James T. Haight is a California Life Patron Fellow and was a corporate law department attorney.
You’ve been a Fellow for over 40 years. What does being a Fellow mean to you?
I like the opportunity to support practical research by the ABF into how the law actually operates. From the beginning, the Foundation has worked with law schools to better understand the place of law and social justice in American society. I’ve met some great fellow Fellows. I’m honored to be a Life Patron Fellow.
Where were you born and raised?
Racine, Wisconsin, on Lake Michigan. I’m a combat veteran of World War II who benefited from the GI Bill of Rights. I received my undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin. I also earned credit from the Universities of Nebraska, Biarritz, Bordeaux, and Paris, France.
What type of law did you practice, and how did you become interested in that particular area?
In 1951, I started in antitrust law with Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C. However, I have been a corporate law department attorney most of my career. Initially, I specialized in international business law, helped by proficiency in languages. I co-founded The International Lawyer in 1965, and served as Chair of the ABA Section of International Law in 1974-75. Finally, I headed the law department of a large retail chain headquartered in Los Angeles, cutting my travel considerably.
If you had decided not to pursue a career in law, what would you have done?
What do you like to do in your free time?
Aquatics exercise, playing bridge, follow a golf collecting hobby, enjoy family events.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I joined the ABA in the 1950s. Thinking it was somewhat stodgy for the time, I hoped to see some change. I think the Association has become more objective, diverse, and effective over the decades. On a more personal note, I’m proud that my wonderful wife and I have been married 63 years, with five marvelous daughters and five fine grandchildren.