New Law Faculty
Bringing Business Sense to the Law
uring high school, David A. Friedman dreamed of becoming a radio disc jockey. He hung around the local radio station in Bridgeport, Conn., hoping to learn the business by watching the older men who ran the station. He liked the way radio worked and the glamour of the job. The old guys at the station, however, warned him against a career in radio by citing stories of graveyard shifts and financially unstable stations. “I put thoughts of working in radio aside when I went to college,” he said. “But during law school, I got the bug again.”
Years after giving up hopes of becoming a famous DJ, Friedman approached the manager of the campus radio station about starting a community talk show focused on legal issues — and was given a weekly time slot. “We couldn’t give out legal advice over the radio, so we brought in local attorneys and state and local officials to provide advice to callers,” he said. “Our most popular show featured a traffic attorney. Man, the board just lit up that night.” Surprisingly, Friedman’s second choice of careers was not law, but economics. “In college, I initially thought I wanted to become an economics professor, an academic,” explained Friedman, who earned his undergraduate degree at Yale College. “I fell in love with economics my first week. I really appreciated the analytical puzzle work of microeconomics. The puzzle pieces all fit together and explain the way the world works.” Following graduation, Friedman went to work for Monitor Group, a consulting company based in Cambridge, Mass.
24 | Willamette Lawyer
He spent the next two years working as a corporate strategy consultant for Fortune 1000 clients. “I taught business executives how to market their businesses and become more profitable,” he said. Friedman enjoyed the demands of consulting, but he longed for greater responsibilities within the company. Seeking an “educational turbo boost” for his career, he took a leave of absence from Monitor to attend Yale Law School. “I knew I would be closer to the action a lot faster if I went to law school,” he explained. “I wanted a new lens to view the world through,” he said of his decision to study law. “Law would enable me to examine the same set of problems I’d studied in economics, but in a different way. Economics examines how we make decisions about transactions; the law designates the rules governing those transactions.” While in law school, Friedman did not stray far from his academic roots. In addition to serving as a teaching assistant to Professor James Tobin, who won the 1981