently they had been antagonists in a political philosophy class.

John McCaskill
Mike from Huntsville David from Georgia Tech
Terry Sanford

Mike, top left, had the distinction of taking the Cardozo Law School boat ride down the Hudson on Thursday and the U. of Minnesota boat ride down the Mississippi on Friday. He was pulled from the wait list after Cardozo had started orientation and jumped anyway.

David, top right, had an illustrious career at Indiana Bloomington. He almost had one at Duke, but the Dean of Admissions agreed with me that first semester grades are too difficult to predict when your wife's due to deliver a baby in December.

Terry, left, rode from Durham to Chicago with me to attend the Law Forum, since it was over fall break. He insisted we stop in Bloomington so he could have his picture taken in front of the Charter House of Kappa Alpha Psi.

Matt and Daniel were literally the last of my North Carolina crew. They drove my moving van from Durham to Seattle in July of 2000. Matt went on to Medical school (my first med schoo client), and Daniel to Divinity school. They had the adventure of their young lives driving across the country, and I had the peace of mind that comes from being able to talk to your movers every night.

Matt Atkins

Daniel Smith


Lance and Robbert were in my first out-of-town LSAT class; with their help, I learned that Los Angeles had more to offer than the Walk of the Stars.

Allan Mesia found me on the internet; when I got an invitation to lecture at the University of South Florida in Tampa, I made sure to visit Allan in Clearwater for a home-cooked Peruvian dinner!



Take me back to the
"Success Stories"

Take me back to
the Home Page