How Martin J. Katz ended up as a legal academic is an amusing story and a cautionary tale for aspiring law students,. The lesson: Lots of people will tell you how to get on a certain career track. You don’t need to listen to them.
Katz is dean and professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. As he tells it, he grew up thinking that he wanted to be a lawyer largely because his heroes were lawyers. “It seemed like lawyers solved problems, and I liked that,” Katz said in a telephone interview. “I wanted to be a problem solver.”
He was told that to be a lawyer, he should major in political science. But while he liked political science, he was much more drawn to economics, which is why he chose that as his major at Harvard. Economics majors go to business school, he was advised, and on into the world of business and finance. But a visit to business school classes left him cold. His father had gone to law school with Guido Calebresi, then dean of Yale.
“Guido said that even if I wanted to become an entrepreneur, which I was considering, I should seriously consider law school because that would be the best training in – guess what – problem solving,” Katz recalled. “He suggested that I visit some law school classes. I did and loved it. And I stayed.” Continue reading