Thomas Smegal oral history, 2002

Patent attorney appointed to LSC Board by both Presidents Reagan and Clinton. Previously on board of Legal Aid Society in San Francisco.

Oral history details

Storyteller: Thomas Smegal
Interviewer: Perle, Linda
Date of interview: Sep 1, 2002
Where relates to: California
Topics: LSC: General
Law type: Civil
Collection: NEJL
Georgetown Law Library link (possible video):
Length: 0:45:45

Full text of transcript

Download PDF: Transcript

National Equal Justice Library Oral History Collection
Georgetown University Law Center
Interview with Thomas Smegal
By Linda Perle
September 1, 2002

Linda Perle: Hello my name is Linda Perle, I’m a senior attorney at the Center for Law and Social Policy and counsel to the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. I’m here at the Equal Justice Library at the Washington College of Law at American University and I’m about to speak with Thomas S. Smegal. Mr. Smegal is in private practice in San Francisco with the firm of Knobbe, Martins, Olsen and Bear, where he practices intellectual property law. He was recently nominated to appear in the Guide to the World’s Leading Patent Attorneys. Mr. Smegal is also a member of the Legal Services Corporation board. He was first appointed to serve on the LSC board by President Reagan and served from 1984 to 1990. He was reappointed to the board by President Clinton and 1993 and continues to serve as a member of that board. Tom, can you tell us about your early career as a patent attorney and how you first got involved in legal services work.

Tom Smegal: Well actually I started off here in Washington, D.C., went to law school here at George Washington University, worked as a patent examiner in the U.S. Patent Office so the natural step from there was to go into private practice and specialize in patent law, what was called patent trademark and copyright law then. It’s now been more broadly defined as intellectual property law. And my original intentions were to practice law here in Washington, D.C. with a law firm but I had an active duty obligation that I had delayed until after law school and went to Alabama for active duty for what was going to be six months and in 1961 the Germans built the wall across Berlin and President Kennedy decided all of us should stay for an additional period of time, so by the time I finished my military career the jobs in Washington, D.C. that had been offered were no longer outstanding but I did have an opportunity to go to California with a corporation and so I in the fall of 1962 I went to San Francisco, not having been there before, to see what it was like and to see whether I wanted to stay out there and practice law. I have been there now for 40 years. And the opportunities to get into indigent defense work came along while I was in my first job, the Ninth Circuit would avail young lawyers an opportunity to represent criminal defendants in various matters and I initially wrote brief while I was in corporate practice that got a prisoner in San Quentin an opportunity to have a retrial. Unfortunately the result was the same and he went back to San Quentin after that but that got me started and when I went into private practice in 1965 with a then small patent law firm in San Francisco I was asked to be on the Legal Aid Society board to represent the firm and I spent a number of years there until the late 60s when the Legal Aid Society in San Francisco, which had a modest budget in those days of about $50,000, was swamped by the OEO program that came in, with a million dollars and the funding was given to an entity that became the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation. And they took over the representation of civil indigents which up until then the Legal Aid Society had been doing with its modest budget. Two things happened because of that I then had the opportunity to volunteer in one of the Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation offices and I would go out and do intake indigent intake on Wednesday evenings and then take the files back to my office and then try to resolve their problems, landlord-tenant kind of problems, dissolutions. The other thing that happened when the Legal Aid Society was inundated with all this federal money they had to find something else to do and one of the things that we decided to do as a Legal Aid Society was to first create an employment law center which exists at present day and in fact the Legal Aid Society in San Francisco is actually known as the Employment Law Center. But the other thing we did we created a youth law center and we found some funding and some federal program and as that entity got rolling it became much more prominent. We got funding from the Legal Services Corporation. I chaired the board for a good number of years and that program expanded by being combined with the St. Louis program that was being funded and doing youth defender work youth indigent civil work and the Legal Services Corporation decided to put the two programs together and between them they became known as the National Center for Youth Law which was one of the 20 or so backup centers that were funded by the Legal Services Corporation through the well I guess it was into the early 90s. So during that time I served as chair of that board until in 1984 I was asked by the Reagan administration to join the Legal Services Corporation board as a nominee.

Linda Perle: When we spoke earlier you told me a rather amusing story of how you were first appointed to the LSC board by President Reagan. Can you share that with us now.

Thomas Smegal: At an earlier point in time I was in a small investment club with Ed Meese and so I got to know him pretty well and when prior Governor Reagan was elected President of the United States I called Ed Meese and I said gee I would like to do something in the administration, is there any chance I could be on the Legal Services Corporation board and Ed assured me that that was not possible because the program would be de-funded as soon as possible. So I should think of something else I might want to do in the Reagan administration. But at about that same time I had some activities up on the Hill with the Judiciary Committee on the House side. One of the staff counsels, Tom Mooney, had a subcommittee counsel position with Kastenmeier I think at that time, I think he was chair, where they had as their responsibility courts, civil liberties and the administration of justice. And that umbrella covered both the legal services appropriation or oversight and also the patent and trademark system. So they had this joint responsibility and I was very active in intellectual property matters. In fact I was chair of the ABA Section at one point on patent, trade mark and copyright and also president of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. So I got know Mooney because we would go up and testify before the committee and we got to talking about the other responsibilities of that committee, that being the Legal Services Corporation and Tom suggested that why didn’t he put a letter together and get it signed by the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and send it over to President Reagan recommending me to be nominated to the Legal Services Corporation. This happened back in ‘81 or so and nothing ever came of it and Mooney’s letter never got an answer. And Tom and I would chat about it occasionally when I got back as to what might be going on. Well, subsequent to my conversation with Meese their efforts to de-fund the Legal Services Corporation were unsuccessful although they did cut the budget by 25 percent in the first year from I think it was $320 to $240 but the program continued thanks primarily to Warren Rudman, a conservative Republican from New Hampshire, who refused to let the program be de-funded. In any event, most of the Reagan first term involved recess appointments, a prior Carter board was replaced early in the Reagan term by members a small number of members, not eleven which the board is entitled to have but at one point only four who were nominated during a Senate recess were they didn’t need Senate confirmation so and that continued with various components, various 4 individuals serving through most of Reagan’s first term during which their intention was to defund the Legal Services Corporation and when that did not happen during his first three years they decided to take another tack which was to nominate a board with the realization in the Senate side where the confirmation process would be carried out that his board members might be as hostile as the president was to Legal Services. They were being very closely scrutinized and Senator Cranston from California in fact refused to let anyone be considered for nomination unless there were 11 names presented. Well in ‘83 the President actually presented 11 names including an individual by the name of Robert Kane who had been Governor Reagan’s appointment secretary at one point when he was governor of California and subsequent to that had been an appellate court judge in California and when Jerry Brown was elected governor of California Bob Kane decided that he no longer wanted to be a judge but would spend the next year out speaking out against Jerry Brown’s appointments to the bench to the courts in California. So Bob very supportive of President Reagan was one of those 11 that was nominated in 1983 to serve on the Legal Services Corporation board. His hearing was quite vitriolic, he certainly had very, very conservative Republican credentials and Senator Metzenbaum from Ohio took a disliking to him during the hearing and they had a very vitriolic process during the hearing on the 11 of them. Prior to the Senate taking a vote on Bob Kane and the other ten the administration nominated Bob to be ambassador to Ireland and that was not quite as vitriolic a process and he was nominated very quickly and confirmed and went off to Ireland leaving the board with ten nominees for 11 spots. And the result of this is the humorous part and kind of brings some of this together in my Tom Mooney days. I had a standing joke or humorous relationship with my administrative assistant, whenever I went out of town I suggest to her that if the White House called that she should take a message. And between Christmas and New Years in 1983 we were driving the family was driving to Portland, Oregon from San Francisco and I stopped at a roadside phone and called back and she advised me that one of my buddies had called and said it was the White House and I asked for the number and she said well it’s 202, and I said well that’s Washington, and she said it’s 456 and I said I think that’s the White House, she gave me the particular extension. So I dialed the number and a young man answered the phone and he said he was responsible for putting together the Legal Services Corporation board and he said this vacancy he felt needed to be filled by someone from California and he found this letter Tom Mooney had prepared for the Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee 5 which was dated several years earlier, he found it in some file in the executive office building and he wondered if I was still interested. I said well I certainly would be if it wasn’t a recess appointment, I didn’t think I wanted to do that. And he said well I’ll check with at that point the White House was being run by three people, Ed Meese and Deaver and Jim Baker and he said he would have to check with them and if they agreed he would call me back and then they would nominate me. So a day or two later the phone rang and it was this young man again saying he had talked to the three of them and they had all agreed and they were going to nominate me for the Legal Services Corporation board. So I was very pleased by that

Linda Perle: And surprised?

Thomas Smegal: Well surprised but still not as I mean it seemed to make good sense because I had spent 20 years I had created this entity that was now the National Center for Youth Law so I had been involved in these federally funded programs and knew a lot about delivery of legal services for the indigent by this Legal Services Corporation. So I felt good about that. I thought gee I’ll be on a board where I can continue with what I had been doing and they are nominating me because of my experiences. Two things led me to believe that maybe that was not what was going on. I got a call from the counsel to the President several days after I had submitted the particular documents they needed and one of the questions he asked me was what was the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco which of course had been the entity which had formed the first youth law center and then the national center for youth law so I wasn’t sure they actually knew what my background was. And when I got to the first board meeting I discovered that with the exception of an individual by the name of Paul Eaglin, who had been a legal services lawyer in North Carolina, none of the others had had any significant experience with delivering legal services to indigent so I quickly realized that I was in a group of political appointees who for one reason or another were there and the administration was hopeful they could get them through the nomination confirmation process before the Senate. So it started off as a fairly unique experience when I went to the first board meeting and discovered this group that clearly wasn’t there because of a love for indigent civil representation.

Linda Perle: I gather from that statement and from our prior conversations that your first stint on the board was not exactly always fun.

Thomas Smegal: It was a unique group of people. In reflecting back it was clear that six of them of the 11 shared the President’s view that there should not be a Legal Services Corporation funded by the United States treasury, that government funds should taxpayer dollars should not be used to represent poor people under any circumstances. And they pretty much maintained that view through the six plus years that we served as a board. The first meeting I went to it became clear to me that this was going to be a difficult experience in my life. The first thing we were to do as a board was to select a chair and I sat there, had never met any of the other ten and saw a process which started off with one of the board members nominating an individual by the name of Clark Durant and another board member moving to close the nomination. I’m going gee wait a minute, I’ve spent a lot of years in legal services I think I have something to contribute here, maybe I can at least be a candidate for the chairmanship here at this point. So I suggested that maybe the nomination shouldn’t be closed quite as quickly and suggested I was interested in being the chair. And they said okay, all right now the nominations are closed. And Clark Durant proceeded to make an acceptance speech and then the vote was taken and it was 10 to 1 for Clark Durant. It turned out that Clark Durant had called everybody else on the board before our first meeting and indicated to them that no one was interested in being chair and that he was and as a consequence he had 10 votes when he walked in the room and so the first vote of that board was 10 to 1 and I was the 1. And that went on for a while until Paul Eaglin and very quickly I will say it might have been after that first vote that the votes became 9 to 2, Paul Eaglin and I would vote and that would be end of whatever it was we were discussing. The good news I discovered very quickly was that Senator Rudman had a staff person who was responsible for this part of Senator Rudman’s activities on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee an individual by the name of Paul Pogar [unsure of spelling] would come to our public meetings, all of our public meetings and very conscientiously paid attention and would go back and tell the Senator what happened there. And what started to happen as a consequence of that was that Pogar would go back and explain to Senator Rudman what had been the discussion, what was the issue and what I had lost on that time and Senator Rudman would then introduce legislation in the United States Senate to reverse whatever the board vote had been. And this went on for essentially the whole time that the Reagan board sat. The United States Senate through Warren Rudman micro managed the Legal Services Corporation. The board could do nothing that did not get approval from Senator Rudman through the process of the Senate. The result of which is our appropriations bill each 7 year would have more and more restrictions on it, more limitations. In fact one of the more significant limitations that was there the whole time was that we could not distribute funding based on any criteria other than the distribution that had been going on during the Carter administration during that board’s administration. We were in lock step, whatever the funding was we had to divide it up in a way that corresponded to what the Carter board’s division had been and they based it on the indigent population in a census that was probably 1980, I don’t think we yet had no we didn’t of course we didn’t have the 1990 census back in ‘84 so everything was locked in and for all the years of the Reagan administration while we were there our funding was frozen. Whatever money we were able to get from Congress and it varied, it went up and down, it would get distributed to the programs the way it had been distributed during the Carter years. There were also restrictions on who we could fund, what we could do about some of the programs. There was an effort for many years right from the beginning to defund the backup centers, the feeling among the majority of the board the majority of six at least was that somehow or other they were not just representing poor people, the backup centers were providing a resource that for a lack of a better word was trying to redistribute the wealth in the United States and therefore their interests were not . . . interests were in social reform more than the individuals and so that was a constant tension on the board of trying to quote do something about the backup centers that were sort of I always thought of them as a in a law firm structure you have associates were the young lawyers who do a lot of the leg work and you have senior partners who sort of counsel them and give them guidance and I always saw the backup centers with their very experienced lawyers as the senior partners of this huge law firm we call the Legal Services Corporation network of programs. So that was a battle through those years of trying to keep the backup centers funded.

Linda Perle: You described yourself when we spoke earlier as you felt often times like Luke Skywalker fighting off the forces of evil.

Thomas Smegal: I went to the first meeting and they were strangest bunch in some respects and then I came back after a six-hour plane ride back from Washington very frustrated by the experience of the 10 to 1 vote and the other things that had gone one and I suggested to my wife that I felt like Luke Skywalker of Star Wars with this strange crew with all the heads and the arms and the kinds of things they were strange people.

Linda Perle: After having had that experience why three years later did you agree to go back on the board?

Thomas Smegal: Well it turned out my experience at the beginning was not good but when I discovered that Warren Rudman was paying a lot of attention and that this board was not going to run roughshod over delivery of legal services to the indigent, my comfort level went way up and in fact during the course of that in 1986 I was on the board of governors of the state bar of California in a class that spent three years serving and then one of the members spent a fourth year as president of the state bar of California and at the point where I would have done that in my view the role I was filling on the Legal Services Corporation board of trying the little Dutch boy with my finger in the dyke trying to keep the program alive was much important than being president of the state bar of California so I did not seek that opportunity. But it got to the point where I thought I was doing some good and I certainly had the feeling that were I not there and able to be a conduit to Senator Rudman of what was going on that the program might have been abolished. So at the end of the day, at the end of the Reagan years when we did get recess replaced during the early part of the Bush administration I felt a sense of desire to go back if George Sr. had offered his administration had offered me the opportunity I think I would have stayed. But several years went by and the Clinton people were looking to fill the 11-person board and its structure, Legal Services Corporation Act provides for only six of one political party so the Clinton administration could only have six Democrats and needed five other people to serve and having been supportive of the programs through my years they recognized that I might be a positive force on the board and asked me to serve again and I was delighted to accept.

Linda Perle: Can you compare your experiences on this stint on the board with your experienced last tine?

Thomas Smegal: Well it was an entirely different board. The Clinton board without exception was very supportive of legal services through this program which is what the board members should be and it almost seemed inconsistent with your mandate as a board member for what a number of the Reagan board members were doing. They clearly did not have the interests of the Corporation at heart in attempting to abolish what was going on. That isn’t what a member of a board is supposed to do. So that was a significant contrast between the Reagan board, the 9 majority of whom wanted to abolish the program and the Clinton board where all 11 were clearly very supportive and interested in trying to maximize the use of the federal dollars and keep the program going on the highest possible level. So it was a unique experience and I think the only votes we ever took were to adjourn. The votes were always unanimous.

Linda Perle:But you were also operating in a different political climate where previously you had a relatively hostile board but a supportive Congress.

Thomas Smegal: That did change. Warren Rudman at some point decided he had been in Congress and the Senate long enough and he did leave. While the Senate has always been even after he left somewhat supportive, the House of Representatives shortly, well Clinton was elected and things were very good, our funding went up from the low 300’s to over 400 I think we actually got to $410 million in the first Clinton budget but after that Newt Gingrich and others were elected to the Congress and one of their contract with America bullet points was to abolish the Legal Services Corporation again so we had come full circle and we were back with the Reagan mentality of not wanting this program to exist and the reason I didn’t mention this earlier but the background on this and why Ronald Reagan was so adverse to the Legal Services Corporation was because during his years as governor of California there were a number of programs being funded and California was with Legal Services Corporation grant money one of whom was California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation and they filed a lot of suits against the state of California for conditions in the agricultural field in particular and ironically all of their law suits were successful so the state of California while Governor Reagan was governor had a terrible record in the courts in defending themselves against suits filed by the Legal Services Corporation funded lawyers. And one of the things that he apparently said at that point was if he ever, they tried to give the money back, they tried to get the program to take the money and go into California and not distribute it there, he couldn’t succeed that way but he took the position that if he was ever President he was going to do away with this program, which is where that came from. And having survived the Reagan years we were then faced in the second year or third year of the Clinton term with Newt Gingrich and a Congress which had been elected on the basic premise of reducing the size of government and doing away with social programs such as the Legal Services Corporation. I never saw it quite that way. There are social programs and I agree there are things that are defined that way but the access to justice that the Legal Services 10 Corporation provides to its grantees to the indigent in civil matters in my view has never been a civil program it should be a bipartisan program and start off as I’m sure others have mentioned with the signature of Richard Nixon on which I recall being his last act before he resigned his presidency, I may have my facts wrong but it’s a better story that way. In any event it was a bipartisan bill and very much supported by the Republicans at that point and the program should be one that should be embraced by those of all political views. But the Gingrich group came in with the intention of trying to do away with it and in fact they got the ball started. The first year of that Congress reduced funding which had I think gotten to a little over $300 million I think it may have been, I’m sorry it was at $410 million that’s what it was and the plan was to in three successive years reduce by a third to zero and in fact the first year they were able to do that and the funding in the first year Newt Gingrich was in charge the funding went down to $280 and in the subsequent year there was a bill on the floor of the House which would have reduced it to $140. The good news for us on the board and for the public in general was there were some moderate Republicans who along with most of the Democrats felt that that was not the way the program should be going and there was an amendment on the floor of the House that resulted in the funding going back to $250 million from $140 so in the second year the cut did not get to $140. The Senate which continued to be supportive certainly not as outspoken in a conference committee report got it up a little further, I think we got back to $280 that year. In subsequent years even though this hostile process was still going on in the House I think we got $300. So the dynamics have changed. We were back we were no longer or I was no longer at this point struggling with the President adverse and a Senate keeping the ship afloat but we now had a President supportive, President Clinton, but a House adverse at least on the surface. And a Senate sort of lukewarm in staying in support. So it was a different process and as the years went by the limitations on grass roots lobbying were substantially reduced and people couldn’t go up and lobby as effectively. We continued as a board to appear at hearings when asked but we weren’t in a position to be outspoken in terms of trying to get additional money. We were sort of locked in on doing our leg work for us. So it was a different kind of program. The funding aspect was the difficult thing during the Clinton years after the first one. But the board continued to be very congenial and very supportive and we had some good staff people and we were fortunate that it’s been the last now almost nine years I guess it is, nine years as of this week, it’s been a very satisfying rewarding process as with the Reagan years at the end.

Linda Perle: I should have mentioned earlier that Tom Smegal is the longest serving LSC board member. He’s spent more time as a member of the LSC board than any other person.

Thomas Smegal: I think that’s right. I think just , certainly in quantity. There have been some quality people that have served.

Linda Perle: I though it was Bill McCalpin that informed me that no it was you.

Thomas Smegal: Bill had the four years of the Carter administration plus a little hold-over until the recess appointment came along during Reagan’s term so eh had a little over four years. I ad six plus and Bill and I of course had served the same amount during the Clinton years.

Linda Perle: When we spoke earlier you also told me that your service on the LSC board was the most important thing other than raising your own family that you had ever done. That’s a pretty big statement for someone who has had a highly successful legal career and has served and chaired innumerable boards and commissions. Can you explain what you meant and why you feel that way.

Thomas Smegal: I think it had to do with my understanding of what was going on politically and had I not been there as a voice for the minority and for those who supported the Legal Services I don’t know that the Senator Rudman would have had an opportunity the way he did to correct the things the board was doing and ride herd on them. I felt at least initially as a lone voice and as I indicated earlier I thought it was my service as one of 11 was more important than heading up the largest bar association in the United States. I thought it was an easy decision to make staying on the board. I couldn’t have done both. I couldn’t have been president of the state bar of California and served in the Reagan years on the Legal Services Corporation board, so it was a choice I made and it was one that I made easily. And really I’m glad I was there, I continued to hear from people who speak the view, possibly incorrect, but had I not been there the program would have been abolished, that Reagan’s people would have had the ability to through the board manipulation to do away with funding back in the 80s.

Linda Perle: Your latest project for LSC has been to purchase a permanent home for the Legal Services Corporation. Can you fill us in on some of the history and the details of that effort.

Thomas Smegal: Yes, well one of the thing that always seemed to be the Legal Services Corporation always seemed to be the ugly step child which one needed to get funding every year and every year it was hat in hand going up to Congress. And in addition to that sort of a bounce around town. We during my years on the board the Corporation has been in at least three and may be four different facilities. And the thought came to us a few years ago when John McKay first came on as staff president that gee wouldn’t it be great if we had a permanent facility, a building we could point to and say that’s the Legal Services Corporation building. And so we tried to do that and we discovered early on though that the Legal Services Corporation just couldn’t go out and buy a building because the way the process works with OMB the building would be scored, the scored mandate would be charged off the Legal Services Corporation, the full value of the building would be deducted from the budget for a particular year so the only way that we could accomplish this would be to set up a hopefully a 501-C-3 corporation which can own a building and then lease it to the Legal Services Corporation on essentially a permanent basis. So we decided to do that. We created a 501-C-3 several years ago called the Friends of Legal Services and we thought we could get some money from the corporations, we had a good friend Jack Martins who had been general counsel of Ford Motor Company and had a lot of friends in the corporate field and Jack agreed to try to raise some money, some seed money that could get us into a position to buy a building. And he tried that for about a year and he called me back and he said he could find no money at all. Nobody wanted to give money for bricks and mortar as the building would be described. So that was sort of a dead end but John McKay who was from Seattle, Washington and I both knew Bill Gates, Sr. And John went to Bill Gates and explained this circumstance to him and Bill Gates, SR. Run s a foundation for his son and daughter-in-law called Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and after some starts and stops they agreed to provide some money. And in fact a substantial amount of money, they agreed that they would give us a grant for $4 million if we could find an appropriate building to buy to house the Legal Services Corporation. And after several adventures in trying to purchase real estate or even empty lots occupied by formerly by service stations we actually got an opportunity to buy a building last March, an existing building at the end of K Street and Georgetown, 3333 K Street, had been built in 1988. It had four stories, 64,000 square feet, a rectangular brick building and had been sold or appeared to have been sold the year before and had come back on the market because somehow the deal hadn’t come through. And we made an offer and it was among four that were at about 13 the same level and we were able to counteroffer ever so slightly and the owners of the building were so interested in having the building sold to a non-profit that they didn’t take any other bids and we were able to get this building last May. I think it closed and went through escrow, closed in July of 2002 and we are presently renovating two of the floors and the Legal Services Corporation will move to it in May of 2003 and occupy flours two and three. We have other tenants on four and one and our expectation is through the years, there were existing tenants that we will attempt to fill the building with other non-profit kind of activities, but that the Legal Services Corporation will hopefully be there permanently. We currently have a ten year lease from us or from the foundation that will be leveled for ten years. We are in the process of hopefully of obtaining D.C. bonds issue of bonds that will allow us to finance the building over a period of time and the way our numbers work out with level rent from the Legal Services Corporation for the next ten years we can service the bonds and at a time a little bit after that hopefully we’ll own the building free and clear. And it will remain the Legal Services Corporation headquarters for the next quarter of a century.

Linda Perle: Obviously your professional life has gone down two parallel but very different tracks. One track, you’ve been a highly successful IP attorney and on the other track, an active and involved volunteer with the legal services community. Can you tell us what let you to do both of those things simultaneously, was there anything sort of in your background your early life that sort of said I want to do these two things. You should know that Bill McCalpin said it was his mother.

Thomas Smegal: Well I don’t know that my mother had anything, she never stopped working as long as she lived, she just worked all the time. She had two moods in her life she was either working or sleeping and nothing in between. I just I was so proud to be a lawyer and so proud of the opportunities it offered me that when circumstances arose to help other people it just seemed like the thing to do. I was much more motivated by that than making a lot of money. I have never been particularly motivated by having a lot of financial resources. My wife wasn’t so sure she liked that but we get along and it’s been fun, it’s been rewarding, the different things I did in the organized bar, I spent a number of years in the 70s in the San Francisco bar and was president of that bar in ‘76 and the people that I associated with in those days were very inspirational. A guy by the name of Jim Brosnahan was a couple of years ahead of me on the ladder and other people 14 who became famous for other reasons, E. Robert Wallach was president of the bar and there were people, Bob Raven who became president of the American Bar Association, it just seemed to me that those people who were tremendous lawyers and yet were taking the kind of time that it took in bar activities and pro bono and representing poor people that if they could do it I could do it. And just seemed good. I felt good doing it. I enjoyed it, I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s always been fun. I still do pro bono work. I don’t get as much of an opportunity but a call will come from somebody and I will take on some matter. In fact I’ve gotten the firm recently we now have a pro bono committee and the young lawyers in our firm are able to take on matters that are not just intellectual property. One of the young women lawyers had a contested dissolution here in the last couple of months so they are getting some good experiences and I relish those opportunities when I have them also. I’m not motivated to put a lot of money in a sock or a mattress, I’m motivated to help people. Trying to decide if I ever stop practicing intellectual property law what I’ll do maybe I’ll go find some program to go work for indigents full-time. There are some examples of that in California and San Francisco, there are some lawyers who have done that and maybe that’s the thing to do. So it’s been fun.

Linda Perle: That’s great. That’s all the questions I have. Is there anything else that you want to add or sort of anything that we haven’t covered you think people would be interested in hearing about.

Thomas Smegal: Well I think the future of the Legal Services Corporation is very bright. I think that the process that has been going on over the last eight years during the Clinton years and the first few years of George W. Bush’s term and the reception we’re getting from Congress has changed so much that I think it’s a real positive relationship and I don’t think the Corporation will go again through the difficulties with keeping an identity or maintaining an existence that there is always going to be budgetary issues, there is always going to be an effort to cut a program or expand a program so those aren’t going to go away but I think Congress as a general overview is much more supportive of the concept of equal justice for poor people in civil matters than they were during the Reagan days or during the middle of the Clinton years. So I’m optimistic about that and I think with the permanence that will come to the program from having a building with its name on it hopefully as you come across the Key Bridge you will see the building which says Legal Services Corporation I think that will cause the program to be held in a different esteem by 15 Congress and by our political process so I’m really optimistic. I think since 1983 almost 20 years ago when I first got involved with the board I think there has been a tremendous change, that there has actually been a flip flop or we’re working the other side of the street from where we were then and I’m just honored and pleased by having been part of it for almost two decades. Thank you.

Linda Perle: Thank you