Discusses his experiences in legal services including SCLAID, LSC, and NLADA.
Oral history details
|Date of interview:
|Aug 9, 2002
|Where relates to:
|Missouri and National
|LSC: General and OEO Legal Services
|Georgetown Law Library link (possible video):
Full text of transcriptDownload PDF: Transcript
Georgetown University Law Center
National Equal Justice Library Oral History Project
Collection no. NEJL-009
Interview with F. William McCalpin
Conducted by Linda Perle
August 9, 2002
Linda Perle: My name is Linda Perle, I’m an attorney at the Center for Law and Social Policy and I represent legal services programs that are funded by the Legal Services Corporation. From 1975 to 1983 I served on the staff of the Legal Services Corporation. I’m here today with F. William McCalpin. Bill McCalpin is an attorney in private practice with the firm of Lewis, Price and Fingersh in St. Louis, Missouri. For many years Bill has been an extremely active member of the American Bar Association and since the mid-1960s has been involved in a variety of ways in efforts to develop and preserve federally funded legal services. From 1965 through 1970 Bill was a member of the ABA Special Committee on the Availability of Legal Services; and from 1973 to 1976 he chaired the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants or SCLAID. In 1977, he was appointed to the Legal Services Corporation Board and served as its chair from September 1980 through December 1981 when the board was replaced by President Reagan’s recess appointees. For the next decade or more Bill served on the board and was president of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA). In 1993, he was again appointed to the LSC board and continues to serve as a member of that board.
Bill informs me that I made a mistake during my introduction and that, in fact, he was first confirmed in May 1979 rather than 1977 as I first indicated so I apologize for that.
Bill, we first met in 1979 when you were appointed to the LSC board but your involvement in legal services goes back much, much further than that. Can you tell how and when you first became involved in legal services?
Bill McCalpin: I can’t remember precisely the year in the middle 60s when I went on the board of what was then the Legal Aid Society of the City and County of St. Louis. My first involvement, as I recall, at the national level was at the HEW conference here in Washington shortly after the 1964, I think it was within days after the 1964 election, remembering that President Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act in August of that year. And I came here then. I was chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers Reference.
Linda Perle: Is that the lawyer referral committee?
Bill McCalpin: Yes, Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral and our staff at that time was a man named Barlow Christensen who ultimately went over to the American Bar Foundation but he told me about the HEW conference. I thought it was an important thing and we requested Jack Murphy, a lawyer here in Washington, who was organizing, running the conference at that time, and we requested that we be permitted to attend and we were turned down. We persisted and, ultimately, I got an invitation to attend, and it turned out that the late Charlie Parker of New Haven and I were the only two privately practicing lawyers in attendance at that HEW conference which involved the incorporation of a legal services element into the Office of Economic Opportunity. It was at a time when Edgar and Jean Cahn were active with Sargent Shriver and I had kidded him a little that that experience predated Earl Johnson by about 90 days in legal services. He and I kid about that from time to time. So, I would say locally I’m not quite sure the date, I can certainly identify my involvement at a more national level.
Linda Perle: After the HEW, which is Department of Health, Education and Welfare –
Bill McCalpin: Right.
Linda Perle: After the HEW conference, can you talk about some of the other events that happened as the legal services program developed?
Bill McCalpin: After that conference, Barlow Christensen and I reported to Lewis Powell, later Mr. Justice Lewis Powell, who was then president of the American Bar Association. That report is somewhat covered in Earl Johnson’s book Justice and Reform, and the result of it was that Lewis Powell shared our view that this was something that the organized bar had to get involved in otherwise it was going to affect the bar in ways that were perhaps unfair and unfortunate as far as both the bar and clients were concerned. So, Lewis Powell galvanized us into action, Bert Early who was then the executive director of the American Bar Association was highly supportive and we began to work toward doing something at the 1965 midyear meeting of the American Bar Association to be held in New Orleans. I guess one other thing that happened is that Lewis Powell designated John Cummiskey of Grand Rapids, Michigan who was then the chair of the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, SCLAID as it’s called, and me to represent the Association in laying the groundwork for this. On the Monday after Christmas in 1964, John Cummiskey and I came to Washington to meet with Edgar and Jean Cahn representing the OEO. That was a fascinating meeting. We came to the ABA office, Don Channel was then the head of the Washington office of the ABA and John -, an Irish name, was his assistant. And Cummiskey and I sat down and discussed a little with them how we would approach this, we were warned that we couldn’t commit the ABA to anything but that we ought to explore, develop as much as we could what was on the agenda as far as the OEO was concerned. After we had talked a while it was announced that Edgar Cahn had arrived and Don Channel went to the door and brought him in. And Edgar began by apologizing that his wife was delayed and she would be along shortly. So we talked to Edgar for a while and you will recall that they had written the Yale Law Journal piece on the “War on Poverty: A Civilian Perspective,” as I recall and they dedicated it to “our father,” Edgar’s father, I don’t remember his first name, but the dedication was to our father, Professor, he had been a professor as I recall, Cahn, and this is as much as we knew about the Cahns at that point. Well, when it was announced that Mrs. Cahn had appeared, Don Channel went to the door to greet her and he turned around and looked at us and was absolutely speechless. None of us expected a black woman. And he finally stammered out an introduction but it was a fascinating introduction.
Linda Perle: That was in a very different time.
Bill McCalpin: Right, this was the end of 1964. Well, Cummiskey and I reported back after that to Chicago, Early and Lewis Powell, and we worked then at developing a resolution to be presented to the House of Delegates at the midyear meeting in New Orleans; went through a number of drafts that had lots of editorializing. We had meetings in Chicago with Lewis Powell and Bert Early. And Lewis Powell, a consummate politician and polished diplomat was just – I always thought that Lewis Powell’s real role in life was not to be a Supreme Court Justice but to be an ambassador to the Court of St. James, wearing stripped trousers and cutaway and top hat, a real patrician. In any event, the way Lewis set it up he convened a meeting on the Sunday, as I recall, of the midyear meeting of important power figures in the ABA, some of them elected officials and some appointed officials and other people of high repute and standing and he presented the resolution at that meeting on Sunday morning and various of us spoke in connection with it and he came out of that meeting with a ringing endorsement of the ABA resolution in support of the Legal Services Program of the Office of Economic Opportunity. The next day that resolution was presented to the House of Delegates. Lewis, of course, spoke and Cummiskey and I was not a member of the House at that point, and it was passed as they say without a dissent. I can’t tell you that it was unanimous because I have a notion there were some who sat silently. But it was passed without dissent. And that put the ABA on the track to support federal support of legal services and opened the door to negotiations with Sargent Shriver.
Linda Perle: Do you have any sense of how Lewis Powell actually got the conservatives within the ABA to support this radical notion?
Bill McCalpin: Well, remember Lewis Powell was from Richmond, Virginia. He was essentially a southerner. He had been involved in some school desegregation issues as a practicing lawyer. He, as I say, was a courtly, polished, wonderful gentleman, epitome of southern aristocracy. And, I think, just by his personality, his aura and his being he dissuaded any southerners from openly opposing it, although Lord knows we know later there were those who were not fully in agreement with it.
Linda Perle: I understood also that he had great concern that the ABA might go the way of the AMA in terms of the way the AMA had lost credibility in efforts to oppose –
Bill McCalpin: There is no question of that, remember this was at, my history is not as clear as it should be, but as I recall this was at a time when there was a good deal of debate about Medicare. I’m not sure Medicaid was even on the horizon at that time, I don’t know. The medical profession had almost unanimously opposed the concept of what they called socialized medicine. And certainly we heard talk about socializing the legal profession. And by their opposition to the government’s intervention in the provision of medical service, the AMA lost great credibility certainly in government and probably also with a substantial portion of the population of the U.S. And they were marginalized, pushed to the side and we all recognized this at the time. And you will recall that the AMA headquarters was in Chicago, the same as the ABA, and there was a certain amount of back and forth at the time and you are absolutely right, Lewis was very well aware of the medical profession’s activities and the results thereof and he was bound and determined that it wouldn’t happen to the legal profession.
Linda Perle: What kind of activities did the ABA do to follow up on the House of Delegates vote?
Bill McCalpin: I can’t remember precisely the things we did to get ready for this but at the time of the annual meeting in 1965 in Miami, first of all, one of the major plenary programs of that meeting was to be the ABA involvement in OEO legal services. And in preparation for that Lewis Powell convened – I don’t mean to be disrespectful but he got to be a good friend and we were on a first name basis, convened a small meeting in his suite in the Fontainebleau Hotel, as I recall. One of the great experiences of my life was to sit at the table when Lewis Powell and Sargent Shriver negotiated the role of the organized bar in legal aid. We came out of that with a commitment from Shriver to name a national advisory committee to the OEO Legal Services Program, which was to include Lewis Powell, also included the incoming president of the ABA, Ed Kuhn, and I don’t know what his position was at the time but Bernie Siegel, later as president, was there, I was on the committee, and there were a number of others. I remember Ed Sparer from New York, Mrs. Wickington from I don’t remember where, there was a black lawyer from Chicago whose name escapes me at the moment, but it wasn’t just organized bar people, it was people in the social service delivery area, in the minority areas as well as significant representation from the American Bar Association. And that national advisory committee met regularly, 2,3,4 times a year after that and certainly met privately first and then in the OEO offices with Shriver, and I remember that it was instrumental at one point in getting a line item for legal services in the OEO budget. Up to that point it was under what was called CAP –
Linda Perle: Community Action Program.
Bill McCalpin: Community Action Program. Legal aid was just under that but we thought it was important to have a line item for legal aid so that CAP, which was essentially, certainly, non-lawyers and largely social work and that sort of thing couldn’t adversely affect the operation of the Legal Services Program by budgetary action. The national advisory committee very strongly recommended that to Shriver and Shriver followed up and we got it. Another thing the national advisory committee did was to oppose then Senator Murphy’s amendment which would have barred legal services attorneys programs from taking action adverse to government at every level and the truth of the matter was that one of the great problems that the poor folks had was with various levels and agencies of government. And we took a strong position on that. I just lobbied for it and ultimately it was abandoned. I have recently revived another aspect of Senator Murphy that we opposed at the time. In the OEO act, the OEO would decide on allocations of funds to programs around the country but under that act, a governor could veto that appropriation and one of the more famous ones was Ronald Reagan’s veto of the appropriations at CRLA, California Rural Legal Assistance, which is a whole other story. But our then governor Warren Hearns also vetoed the appropriations of the St. Louis program of which I was or had been a director and we marshaled a lot of force to override the veto and I had recently been reminded – well, the law provided that the director of OEO could override a gubernatorial veto and that is what we were lobbying for, that is what happened and guess who was the OEO director that overrode Warren Hearns’ veto? Donald Rumsfeld [Laughs]. It’s a small world.
Linda Perle: It’s a very small world. Okay, I don’t want you to be modest in answering this question but how important do you think the actions of the ABA, Lewis Powell and Bill McCalpin were in the successful creation of the Legal Services Program?
Bill McCalpin: Well, there isn’t any question that everybody from Sargent Shriver down thought that it was extraordinarily important that the American Bar Association get behind this legal services program, that it would give it a credibility and an acceptance around the country that it wouldn’t otherwise have an they would have to battle locality by locality and, of course, the ABA strongly recommended that the state and local bars follow the lead and support the OEO Legal Services Program. There isn’t any question that while, I guess, the Cahns and Shriver can claim to be the parents of the federal legal services program, Lewis Powell has certainly got to be the godfather. There is no question that that helped extraordinarily.
Linda Perle: And Bill McCalpin?
Bill McCalpin: Well I was around, I had some positions, eventually I became chair, well, the chair of the Availability Committee grew out all this and while legal services for the indigents was a part of that, the concept was to try to broaden the availability of legal services to all elements of the population.
Linda Perle: Can you tell the full name of that committee?
Bill McCalpin: Special Committee on Availability of Legal Services
Linda Perle: And when was that in existence?
Bill McCalpin: From ’65 to ’70.
Linda Perle: Okay. Can you describe the committee and tell us about it?
Bill McCalpin: An unusual aspect of the committee was that ABA committees ordinarily are appointed by the president, doesn’t have to have any senatorial approval or anything like that. That committee was appointed by the sitting president, the president-elect and the next to be occupancy of the office so that it was guaranteed at least three presidential years of existence. And actually it lasted five. And it was kind of thought of as think tank of the American Bar Association on the subject of making legal services available to everybody. It was much broader than just indigents. Lawyer referral, we considered group legal services, we considered the whole concept of specialization, and paralegals grew out of that committee, and became policies of the American Bar Association but it’s somewhat tangential to legal aid to the indigent.
Linda Perle: But there were some very interesting people on that committee weren’t there?
Bill McCalpin: Oh yeah, very interesting people. Of course, the most prominent one was Chesterfield Smith and he was on the committee for a few years and he sprung off and chaired the Committee on Specialization. Bob Kutak later considered to be the drafter or the leader of the current Model Rules of Professional Responsibility; Paul Carrington, whose son is now a distinguished legal scholar and professor, but he was a distinguished lawyer in Dallas; Bill Avery, who was the managing partner of Sidley and Austin in Chicago; Ted Vorhees, a long history in legal aid. I don’t know if I’ve missed somebody or not but you’re right, it was a marvelous committee. We met 26 times in five years. Most of the meetings were at the O’Hare, then called the O’Hare, at the airport in Chicago and we would come in Friday night and last until Sunday afternoon and on each of the subjects which were that committee’s responsibility, Barlow Christensen, who I mentioned before, had come on the staff, wrote a monograph on that particular subject, there is a stack of monographs and ultimately Barlow wrote a book, A Lawyer When Needed. Is that his book or is that…? I think A Lawyer When Needed is Barlow’s book but which covers that whole – [Laughs] you get a lawyer off the subject and he’ll go on forever.
Linda Perle: Was there any of the work that the committee did that did directly influence the development of federal legal services program?
Bill McCalpin: I think so. Paul Carrington of that committee was the first person I ever heard talk about creating a federal entity which became the Legal Services Corporation. We had had troubles in those years, Spiro Agnew, vice president then, attacked legal aid in New Jersey because it represented indigents who were displaced by a highway project there and he lambasted legal aid. The first Mayor Daly of Chicago was antagonistic to legal aid because it was representing children who were denied access to the public schools in Chicago. They were building political opposition and the thought was that as long as it was simply an agency in the executive department of government. It was subject to strong political influence, Ronald Reagan was another one, as governor. And so, as I say, the idea began, I think, with Paul Carrington as far as I know, he’s the first one I ever heard talk about it and it grew and developed and there were a lot of other people involved in the development of the concept of what eventually became the Legal Services Corporation.
Linda Perle: After the Availability Committee went out of existence in 1970, you joined the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants?
Bill McCalpin: No.
Linda Perle: What did you do at that point?
Bill McCalpin: From ’70 to ’73, I chaired the ABA Committee on Prepaid Legal Services which really addresses the segment of society which is just above the economic level of poverty. It’s recognized that there are a lot of people who don’t fall under 125 percent of poverty who still can’t afford legal services. So the concept was the medical profession has Blue Cross, why shouldn’t the legal profession have something, and what we did was to develop an insurance type program to provide legal assistance to people who would subscribe to it. And, ultimately, the major unions became involved it. The United Auto Workers is the biggest one that I can think of. First of all, the ABA still has a Committee on Prepaid Legal Services, APLI, American Prepaid Legal Institute or something like that which is a subsidiary created by the American Bar Association which runs this program. Alex Schwartz, who I saw this morning in the hotel corridor, runs that, is the managing director of that and the ABA staff person. I think I recently saw that there are 75 to 80 million people who are now covered by some form of legal cost insurance. It’s not well known, it’s not highly publicized but it’s enormous in its impact. And a good many of the people who are covered under that program also will fall within the poverty area under 125 percent of poverty so there is some overlap in the two. But that is what I did for three years after Availability, and then when Chesterfield became president of the ABA in 1973 he gave me two options, I could chair the federal judiciary committee or I could chair the legal aid committee and I took the second one.
Linda Perle: Well why don’t you tell us why you took the second one.
Bill McCalpin: Oh, I thought it was more important. What the hell, there are federal judges all over the place but poor people need help.
Linda Perle: Can you tell us about the work that you and the Committee did during that period and the role that you played in the passage of the Legal Services Corporation Act?
Bill McCalpin: Gosh, Linda [Laughing].
Linda Perle: You’ve got to remember this.
Bill McCalpin: Well, I think that that was the period, wasn’t when we did the standards passed by the ABA for the operation of legal services for the indigents? I don’t remember the dates. Well, let me tell you what happened was, I chaired that committee from ’73 to ’76. I became the assistant secretary of the ABA in December of ’75. I thought that I should have been relieved from that committee at that time but I wasn’t. I continued until the summer of ’76. And then, let me see, I was assistant secretary from ’75 to ’79 and secretary from ’79 to ’83. I was not directly involved at that time except that I was, for the last four years, the board of governors’ liaison to the legal aid committee of the ABA. And then when I left office as secretary of the ABA, I guess it was when Wally Riley was president, he offered me the opportunity to go back to legal aid, and I negotiated a little with him about some aspects of that but eventually took it. And I was back there for two years and, at that point, looking ahead down the road I thought it would be important to get Jack Curtin involved and so I prevailed upon Bill, the president from Cleveland, Bill …, when we edit I’ll think of it, to let me step down as chair and make Curtin the chair because I thought it was important that he get on a path to move up and eventually became president of the ABA and on many occasions he and I went to the White House in the Reagan and Bush years to talk about legal aid. But so I was at SCLAID two times, ’73 to ’76 and I think, from ‘83 to ’85, as I recall. Now, you asked me what was done. One of the big things that was done was the creation of the standards for legal aid. And I can’t remember precisely which of those periods, I think it was probably the earlier one I’m not 100 percent sure, and that was important. I think that it was important that we were actively supporting the concept of legal aid.
Linda Perle: Did you have any specific role in the efforts to create the Corporation which was during that period?
Bill McCalpin: I knew about it, I was involved in it, I was talking to people, I was not doing any lobbying and I can’t claim any significant role in the creation. The one thing I do remember is that when the Corporation was created, and there was a long hiatus between the creation of the Corporation and the naming of the first board, and the law was that the Corporation would go into existence and operation 90 days after the confirmation of the first board. First of all, in that hiatus period there was created something that was called the umbrella group and the umbrella group set to work under the leadership of Bob Kutak, formerly of Availability, a small world I tell you, who was then an appointee-designate of the legal services board, to work on the first set of regulations for the Corporation and Standing Committee on Legal Aid, NLADA, Kutak and I don’t remember who all else was on that umbrella group, but we worked over it and had in place when the board was finally confirmed in July of 1975, and 90 days after that in October became officially operative. We had in place a number of regulations with which they could begin their operation. I also recall that at the time that the first board was sworn in the ABA and others convened an orientation session for the then now designated and confirmed board members. It was held in a hotel over in Virginia somewhere and I took part in that. Partly, I guess, this was not necessarily because as of this period I guess I wasn’t. Let me think, this is ’75?
Linda Perle: The Corporation began as you said at the end of ’75.
Bill McCalpin: Let me think about it a minute, I was in SCLAID ’73 to ’76 so I was SCLAID at that point but there was some other things that went on when I was a board liaison, I have to stop and think about these things, but this all happened when I was the chair of SCLAID between ’73 and ’76.
Linda Perle: Why don’t you tell us about your first term on the board on the LSC board. They were during the years of expansion for legal services and there was a perception of a kind of halcyon days for legal services. What do you think you accomplished during that time and what were your disappointments?
Bill McCalpin: Let me reminisce a little. I got a call probably in late August or early September of 1978, why can’t I think of her name, congresswoman now from California.
Linda Perle: Jane Harman? Where was she working?
Bill McCalpin: In the White House. She’s now a congresswoman from California. Jane Harman.
Linda Perle: Jane Harman. Well her name was Jane Lakes at the time. Jane Frank.
Bill McCalpin: Jane Frank. I got a call from Jane Frank in the White House saying that some terms were up and the White House was preparing to make some appointments to the board of the Legal Services Corporation and she said, almost exactly, this damn law says that we can’t have more than a simple majority from one particular party. And, of course, is in the Carter administration, Democrats in the White House, and she said to me with you and Kutak for Republicans we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel [laughs]. I said okay. Our names went up about the middle of September of 1978 which, I think, was within a few days or a week or so of the time that the Congress adjourned, the end of that Congress preceding the ’78 election. The ’78 election came and went, Carter was still in office, of course, and when the new Congress convened in January of ’79 as I recall the names which had been submitted during September were resubmitted in February and we got a hearing in March and were confirmed in early May. Oh, when I went to the board as a brand new, well even before I went to the board, Tom Ehrlich who was then the president, had indicated an intention to leave that position, and the then chair of the board appointed me and some others, sitting and incoming board, to a search committee for a new president of the Corporation. Interestingly enough the then-president to whom I reported as a new fledging board member was a woman named Hillary Rodham. After Bill lost the election she became Hillary Rodham Clinton [laughs], although she was certainly known as Hillary Rodham Clinton at that time, I’m kidding a little bit, but we were confirmed and we began to operate then in June. The first board meeting for us was in June of 1979. You know, I remember a few things about that. There were certainly some financial things. Let me go back a minute, there is something else that may be of interest. Probably the first actual meeting of the first sitting board that I attended would have been I guess either later in the fall of ’79 or early in ’80. It was in a school auditorium somewhere over in Virginia and they were debating allocations of funding at that point and there was a pretty vigorous debate going on. The field had something called the funding criteria committee, the chair of which was a fellow named Dennison Ray and his opponent was an even more distinguished fellow named Gary Bellow. And Gary Bellow was arguing to the board for an appropriation to the legal aid clinic affiliated with the Harvard Law School to be located in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and Denny Ray was arguing just as vociferously against the funding, the taking away of funds from the field programs and giving it something like a Harvard clinical program. It was interesting to me because it was Denny Ray who had created the gubernatorial veto of the appropriations in Missouri when he was head of the Legal Aid Society in St. Louis. I had known Denny Ray quite well and not entirely favorably.
Linda Perle: Then he went off and caused controversy in many other places.
Bill McCalpin: Oh yeah, Denny Ray is a real character as a background of this whole thing. How did we get here? You asked me something and I said let me reminisce [laughs].
Linda Perle: I asked about your first time on your board of the Corporation.
Bill McCalpin: Unquestionably, the hallmark of that board came about well let me show you, I went on the board in June of ’79. In the summer of ’80 it appeared that Hillary had other things on her agenda. Chelsea was about to be born, and I was approached to be chair to succeed her as chair of the board of Legal Services Corporation. I was elected in September of 1980 and I guess my distinguishing mark was to preside over the total up-change of the politics of the United States when Ronald Reagan was elected and the House and the Senate both went Republican, the House after 40 years and the Senate after 15 as I recall so immediately there was great turmoil. I recall that NLADA was to meet in Puerto Rico in November following that election. I had not intended to attend that meeting but I got a call from Dan Bradley whom that search process I referred to earlier had brought to the presidency of the Legal Services Corporation. Dan said people are ready to jump out of hotel windows or walk off into the ocean. There is great despair down here about what will happen to legal services in this oncoming administration, you’ve got to come here. So, I went down there and we had, I don’t know whether I ought to admit this on the record or not but we had kind of a rump session of a majority of the members of the board at a breakfast meeting down there and we decided that we had to do something and out of that and another meeting just off the plenary session there came out of that the concept of PAI.
Linda Perle: What does PAI stand for?
Bill McCalpin: Private Attorney Involvement. The preceding summer, at the ABA meeting, there was first of all Representative Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin who had by then introduced in the Congress of the United States a provision to divert a very large amount of the Legal Services Corporation appropriation to the private bar to be handled. There was a motion in the House of Delegates of the ABA, sponsored as I recall by the Wisconsin delegation, in effect to achieve the same result. Interestingly enough, the opposing players at that point were Jerry Shestack as chair of the legal aid committee, ultimately as president of the association and Dennis Archer, the president-elect now of the ABA representing the general practice section of the ABA, who was sponsoring the concept of the diversion of funds for the private bar. I was secretary at that point. I convened a meeting of the warring factions in my suite out in Honolulu and we ultimately came to a modified resolution which called upon the OEO to involve the private bar to the extent possible in the provision of legal services to indigents. That was the foundation for what happened in Puerto Rico as I mentioned a moment ago and out of that came the ten percent PAI involvement recommendation. The concept of that was that each program which received money from the Legal Services Corporation should devote 10 percent of that money to the involvement of the private bar and there were no restrictions on how that might be done. It could be done by paying a fee to members of the private bar to represent an indigent. It could be done by administering a voluntary lawyer program within the local program to provide private attorneys pro bono to indigents. It could be done by educational programs. It was a very broad concept of the ten percent. And I don’t have any doubts that that was the principal milestone of my first term on the board of the Corporation, because in it we had two objectives and I think they had pretty well been met. One was to increase the supply of legal services available; second, and just as important, was to encourage, solicit the political support of the private bar for legal aid. And by getting the private bar involved, remember of course the law had always said that the private bar had to have a majority of the members on the board of each legal services program, and so they were involved that way but when we got the broader membership of the bar involved in expending the ten percent requirement, we did. I think at least partly as a result of that very substantially enhanced the private bar’s political support of the legal aid movement and as well as increasing the supply of lawyers who were available to represent provide services to indigent people. As a matter of fact, as I recall even before we adopted the ten percent requirement we had allocated, I think, some $500,000 out of the LSC budget to seek ways to involve the private bar. This was between the time of the ABA meeting in August and the time of the NLADA meeting in Puerto Rico in November. So, I’m so old I have trouble with names, Steve here in town –
Linda Perle: Me too, I’m having trouble too. I know who you mean, I can see his face.
Bill McCalpin: Well, he was the one that was purposely behind that but I think, well, there is one other thing. There was one other principal accomplishment of those years and that’s minimum access. The concept was developed that there ought to be minimum access across the country for indigents to get to legal services and the formula that was created was that in every area of the country there ought to be two legal services lawyers for every 10,000 poor people. And that involved not only the allocation for funding but at that point we didn’t have every part of the country covered by a federally funded grantee of the Legal Services Corporation. I remember that Dan Bradley came out to create the program in northeast Missouri when we were developing minimum access. By the fall, September, I guess, of 1980 we had reached minimum access with as I recall an appropriation of $320 million from the Congress, and that was in some respects the high point of funding. So I think there are two principal accomplishments of that first period when I was there: the PAI requirement and minimum access.
Linda Perle: And then in 1980, the fall of 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president. Your board continued to serve for another year, right?
Bill McCalpin: Well, Ronald Reagan was elected in November 1980
Linda Perle: And took office in January of 1981.
Bill McCalpin: In January. In early March of 1981, I was then chair of the board of the Legal Services Corporation. I received a letter from David Stockman who was then the head of OMB in which he said that the president will recommend zero funding for the Legal Services Corporation and he urges you to use whatever funds you have on hand to phase out the existence of the Corporation. Well, needless to say, this confirmed some of those fears that were evidenced in November in Puerto Rico. This is a point at which the ABA substantially saved legal services. Reese Smith was the president. He organized a march on Washington within a couple of weeks after I got that letter. That was of considerable significance and then by early April he had a mass migration of the bar to Washington to meet with congressional representatives from the various states from which they came in order to marshal support for the continuation of the Legal Services Corporation. Caldwell Butler who was then a representative from southwest Virginia, a Democrat, later said that he regarded that as the action which saved legal services, that mass migration onslaught on the Congress by the bar from all over the country and after that there wasn’t going to be zero funds and phase out. Unfortunately, we did at that point sustain a 25 percent decrease in the appropriation. It went from $320 million to $240 million and that of course had a substantial affect around the country in terms of offices, lawyers, volume of service and so on but that is when Reese then developed the pro bono concept. He went around the country trying to organize the bar into providing pro bono legal services to make up for the shortfalls in what the Corporation was able to do with its diminished force.
Linda Perle: And then on December 31 of 1981 President Reagan made recess appointments and I think we’re going to have to take a brief break and we’ll talk about that and subsequent events after that.
Bill McCalpin: Okay.
Linda Perle: On December 31, 1981, President Regan made recess appointments to the LSC board and replaced you and all your colleagues with a new set of LSC board members. Just reminisce about that, tell us about how that came to be and what your reactions were.
Bill McCalpin: Well, it was New Years Eve 1981. I went out to a kind of lunch you would expect to have on New Years Eve and I came back in the middle of the afternoon and there was virtually nobody in the office, they had all left by then and there was a note pasted on my office door that said the White House called, call LSC. So, I called LSC I don’t remember to whom I spoke, but the message was that the president has appointed a new board, you are all displaced and that new board is meeting this afternoon. Well, that was interesting. It wasn’t terribly surprising. We had been expecting to be replaced ever since he was elected more than a year earlier. So it developed that the reason for the haste in the appointments on December 31 and the meeting on December 31 was they thought that would give them the opportunity to affect the allocation of funds to the legal aid programs for the year 1982. What they didn’t know was that we had already done that 30 days earlier, so in a sense that meeting was something of a futility. We anticipated that there would be some differences of view between the old board and the new board and Olson, Bill Olson, had been designated as chair of the board by the President of the United States contrary to the specific terms of the statute which said that the President would appoint the first chair of the board, thereafter, chairs of the board would be elected by the members of the board. Nonetheless, Mr. Reagan appointed Bill Olson as the chair of the board. Shortly, I’ve got to try to sort this out in my mind. I don’t remember quite why but we decided that we ought to try to facilitate a more orderly transition between the board but all of the new board were what were call recess appointees and the constitutional provision, which I can’t quote to you, said during the recess of the Congress the President shall have a right to appoint ambassadors, officers and something else of government, I can’t remember the precise words. The Legal Services Corporation had a provision, has a provision, that officers and directors and employees of the Legal Services Corporation shall not, by virtue of those positions, be deemed to be employees or officers of the United States. So it seemed clear to us on the face of it that the president really lacked the power to make recess appointments to the board of the Corporation. We were cognizant of the fact that the Congress would be back in January and get organized and so on and that these names would go up and that they would shortly be confirmed and that would be the end of us. So, I was in a meeting in San Francisco and I can’t remember what it was, and I contacted Bill Olson and made arrangements to meet with him in Washington. I remember it was one of the few times I’ve flown the red eye, and I few the red eye from San Francisco to Washington to meet with Bill Olson. I pointed this out to him, the legal situation involved, and said that our board was willing and perfectly happy to cooperate with their board but why didn’t we operate kind of in unison and cooperatively until they could get confirmed. That was rejected outright. So we then had the last meeting of what we called the real board of the Corporation. We convened it by telephone conference from my office. My secretary took the whole thing in shorthand, and I guess we had everybody, we certainly had more than a quorum.
Linda Perle: Including Steve Engelberg whose name we couldn’t remember before.
Bill McCalpin: In the meantime we had seen a legal opinion issued by Steptoe and Johnson with respect to the Public Broadcasting Corporation and though we had asked our own counsel for a legal opinion and there seemed to me there was one other, all to the effect that we were on solid ground so that in that telephone conference in, I guess, February which was charged to our office, we agreed to sue the Corporation and the new board to establish the principle that recess appointments to this entity were not appropriate. That suit was filed by Hogan and Hartson, Joe Hassett his co-counsel was a fellow named David Tatel who now sits on the court of appeals for the District of Columbia
Linda Perle: And also was, when the Corporation first came into existence, was the staff of the Corporation.
Bill McCalpin: Anyway, Joe Hassett and David Tatel filed suit for us in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It went to Judge Norman Johnson. The suit was titled McCalpin v. Dana. I, as chair of the old board, and Howard Dana I guess was the first alphabetically of the new board. And it went on the books as McCalpin v. Dana. Ultimately, in ruling on competing motions for summary judgment, Norman Johnson ruled that, in effect, the recess appointments were appropriate. We took an appeal. The appeal went to the court of appeals for the District of Columbia. It was argued and went under submission to the court I guess sometime in early 1984 by then. It was under submission for about 18 months, as I recall, without a decision until for the first time after Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 there was a confirmed board in June of 1985. In the meantime, some, I think, almost 50 names had been submitted to the Congress and had not been approved for one reason or another or withdrawn. In any event, when the first confirmed board was in place the court of appeals took it out of the drawer and said the issue is now moot and didn’t rule on the appeal at all. I referred a moment ago to the fact of that last telephone conference meeting of the board initiated in our office, as I recall the charge for the telephone conference was something like $680.00 and the new board refused to pay it [laughs]. Ultimately, somewhere along the line eventually we got reimbursed but initially they declined to pay as an unauthorized expense of a bunch of outlanders who had no business doing any business for the Corporation at that time. Well, that’s how we got replaced en masse, Hillary and all the rest of us, all 11 of us were replaced effectively as of December 31, 1981, though subject to contest and negotiation and litigation for a period thereafter. Although, the new board began to operate immediately early in 1981, actually on New Years Eve of ’81 and then into ’82 while the litigation was going on they operated.
Linda Perle: After the filing of the suit can you tell us about your continued role with respect to legal services during the Reagan and Bush years? You were no longer on the board but you certainly continued to be involved as a person of note with respect to legal services.
Bill McCalpin: Well, as I indicated, I went back to chair SCLAID and ’86, I guess –
Linda Perle: I think you said ’83 through ’85.
Bill McCalpin: Yes. In ’83, a year or so after we had just been talking about, I went back to chair SCLAID and in that capacity, I remember working closely with the late Lynn Sterman.
Linda Perle: Can you tell us who Lynn was?
Bill McCalpin: Lynn was a staff person for the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants at the American Bar Association who gave everything she had to the assistance of legal aid for indigent persons. She, unfortunately, died a couple of years ago but she was an enormous help in this whole thing. But I can remember she would send me drafts of proposed regulations by the new board and I can remember standing at a lunch counter across the street from the office reading these drafts while I was munching a sandwich and firing them back to her. We opposed much of what they were doing and of course I don’t remember exactly how we had, well, first of all the contest over the chair of the board Olson had been named by the president and Howard Dana whose name I mentioned in the title of the law suit was supported by a number of the members of the board and there was a fellow named Bill Harvey from the University of Indiana Law School. And I guess what happened is Olson bowed out and the contest was between Dana and Harvey, is that right?
Linda Perle: I don’t really remember that.
Bill McCalpin: In any event Harvey was elected and Howard Dana was not. Harvey was himself an interesting figure in the period. He apparently did not like to fly. He drove from Indianapolis or West Lafayette, I’ve forgotten which it was, to Washington to the board meetings usually chauffeured by his wife, allegedly reading materials on the way for which he charged the Corporation in addition to mileage and everything else and we were told that eventually he brought a new car out of all this which the students at the University of Indiana dubbed the “poormobile” [laughs]. Eventually, Harvey was succeeded by Wallace, no not Wallace . . . from Detroit. Linda, you’ve got to get younger [laughs].
Linda Perle: I know all these people but am having trouble remembering . . . we can’t remember his name, it will come to us. Clark Durant.
Bill McCalpin: Clark Durant, that’s right. In his period as I recall the board paid Reuters to research and lobbyists to oppose the continued existence of the Corporation, all of this out of Corporation funds. He was succeeded by a fellow named Wallace from Mississippi. And I remember, I guess by the time I got, I don’t know whether it was when I was at SCLAID or NLADA – I would attend from time to time board meetings and I remember Wallace. Although, I had been chair of the board of the Corporation, I thought was reasonably well known, Wallace insisted that I identify myself before I could speak [laughs]. Now, it was in this period of time that the board did outrageous things such that Senator Warren Rudman at one point said on the floor of the United States Senate he wouldn’t trust that board any further than he could throw the Capitol building. Another quote from that point was there was a fellow nominated for the board from California and when he came on for his confirmation hearing my good friend Tom Eagleton was on the committee and he called him a 14-carat bigot [laughs]. This was the sort of thing that was going on, why it took a long time to confirm the board. At one point all the nominations were withdrawn, at one point the Senate agreed to confirm some but not all of the nominees whereupon the president withdrew all the names because he wasn’t going to go for half a loaf. It was a wretched period. The management of the Corporation was essentially opposed to the historic philosophy of legal aid in the United States. And we battled long and hard to preserve it through what turns out to be a 12-year winter, eight years of Reagan and four years of Bush. It wasn’t as bad in the last four years but it was a contentious and difficult period all the time and I was involved in it for legal aid and then I went to the board and ultimately the presidency of NLADA, was involved there, I can’t precisely remember what those years were but I was pretty involved most of the time. And then when Bill Clinton was elected – I don’t owe my appointment to Bill Clinton, I owe it to Hillary. She and I had been on the board together. Let me say one other thing that you might find interesting. When the Clintons were elected and Hillary was First Lady there was a reporter for U.S. News and World Report named Ted Guest, he had been a reporter for the St. Louis Post Dispatch whom I knew in that period, and he came to me and he said for U.S. News and World Report I want to write a story on Hillary Clinton’s involvement in legal services. I said okay, Ted, let me go back and look. I went back and pored through some minutes of the board meetings when she and I were there together and incidentally those minutes are here in this library now. And I reported back to Ted Guest at that time that there were not very many divided votes on that board particularly over things that could be categorized very much but to the limited extent that there were, I had the impression that Hillary tended to come down on the conservative side. The interesting footnote to that is that our most recent chief judge of the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis is a woman named Jean Hamilton and she told me that when she was at Wellesley she was the secretary or vice chair, I’ve forgotten which, of the campus Republican club, the president of which was Hillary Rodham [laughs].
Linda Perle: I had heard Hillary had a transformation during the time she as at Wellesley –
Bill McCalpin: Well marriage does strange things.
Linda Perle: Well, you were appointed to the LSC board for the second time in 1993.
Bill McCalpin: Right, November 8.
Linda Perle: I may be wrong on this but I think you have now served longer than any other LSC board member in history.
Bill McCalpin: No, Tom Smegal. Tom Smegal was appointed to the board which was confirmed in 1985 and he served for a period that was a few months longer than my service from June of ’79 until December 31, ‘81 so Tom beats me by a few months, but I think I’m second. There was a fellow named Hall who was a Reagan appointee, his father was a congressman from Texas –
Linda Perle: Ralph Hall, Ralph Hall’s the father.
Bill McCalpin: Ralph Hall. Was that his name, the fellow on the board?
Linda Perle: That’s his father. He may be Ralph Hall, Jr.
Bill McCalpin: Derwood Hall is that right? But in any event I think he has the record for having the most appointments. He was appointed about three times in all this period of time when names were going up and not being confirmed and then resubmitted. I think he has the record for the number of appointments.
Linda Perle: Tell us about your experience during the last nine years as a member of the board. Regardless of your own personal length of time on the board, this is clearly the longest serving board in the history of the Corporation and a lot has happened in the last nine years. Can you give us a sense of –
Bill McCalpin: Let me tell you, we were sworn in on my 72nd birthday. Gives you an idea of how gray and atrophied I am up here. We were sworn in by Ab (Abner) Mikva who I guess was then a judge of the court of appeals and ultimately became counsel to the president.
Linda Perle: Previously before that a congressman.
Bill McCalpin: That’s what I’m going to say. On that day when we were sworn in Mikva told us that when he was running for the Congress from his district in Illinois, he used to go, he did on occasion go to the high school where Hillary Rodham was a student and he never got a vote out of that area. He being a Democratic candidate for Congress of the United States. He didn’t get a warm reception from whatever high school that was in the suburban area of Chicago. But we were sworn in on November 9, we had a kind of ceremonial meeting that day but beginning shortly thereafter for at least a year, I think we met monthly. The president at that point was a fellow named Jack O’Hara who had been appointed by the –
Linda Perle: The president of the Legal Services Corporation
Bill McCalpin: Yes, the president of the Legal Services Corporation. He made a pitch to be retained as president but there were some personnel whom he was responsible for having appointed a couple, at least one in a vice president’s position maybe two, one in a counsel position whom I personally had put on my list as the first to go and it didn’t seem reasonable to get, and these were people who had been in complete sympathy with the philosophy of the preceding 12 years which we were bound and determined to reverse. I personally didn’t see how we could cut out these people and keep O’Hara and besides O’Hara wasn’t that knowledgeable and sympathetic with legal aid and its history and so at our very first meeting we undertook to replace him and to begin to replace the people that we thought were deleterious to the continued existence and operation of the Corporation, one of whom is still a burr under our saddle.
Linda Perle: You might want to tell people who that is.
Bill McCalpin: Ken Bone, who had the title of counsel to the board, as I recall and I don’t why the board had to have separate counsel from the general counsel of the Corporation but he was and he has been a fly in the ointment, a burr under the saddle all the time. Well, Doug Eakeley who was our chair, elected by us as we came into office, had been associated with the legal aid program in New York and in that association was acquainted with Alex Forger, a distinguished lawyer at a large Wall Street law firm in New York who had recently then lost his wife, and he had partially, at least, if not fully withdrawn from the practice of law and was, as I recall, the managing partner of Milbank Tweed, and to attend to his wife in her last days and he was somewhat at loose ends. I believe she had died a month or two or three before we were sworn in. So he suggested that we bring Alex on, and Alex had been involved in legal aid in New York as at least an interim president to replace Jack O’Hara. And the board was quite sympathetic to that and so we gave O’Hara notice and brought Alex on. Early in 1984, as I recall, we were sworn in in December, I don’t remember whether we had another meeting later than December, and probably brought him in in January of 1984. We then undertook a search process for a permanent president of the Corporation. I chaired that search and we cast a nationwide net, got lots of responses, retained a prominent search consultant firm in Boston to assist us, interviewed a number of people of very prominent names and ultimately concluded that our best bet was to keep Alex Forger as the permanent president of the Corporation. In the meantime, he had severed relations between those persons that I personally found objectionable. He worked out separation agreements with them and they were gone in a relative –
Linda Perle: You mean people in the LSC staff.
Bill McCalpin: Yes, the staff people who had served under O’Hara. They were more objectionable than O’Hara himself, to me. And so we commenced reorganization and there were a number of chores before us. I think it was when, I don’t remember precisely when it was, but we had pretty good political liaison relations with the Senate of the United States but at one point we had come within six votes of losing a principal vote in the House and I remember talking to Julie about this.
Linda Perle: Julie.
Bill McCalpin: Clark.
Linda Perle: Julie is the –
Bill McCalpin: Julie Clark is the legislative representative for NLADA. It was apparent that we had to do something about rebuilding our credibility and support in the House of Representatives. There were regulations issued by prior administrations of the Corporation which were old, obsolete, some of them totally inappropriate, so we began a monumental reexamination of all the existing regulations of the Corporation beginning with the by-laws. John Brooks of Massachusetts who was then on the board and I with [unintelligible, sounds like “Laurie…”], of all things, we worked the –
Linda Perle: Laurie is currently on the staff of Inspector General, was in the general counsel’s office of the Corporation at that time.
Bill McCalpin: We began a total revision, review, of the regulations of the Corporation. Obviously, we had to re-energize, revitalize the legal programs in the field which had been in a bunker mentality for 12 years with the unfavorable forces in Washington. We had to restaff, recruit people for the Corporation and we had to try to rebuild the annual appropriation by the Congress to the Corporation because somewhere along the line when I chaired the Consortium of Legal Services in the public of the ABA we had initiated a legal needs study and the conclusion from that was that the legal aid services program at that point was only serving 20 percent of the need in the country and we were then, I think we had come up maybe to $275 million or so by then maybe, edging toward, well maybe we were a little higher than that, edging toward $300 million but none of us thought we were going to get five times that amount of money to serve 100 percent of the need and we had to do a lot of things to try to maximize legal services in the United States. So, we felt we had a pretty full plate. We had a group on our board and presently still there, all of whom were strongly supportive, many of whom with deep backgrounds in the legal aid movement. Several of the women attorneys on the board had served in legal aid programs. Maria Luisa and Laveeda Battle, Maria Louisa Mercado and Laveeda Battle had both been legal aid attorneys. Bucky Askew on the board had served in both the OEO and the Legal Services Corporation, now works for the Supreme Court of Georgia, Doug Eakeley had had that experience in New York, Tom Smegal had the prior board experience and had been involved in legal aid in California, so there was a lot of experience on the board. Nancy Rogers was another who had started her law practice in the legal aid offices in Cleveland, Ohio. So there was a lot of experience and total support and I remember at a very early meeting we went around the table and said, what are your aspirations for your three-year term which is now nine years on the board and I remember my response was, I hope that by the end of our terms we could be as well accepted as Head Start. I’m not sure we’ve got there yet and I’m not sure where Head Start is these days, I don’t think it is what it was in the Johnson and later days but that was my concept in 1993 or ‘4. Well, we went along busy, busy, busy until the election of 1994 and that was the Gingrich revolution. And, of course, the legislation that came out of the Congress at that time was the most extensive since the original Legal Services Corporation Act of 1974. There had been, let me go back a minute, the Act was passed in ’74 and it had as I recall an expiration of three years. It came up for review in 1977, there were some few amendments to the act at that time. The Corporation has not been reauthorized since September 30, 1977, 25 years ago. The rule in the Congress of the United States is that there shall be no appropriations to a program which is not authorized. So in spite of the fact that we haven’t been authorized for 25 years we have continued to receive annual appropriations. What the Congress has done again somewhat out of the ordinary mold is to legislate in the appropriation acts, again, they are supposed to be a no-no about substantive legislation in an appropriation act but they have done it on a number of occasions and most notably in 1996, well it’s a ’96 appropriation I suspect it was passed in ’95.
Linda Perle: It actually came into effect in April of 1996 because there was a continuing resolution.
Bill McCalpin: Well, it’s the 1996 appropriation act that contains the Draconian measures affecting legal aid. For one thing it took away from the Corporation, essentially, the responsibility for monitoring compliance by its grantees with the laws and regulations and requirements of the Corporation, gave them to the Inspector General of the Corporation with the requirement that he, in turn, delegate that to the CPAs who were auditing the separate grantees of the Corporation which at that time as I recall were 300 or so in number. So what it did was to give to accountants and auditors the ability to determine whether legal services organizations were properly providing legal services. And, of course, it beefed up substantially the responsibility and the authority of the Inspector General. It did some substantial things in terms of areas of representation. It said that our grantees could not represent a person who was incarcerated at any level for anything so that if an individual was incarcerated for five years and his wife sued for divorce we couldn’t represent him. Or if he was sued for termination of parental rights we couldn’t represent that incarcerated individual and it applied even to people who were in local jails. Another important thing was that it said we could no longer our grantees could not longer be involved in class actions. Class actions are the most effective and economic way of disposing of a problem. We couldn’t do it. It said that grantees of the Corporation could no longer collect attorney’s fees even when they were permissible under existing statutes of the United States. We couldn’t recover fees from losing plaintiffs or defendants, whatever they may be. Linda, you may remember some of the others.
Linda Perle: I think there were a number of other restrictions. The board did yeoman service, however, in developing a series of regulations to implement the restrictions in, I think, the least restrictive way possible while still implementing the will of Congress.
Bill McCalpin: No question about that, and as a matter of fact John Brooks who I mentioned earlier, was the first and only person to leave the board, which was sworn in nine years ago. He was replaced by John Erhlenborn who is now both a member of the board and the president of the Corporation and John Erhlenborn has said that when he came on he was astonished to find the vigor with which the Corporation was endeavoring to comply with the wishes of the Congress as expressed in the 1996 legislation, however unpopular they may have been. And Erhlenborn had previously been appointed, I guess, by President Reagan to the board and he is a 20-year member of the Congress, a Republican congressman from northern Illinois, and after he left the Congress he went to the Washington office of a Chicago law firm which was then representing growers in the southeast part of the United States. Those growers brought pressure on his law firm to get him off that board because they regarded as friendly to migrant workers and unfriendly to growers and so he was forced off the board at that time, but he had been there for a couple of meetings at least, a short period of time, and he remarked on the very different attitude between the acrimonious board that he went to the first time which was trying to do away with legal services and this board which was trying to carry out the will of Congress and yet support legal aid.
Linda Perle: Were there other challenges that this board faced that you participated in that you think we’d like to hear about?
Bill McCalpin: Well, one challenge was as I had indicated before, we had not great support in the House of Representatives and we had much more support among Democrats in the Congress than Republicans. And it was apparent that we had to do something to build up that support. So that when Alex Forger in 1997, as I think it was, decided it was time for him to leave Washington and I guess he had remarried in the meantime, and go back to New York and pick up the threads of his life, many of us thought it was important that we have a president who could get along with the then Republican Congress. We had not done too well in a couple of instances in the prior few years that we had been there. So, after another search chaired this time by John Broderick an associate justice of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, the board chose as its president John McKay of Seattle, Washington. McKay had been the administrative assistant to a Republican congressman from the state of Washington, Joel Pritchard, and had been in Washington as an assistant to a Republican congressman and in the Reagan administration I guess it was, it could have been Bush, he had been a White House Fellow appointed by the administration as a White House Fellow as they are and in that capacity he had been delegated to the FBI where he worked under the supervision, ultimately, of the director of the FBI but the particular assignment that he was given was to address problems within the FBI about some dissonance between the FBI and Hispanic agents, particularly in the south and southwest of the United States. And I remember the first time I met John McKay was at an ABA midyear meeting in San Antonio at breakfast. He had to leave the breakfast as some Hispanic FBI agents came to pick him up and give him a royal tour. He became very friendly with them. In any event, John McKay was appointed as the president in 1997 with a primary assignment to, if not repair, at least enhance the relations between the Legal Services Corporation and the Congress which was then controlled by Republicans. And I would have to say that he did a good job in that respect. We have had increasing appropriations out of the Republican controlled Congress during his period of time, we have been able to head off some further Draconian efforts to limit the activities of the Corporation, we have been able to maintain relatively the status quo in terms of breadth and areas of services, while increasing the appropriations, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. We on the board felt a couple of years ago that what we really ought to do was begin to take a look at the restrictions which the Congress had imposed in ’77 and more recently in ’96 and get some sense of how those restrictions were affecting poor people. Well, obviously we wanted the information, we wanted the analysis but we hoped eventually to alleviate them somehow. He got the message from the White House: stay away from it, don’t get into it and so although we had appointed a group to be known as Erhlenborn II to get into that kind of a study it died [unintelligible]. So that, you know, I can’t say that we were spectacularly and universally successful with the Republican administrations but largely we were in the Congress and I guess, to some extent, in the White House although John McKay wasn’t there a long time after the present administration came in. He let it be known that he was a candidate for the position of U.S. Attorney for the Western district of the state of Washington and he ultimately was confirmed and is now serving in that position, John Erhlenborn having relieved him several years ago. So that was one of our challenges was to rebuild our support and in that area I would have to say we were quite successful. I suppose the watershed piece of my second term on the board had to do with something that is called state planning. About the time of the ’96 amendments, people and this was while Alex was still there and Martha Bergmark was still the executive vice president of the Corporation, this concept of state planning was enunciated. I remember it really came about at a meeting at Sofitel, maybe up Connecticut Avenue close the Washington Hilton somewhere and we had a meeting there in which this concept was broached. This represented a different departure, really, although I had drafted a resolution some years earlier which passed the House of Delegates of the ABA, which put the ABA in support of local decision making in legal aid programs that the method of the delivery of the legal services, the subjects, the areas to be addressed always had to be the subject of priority-setting under the Legal Services Corporation Act because everybody recognized the resources weren’t sufficient to cover every aspect, every person that came in the door with every variety of legal services program if it was going to have any effect at all you had to concentrate in certain areas. You have people with experience in those areas, you picked the most serious areas, locality by locality, and they would be different in California and Minnesota and Florida and different priorities would prevail. Although state planning looked like adherence to local decision making, the way it has unfolded over the intervening years is more and more Washington control. I have characterized it as a Washington knows best attitude that Washington knows better than the people in the states and communities around the country who are looking at their legal services programs and deciding what is best. There have been program letters issued by the Corporation, detailing the areas in which state planning is to occur, there has been a philosophy, not a bad one, that state planning ought to involve the broadest possible array of so called stakeholders, people with a stake or an interest in the delivery of legal services to indigents. Sometimes that’s happened, sometimes it hasn’t happened. There were a number of categories, seven or eight, in 98 – 1 whatever it was, that the state planners were to address technology, how to utilize technology in the provision of legal services, training, help me Linda…
Linda Perle: Well, obviously configuration which was –
Bill McCalpin: I’m going go come to that in a minute. Fundraising. There was no problem about bringing technology assistance. There’s certainly no argument about providing better training for the people who are going to provide services. The fund-raising is somewhat more controversial because the concept is that if funds are raised in one area of the state they ought to be utilized broadly, generally, and evenly around the state and there are a lot of people who raise funds in one part of the state who aren’t terribly interested in having those funds used in another part of the state but that was one of the concepts of the equalization of funding around the state. But as Linda indicated a minute ago by all odds the most controversial aspect of state planning was the very last one on the list of requirements called configuration. In each state there is a service area which is served by a particular legal services program in that state. Some states have one program. Kansas I think has always had a single statewide program. There are states which have had 12 to 14; New Jersey and Pennsylvania as I recall have had numerous programs in the state. The state of Missouri had six, originally. The idea was developed in Washington that bigger is better and there had been an accusation frequently levied that what Washington was interested in was getting a single program in every state. The Corporation denies this but that concept is certainly still prevalent around the United States. There had been controversies over it, California had a big controversy in the Bay area initially; Michigan had a controversy in which they had more and more stakeholders involved in that state than in my state of Missouri by all odds. Those stakeholders came up with a configuration program and were overridden by the program in Washington, and that led to a big shouting match at a board meeting a year ago. There has been litigation over reconfiguration in northern Virginia as I recall and one in Ohio up in the Toledo area of Ohio I think there was litigation. By and large the litigation has resulted favorably for the Corporation. The courts have generally said that the Corporation has the authority and responsibility under the Legal Services Corporation Act for the effective economic use of the federal funds which is devoted and if they decide something even if that means trumping what the local folks do the Corporation has got the right to do it. I think that the Corporation has been heavy-handed in that respect. I am involved in Missouri which has had its problems, this very year, has had its problem. We got a letter from the Corporation dated January 31 directing us to dis-establish one of the programs in Missouri and themselves deciding how the 11 counties would be allocated to the other programs. We raised some Cain about it, the letter was withdrawn and we are now at work looking into the question and I have to say, I’ll admit, that for the first time in Missouri we are really beginning to do some state planning of any breadth at all. I think that well maybe we better break and let me talk a few more minutes.
By and large, I think that the nine years of the Legal Services Corporation where I have been involved has largely been successful. There isn’t any question that while we may not be old style Head Start we certainly have bipartisan acceptance and there really is no longer any talk about extinguishing the Corporation. Questions, of course, about funding, questions about the breadth of its operation, but I think we’re here to stay. I don’t think that it’s a total unblemished record, I think that I have some problems with the state planning effort as I have described, I think that more attention needs to be paid to good service at the local level and I don’t mean to accept half-assed kinds of stuff but when good people involving all the aspects of the service delivery get together and spend time and money exercising their brains and imagination about what is best suited for their particular locality then my position was that there ought to be a presumption in favor of that and that the Corporation should not overrule it except under most extreme basis. There was an argument about that in the Corporation a couple of meetings ago. I was not there; it’s one of the few meetings I have ever missed but there was a compromise reached and I think the compromise was too weak. It gives the Corporation too much say in how it should be conducted. Nobody could possibly disagree with the objectives of state planning which is to provide more and better legal services to more people. No objection to that at all, nobody could object to it. It’s the way that the Corporation has gone about that in some ways and some areas that I find objectionable. I have tried to make the point a few times without making an utter pest and nuisance of myself but that’s the one reservation I have. I think, probably, given the political climate and the financial climate it was important to get more involvement, more thinking, more planning and more financing at the state and local levels and not leave it all to be financed by the federal government. But I think that the federal government has tried to extend the control of its dollar too far. One of the most objectionable things they did in 1996 was to say that if a program receives one dollar of federal money that will control every other dollar they get from every other source. All the other funding must be restricted to the same extent that the federal dollar is restricted and I think that is going much too far. But that’s the Congress not the Corporation. Well, it’s been a good nine years. I think I was happier in the earlier years of the Corporation than I have been in the later years. In a sense it was improper, imprudent for us as a board to be as actively involved in the management of the Corporation as we were in those first years but that’s sort of my suit [laughs]. In later years, the board has been pushed more and more to the side to some extent kept more and more in the dark, has certainly not had as active and leading a role in the affairs of the Corporation as we did initially and, well, I think that’s probably good corporate governance; it’s not something that makes me happy personally.
But that’s life and that’s the way it’s been.
Linda Perle: Bill, I heard you describe yourself simply as a lawyer in private practice and obviously that’s true but can you tell us what there was in your background as a young lawyer or as a young person before you entered the profession that drew you to your work on behalf of legal services to the poor?
Bill McCalpin: My mother.
Linda Perle: Tell us about your mother.
Bill McCalpin: My mother was a housewife. I don’t think she was ever employed; she was in the Red Cross in World War I. When my sister, who is five years younger than I, went to high school, my mother, in effect, left home. She didn’t physically leave home but she got involved in lots of things. Ultimately she died from lung cancer although she never smoked and I think it was from sitting in smoke-filled rooms at meetings of various kinds. We didn’t know about second hand smoke in those days but I’m inclined to think that was it. My mother was involved on the mayor’s human relations, I don’t remember what the exact name of it was, but it was involved in race relations about the time I got out of law school over 50 years ago. My mother was involved in White House conferences on children, and she got to be on a first name basis with Dwight Eisenhower. She was very active in something called the Family and Children Service in St. Louis, she served various terms on that board, she was secretary of it and I inherited her seat along the lines. I served several terms on that board and I guess I was just conditioned to think about people and serving people. When I started the practice of law in 1948 shortly after that, probably in ’49, I chaired a committee of the junior bar as we were then called of the St. Louis Bar Association, the objective and program of which was to get law students involved in legal aid and public defender. At that point legal aid in St. Louis was a municipal bureau funded entirely by the city of St. Louis. There were two lawyers in this relatively small office on the ninth floor mezzanine of the courthouse in St. Louis. I had been asked to join the faculty of St. Louis University Law School so I had an entrée there and I approached them; they were enthusiastic about it. I went to Washington University, the other law school in St. Louis, and they were too, and we began to have young lawyers come in to that municipal legal aid bureau in St. Louis, no credit, no formal clinical program or anything else but to immerse themselves in the practice of law as students, and this is more than 50 years ago. I’m sorry to say to you that we didn’t have the same success on the criminal side. I went to the public defender, I guess it was a public defender, Milton Metz was his name, I can’t remember. I guess he may have been municipal too, I don’t know. He actually offered the law students the right to write briefs in support of motions and appeals in criminal cases and we couldn’t get anybody interested. But I guess it was not so surprising that I got into legal aid but I probably got into legal aid at the ABA level about at the same time I went on the board of the legal aid operation in St. Louis and the Legal Aid Society in St. Louis became the third grantee of OEO. We were the third one and I remember at my invitation Clint Bamberger came out to St. Louis to talk to the bar about it and in the course of it he enticed one of our associates back to Washington with him, Chuck Edson. Do you know Chuck?
Linda Perle: I know the name.
Bill McCalpin: From that I just got involved in legal aid in St. Louis; I got the things we talked about earlier involved at the national level and at one stage we had a Missouri Legal Aid Foundation or something I don’t remember what it was and I became the president of that. I was the president of that when I was named to the board of the Corporation the first time and it was decided that it was inappropriate for me to retain that so I resigned the presidency and the person who became the president was Steve Limbaugh, a first cousin of Rush. He is now, Steve Limbaugh is now a senior U.S. District Court judge in the Eastern District of Missouri and his son is the chief justice of Missouri.
Linda Perle: I understand that you’ve also had some significant involvement with legal services programs outside the United States. Can you tell us briefly about your work in those programs?
Bill McCalpin: I’ll try not to be so wordy. I had one experience in London at an international legal aid conference, I think it was the first year that I was the assistant secretary of the ABA, probably ’76 or thereabouts and there were representatives there from all the English-speaking countries, India, France, some of the Scandinavian countries, and it was a very interesting and rewarding program but it’s the only truly broad international program I’ve ever been to. However, when I got, let me think a minute, where was I in ’84? Where was I? [Laughing] Anyway, I guess I was the chair of SCLAID in ’84, yeah, that’s right. I stumbled on the fact that there was a substantial legal aid operation in Canada and I wrote to, I guess what I got was a report of the Quebec society and I wrote to the director of that program whom I later got to know pretty well, Yves LeFontaine, and said that as the chair of the ABA program on legal aid I would be pleased if I could attend their annual meeting as an observer. He referred it to what they call the Secretariat of the association of legal aid plans of Canada and ultimately I was invited to attend their annual meeting in Alberta in 1984. I will leave in three weeks to attend their meeting in New Brunswick and I have missed only one meeting in the interval. I have been in every province and territory of the country of Canada, it’s a different program structurally than ours but they face some of the same problems we do and I have been able to come back, tell the ABA, tell NLADA and tell the Corporation how they approach some of the problems which face us. This will I’m sure be my last term. As you know, my successor on the board of the Corporation has already been named, he hasn’t been confirmed but I’m certain that I will be gone by next year and there is no reason for me to attend as a private citizen. But I have been very much involved as an observer in Canadian legal aid. And of course the interesting thing about their, two interesting things: One, their program is essentially province by province state by state, it is not national. There are one or two programs national but they are very much the minor part; juvenile is national in Canada but all the typical stuff is province by province and essentially the financial support is province by province, and the organizational and management structure is determined by the provincial legislature and executive. The other thing of course is they marry civil and criminal. They have one program in each province and territory and it does both civil and criminal and there is a wide variety of how they do it: Judicare, staff, combinations. Ontario has a program which does some things some areas of law by staff, other areas by local programs which have their own boards and offices and so on, it’s a fascinating program. But across the breadth of Canada which is a huge country they have, and let me say one other thing, they have what they call aborigines whom we call Native Americans and there is a lot that they do with them that is very fascinating for those of us in this country. In lots of areas they leave the tribal councils to make the decisions on legal matters. I told you I wasn’t going to talk so long.
Linda Perle: Now that your time on the LSC board is drawing to a close, what’s in your own future? What is Bill McCalpin going to do next for legal services or for something else. I think people might be interested in particularly hearing about your role in the Missouri Foundation for Health.
Bill McCalpin: Well, I think my future is not very many years. A little over a year and a half ago, I was appointed by the attorney general of Missouri to the board of what is known as the Missouri Foundation for Health. It is a so-called conversion foundation of which there are 25 or 30 in the United States. They all are an outgrowth of litigation over Blue Cross and Blue Shield programs. Basically, Blue Cross and Blue Shield were not-for-profit enterprises in their origins and for many years thereafter. In the last decade, those programs have decided that in order to meet the financial, operational and other needs of the times they had to create for profit subsidiaries and in Missouri they created such a for profit subsidiary and turned most of their business over to the for profit subsidiary. The attorney general sued the superintendent of insurance on the grounds that it is inappropriate for a not for profit corporation, tax free for 50 years, then to take all the assets it has and in effect turn it over to a for profit corporation and start to make a profit out of it. The litigation went on for five years. It went to the court of appeals twice, to our Supreme Court maybe once or twice but ultimately in the year 2000 it was settled. And the settlement involved creating a foundation to be known as the Missouri Foundation for Health. The settlement was implemented and the foundation created at the end of November 2000. In the meantime a board of 15 directors had been appointed and we became operational and active November 29 or 30 in the year 2000. We began life with $13 million and 14,960 shares of the for profit subsidiary which in fact was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That was 80 percent of the outstanding stock, 80.1 percent of the outstanding stock of that company. The other 19.9 percent had been issued and distributed on the New York Stock Exchange and was publicly held. There was a public market in the stock. The judge involved in the litigation and ultimately the settlement thought that maybe this corporation might be worth $50 to $100 million some day and many of the operational documents were prepared on that basis. Well, we marketed the first set of shares of that in a public offering with the New York Stock Exchange firm, we and the private corporation because they offered some shares and theirs was primary and our was a secondary offering in May of last year. That gave us some more funds and we began to recruit a staff and that sort of thing. In September of last year, we were told by the for profit corporation that they had been approached by the Wellpoint Foundation which is the huge $3 billion dollar California operation which came about the same way we came about through a merger and, of course, we being the major stockholder in the right choice had to agree to that. We did the brokers, investment brokers and money managers and all [tape interference] at the end of January. In the merger we got $200 million and 5 million shares of Wellpoint which we then proceeded to market in the next two months. As of March of this year, we had assets of $969 million.
Linda Perle: What are those assets going to be used for?
Bill McCalpin: Well let me say since March the value of our assets has dropped $120 million because what we did was to sell that stock and diversify with a lot going on. Well, the proceeds that we are directed to expend five percent, it’s not what you think it is, of our fair market value of our assets each year to address the unserved and underserved health needs of people in the 85 counties of Missouri which had been served by the Blue Cross operation. It’s most of Missouri except the Kansas City area which has its own Blue Cross so yesterday we made the first 21 grants of $2.6 million and it’s tough. It’s tough to get them, it’s tough to process them and it’s tough to evaluate them and we’re going to have trouble putting out five percent of $800 million in quality programs. We just are not getting that kind of what we consider to be quality, but there are a lot of people with their hands out but we’re having trouble getting, we’re going to have to put out $40 million a year in a responsible way. I chaired the investment committee of that foundation and you can imagine it’s been a pretty busy year. But the point I want to make is as I looked at this and we began to see charts of where the unserved and underserved people were and the kinds of health problems that they had, and as I looked at it I realized it was the same areas and the same people for whom we were providing legal aid. And, as we have known, some of the people with legal aid have medical problems and some of the people with medical problems have legal problems. So, I have introduced Jay Woods who is state support, which is it’s a Missouri state support which is different from many, and Dr. Coleen Kivlahan of the University of Missouri Medical School who chairs our program and grants committee, and said we’ve got to bring this together, we’ve go to find some way that we can serve the composite needs of these same people in this same area. I’m having trouble getting it started because Coleen Kivlahan’s husband has been offered a position at the University of Chicago and she’s leaving the middle of next month. And she is a wonder, she is great. I’ve offered her a cheap divorce [Laughs].
Linda, you got me going and I keep talking.
Linda Perle: That’s okay, it’s been fascinating. That’s all I have for today. Is there anything else that you want to add to what we’ve already covered?
Bill McCalpin: The only thing I want to say and for a number of years I have been asked to talk to summer interns and incoming associates in our office, and what I’ve said to them is that I was doubly blessed to come to the bar at a time when there wasn’t the same concentration on billable hours and the bottom line that there is now and I can say to them that the most rewarding part of my 54 years at the bar has been to be able to, hopefully, to try to make some difference in the lives of people and particularly in people who otherwise might not have had, not necessarily access to my services, but to the kinds of services that other lawyers that I have helped to make available. And I said recently to them that, and I said this at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri last month to a group that was assembled there, as practicing lawyers we all think that a big fee is the real reward in the practice of law, that’s not so. The real reward is to have the feeling that you’ve made a difference; that you have solved a problem that people otherwise couldn’t solve, for and by themselves. And that’s what makes 54 years in the practice of law a real pleasure. I commiserate with the young lawyers but I’m afraid that they are not getting the same opportunities that I had.
Linda Perle: Bill, I want to thank you for taking the time from your very busy schedule to join us here today. You are one of my heroes and I’ve really enjoyed this time as I always enjoy the time we have together. Thanks, again.
Bill McCalpin: I like to talk.
Linda Perle: I like to listen.