My daughter Risa was recently returning from a trip to New York when she noticed that the man in the seat next to her on the plane was grading what appeared to be law school papers.
The two started talking and she discovered that he was a professor of law at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California. She told him that her father had gone to Pepperdine and, when she told him my name, he said he remembered me.
His name is Jim McGoldrick and, as I recall, was a first year professor when I was a first year night school law student in 1971. He was the professor for several of my classes, including torts and constitutional law, as well as a couple of electives. In fact, he taught almost 20% of my entire law school curriculum, and was one of my favorite professors.
I have never been active in the Pepperdine alumni organization and haven’t seen Jim McGoldrick since I graduated in 1975 (which was two years before my daughter was even born). The fact that he remembered me out of the hundreds of students he has taught in almost 40 years at Pepperdine is probably more a function of the aggravation I created for the administration through my student bar association activities than anything I ever did in his classroom. But, his influence on my legal education was profound and, to this day, very much appreciated.
The coincidence of the two of them sitting next to each other on this particular flight from New York to San Francisco was all the more amazing because he was trying to get home to Malibu and was flying to SFO only because his flight to the Los Angeles Airport had been cancelled …
… proving that it truly is a small, small world. (with Apologies to Walt Disney)