Stephen Zack – former ABA president

5 minutes with... Stephen Zack

Starting out, what did you expect from a career in law?

I thought I would be able to right wrongs through the law.

What do you consider to have been your big break?

My first job offer from Senator Claude Pepper.

What differences do you see in today’s legal market compared to when you started?

The lack of long-term commitment by employers and employees which has resulted in instability.

What achievement are you most proud of?  

The Task Force on the Preservation of the Justice System which I established as President of the American Bar Association. (It would have been Bush v Gore had we won.)

What do you consider your greatest failure or regret?

Not spending more time with those who mentored me as a young lawyer and have passed on.

What law would you want to change, abolish or create?

A law to provide for adequate funding of the justice system and provide access for all Americans to our courts.

Who is your legal hero?  

Chesterfield Smith.

What advice would you give to minority individuals starting out in their law careers?

Don’t accept any ceilings in your lives.

What career would you have in your second life?

I would like to be a great chef.

How would you like to be remembered?  

I would like to be remembered as someone who made a dent (contribution) in the lives of those I met along the way.