About this Issue
Lawyers have had an image problem for quite a while, fair game for observers of the human
condition from William Shakespeare to Tom Paxton. Though perhaps, based on the glimpse
provided in this issue of four of the 550 or so Reedies who practice law, they are unfair game after all.
The editors did not plan this issue with an eye toward rehabilitating the reputation
of lawyers. By happenstance, we ended up having portraits of two attorneys: Alafair
a prosecutor-turned-law-professor who sidelines as a successful mystery writer,
and William Hohengarten ’84,
a corporate lawyer who led the appellate team that won
the landmark gay rights case of the past decade before the United States Supreme
We did seek out Burke’s classmate, David
Gossett ’91, who has one win and
before the Supreme Court. (He says oral argument is a lot like conference at Reed!) And
when we were tipped to the touching story of a family’s quest to establish a scholarship
in its scion’s honor, we were unaware that a key family member, Matthew
Bergman ’84, was also a key lawyer in the $4.3 billion settlement with Halliburton
of a class action asbestos lawsuit on behalf of 250,000 plaintiffs nationwide.
Speaking of scholarships, our cover story tackles
the issue of finding enough money to support those who can’t afford full tuition
at Reed—an issue some
colleges would probably prefer to avoid. Even though Reed has just completed an initiative
to add $20 million to the endowment for financial aid, at some point each year the college
still denies admission to a small number of needy applicants because the aid budget has
run out. This “need-aware” approach is the rule among most of Reed’s
peer institutions, but many don’t advertise it and some even exacerbate the problem
by doling out “merit aid” to entice wealthy academic or athletic stars,
a practice Reed eschews.
Finally, our summer issue devotes several pages to commencement and Reunions
one sense these are not very newsy events: they happen every year with a degree of predictability
that is sometimes called “tradition.” Yet they are as close as anything in
the life of the college comes to a distillation of the pure Reed experience for those who
matter most—our current students and those who came before them.