College Columns May 2016 Issue - Page 10

The National Bankruptcy Archives

Adam L. Rosen

Chair, Archives Committee

have had a significant, positive effect on our practice. For example, Judge Steven Rhodes’ oral history has been taken, and Judge Midge Rendell’s is scheduled. The Committee also is working to improve the Archives’ website hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Law Library to make it more accessible to scholars, students and lawyers. Consistent with the College’s mission, the Archive Committee is striving to increase the visibility of the College and the National Archives. Brace yourself, the College now has a Twitter account: @AmColBankruptcy. And, be sure to check out Archive Committee member Melissa Jacoby’s Twitter account: @melissabjacoby.

Part of our history is the life and work of Leonard M. Rosen. In 2003, Leonard was honored with the College’s Distinguished Service Award. He passed away in 2014, and his influence and legacy endure. What follows are excerpts from a 1994 oral history taken by Randall Newsome, and a 2013 discussion at the St. John’s University School of Law. The oral history is available at

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Leonard M. Rosen on beginning Wachtell Lipton, Hiring Harvey

Miller, and the 1979 Chrysler Work-Out


I was born in the Bronx, New York, went to William Allerton High School, and then City College of New York. I graduated in 1951 as an accounting major. I was a subway commuter during college. I then went to NYU Law School from ’51 to ’54 and did well academically having made the law review.

After graduation I was drafted into the Army and served basically in the Washington DC area, it was an audit agency, which was an agency that audited the transactions with the Army; it was a good job. Traveling out of Washington, we covered Virginia, and Maryland -- basically contractors involved in ships in Norfolk, and contractors involved in animal poison gas and stuff like that in Frederick, Maryland. I traveled, lived in Baltimore, and came home weekends, it was good.

Even though I graduated from law school in 1954, I took the bar exam in 1956 after returning from the Army. I started looking for a job in 1956. Being Jewish and coming out of NYU, it was not a great setup and so even though I was third or fourth in the class, had a pretty good record, I had interviews with about three Wall Street firms, and one or two Jewish firms, I did not get an offer from any of them. Wall Street firms were still not used to NYU and they weren’t used to having too many Jewish lawyers --they had a couple of them. And then the Jewish firms were German Jewish firms and my background was Russian Jewish and that made a difference back in those days. It doesn’t anymore, but it did in those days.

The prominent German Jewish firms were Paul Weiss, and Proskauer Rose. I did get interviewed by one of them, but I didn’t get an offer. Maybe it was just due to being me, but I had a good academic record, that’s all I can tell you.

I knew Marty Lipton from the law review and he had a part-time job when he was going to law school at NYU with a firm in New York – Seligson, Morris & Neuberger. Marty was clerking for Judge Weinfeld at the time and Marty said “why don’t you go to this firm” and I went there. Among my memorabilia is a postcard that came from David Sykes, who was a partner in that firm inviting me to come to an interview.

Charles Seligson was the dean of the bankruptcy bar at the time. He was the co-author of Collier on Bankruptcy, was a prominent bankruptcy practitioner, taught litigation as well as bankruptcy law at NYU, and was a very bright man. Lincoln Morris was sort of a corporate genius, great personality, he wanted to be an actor, he was an actor as a lawyer, great with clients...

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The Archives Committee continues its work in preserving the legacy of those who