Jonathan Baum, '82: "Not That Kind of Lawyer"

Q: Where did you grow up?
JB: I was born in Hyde Park. When I was nine years old we moved to Evanston, which is actually where I live now. I grew up in a civil rights family. My parents were very active; my father was a sociologist and my mother was a school teacher. One of the first things we did after we moved to Evanston in 1967, I remember, was marching around the Evanston civic center demonstrating for an open housing ordinance.

Q: How did you become a lawyer?
JB: After college, I went to work on Capitol Hill for Congressman Abner Mikva, who is a progressive legend and was my mentor. My uncle was a law professor at the time, and I met with him as I was thinking about going to law school. He knew how active I’d been in political causes, and he said, “Lawyers make very poor revolutionaries, because they never believe in anything with total conviction.” And so I’ve tried to be not that kind of lawyer.

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