Nov. 28, 2020

Bill Sokol J.D. WRR

Bill Sokol J.D. WRR

Bill Sokol is a practicing labor lawyer with the largest union-side law firm in the nation. He is a senior partner in the firm, which represents over four hundred labor organizations and Taft-Hartley benefit Funds. He litigates in State Courts,...

Bill Sokol is a practicing labor lawyer with the largest union-side law firm in the nation. He is a senior partner in the firm, which represents over four hundred labor organizations and Taft-Hartley benefit Funds. He litigates in State Courts, Federal Courts, and practices extensively in arbitrations, as well as participating in collective bargaining from time to time.

Chapter Markers:

00:00:50 - Summer Job with Mineworkers Pension
00:04:41 - The Story of Kaiser (
00:14:15 - The Bill Sokol Story
00:24:43 - Yale on a bet
00:31:15 - To CA for a girl 1969
00:34:44 - Story about a guy named Ybarrolaza
00:46:02 - Back in the Day
00:51:07 - The Union's role in all of this

Unionist is hosted by Phil Ybarrolaza in Oakland, CA.
This episode was recorded in Alameda California. Unionist is a proud member of the Podifornia ( podcast network.


Bill Sokol

 hello, this is Phil Ybarrolaza. This is the unionist podcast, and this is my conversation with bill Sokol, which was amazing. So hope you enjoy it.


so bill, bill Sokol. What am I calling it? 

Bill: partner, asshole, 

Phil: asshole. 

Bill: It's, you know, 

Phil: Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld. 

Bill: I think it just here's the truth. We are now officially not a partnership or a corporation, but I hate being called shareholder.

So I prefer just senior partner, senior partner, Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld. Yeah. The firm formerly known as  VanBorg. 

Phil: And what do you do? Do you specialize? I know you do a lot of the, or I know you do trust work.

Bill:  I started out doing union work, right? So it's doing arbitrations litigation negotiation, and eventually what happened because back in second year, summer after law school, I had a summer job with the mine workers pension fund back in Washington. Okay. Because Arnold Miller had taken it over from a guy named Tony Boyle who had killed his opposition, jockey a Blonsky. Okay. So Miller came in as the cleanup guy and it turned out what year was this?


Phil: 75, 

Bill: 75, 45 years ago. Fuck me so fun times. Ooh, it was, it was really it's interesting because what had happened was Miller came in as the cleanup guy, you know, kind of, and, and like the, the, the supposed cleanup guy at the Teamsters, it was a terrible failure. I mean, he just couldn't couldn't take care of business.

He got paranoid. All the doors came, but the one good thing they did is they said, look, when Tony Boyle was running the union, they gave out pensions, not based on whether you qualify, you know, 20 years vesting, but whether you were his supporter, So they knew that they had literally 

Phil:  so it's like a Trump thing, 

Bill: totally loyal to me.

You get a pension you're not loyal. 

Phil: You can be a secretary of defense. Exactly. 

Bill: So thousands of miners who had applied on everything, right. Didn't get their pension. So they brought in a bunch of law students for a summer. To the pension fund office. And we read all these old files and they're these old Manila folders with, you know, they've been filled out in pencil by miners who had worked down in the mines, or they wives wrote them who knew.

And you had to read through their story to, is this person really qualified to get a pension and just a night on politics? So. 

Phil: Amazing. And this was in Washington state. 

Bill: This is Washington DC. 

Phil: Oh, Washington DC 

Bill: DC headquarters. So united mine workers where John L. Lewis used to reign Supreme. 

Phil: So back in HQ, 

Bill: Oh yeah.

You'd walk down the hallways and you'd feel like you were in this sacred mausoleum almost by that time. Right. But you'd go through and you'd read these apps and you say, Oh my God, this guy should have gotten a pension. And so it was a really glorious feeling as a young kid. Oh, man, I'm helping these old miners getting some punch and getting really 

Phil: getting somebody a pensions, everything 

Bill: it's huge.

Yeah. Especially, you know, you've been a miner and, you know, Pennsylvania, you know, beaten down in the Cod down there in the mines for 10, 20 years, 30 years, God, this is lifesaving. So anyway, because I had done that. I don't know if you know a risks of the employee retirement income security act of 1974.

So it was a brand new law. And one of the things, the head of the general counsel said to me, in addition to doing patient files, he says to me, look, there's this new law. I don't know quite what it's about. We've got to learn it, read the law and write a paper about how to enforce it, because I got to give a presentation 

Phil: ERISA, which now is yeah.Marker

Bill: Is now thousands of pages at that time. It was a little law, you know, you could read, it was maybe a hundred pages. So I read ERISA. At wrote a paper about it. So one of the reasons Vic Van Borg hired me at the firm, you know, after I got out of law school, I clerked for a judge. I didn't have any money. I was flat broke.

You said, you know, ERISA. I said, well, you know, you say you're hired kid. Nobody knows, nobody knows ERISA, but what that means is 20 years later thereafter I'd put in all my, you know, hard time on the ground fighting in arbitration negotiations. They said time to start doing the benefit funds. So I now do and have done.

Mostly health plans. Right, right. The huge battle to get adequate health care for you people. Well, just everybody. Yeah. I mean, I mean, 

Phil: you, you know, I've, I always say that, you know, they build the hospitals and the infrastructure that everybody else can have. 

Bill: Absolutely. And not only that we built the best health plans.

Right way before there were really group health plans before companies had figured all this out before employers offer that we were the ones who forged those first health plans, you know, way back well, workers played a huge role 

Phil: in going back. Wasn't Kaiser formed as a farm 

Bill: worker. No, here's the story with 

Phil: Kaiser.

Bill: Really fascinating story. it should, it shouldn't be called Kaiser. It should be called boilermakers. Okay, Chris here, here's the story of what happens way back in the day during the depression, we've got the federal government pumping millions of dollars out to work projects. WPA work projects administered.

So what happened was. Henry Kaiser got together. Well, let me tell you that Henry Kaiser. So here we go. Henry Henry Kaiser is the son of a contractor back in Kentucky, who did basically paving and they got the first contract, a government contract to pave the first paved road in Cuba, like back in 1927.

And Henry the son figured out, Oh, The way you make money as a contractor is by connecting with the federal government because we've got this huge contract. So he's the one who goes back and forth to Washington getting government contracts, depression hits, FDR wants to pump millions of dollars into right.

The jobs building 

Phil: interstate highways and all that. 

Bill: Yeah. What, what they're building the big dams, right? They do the national parks with the civilian conservation Corps. They're doing water projects. They're doing electrical projects. All over the West, every post office, you know, that, that you'd walk into those open with a big, beautiful murals in them.

Those were all built by companies for the us government during the depression and Henry Kaiser led a consortium of five companies, including you may recognize the name Bechtel, and they went around and they built these gigantic dams. Hoover dam down by Las Vegas, grand Coulee up in Washington. So here's what happens, Henry.

Kaiser's this young hot guy he's got this big company going big projects. And he realizes up at the grand Coulee or a half hour from the smallest town. So if a guy smashes his finger, I got to release him. Plus somebody to drive him. I lose two guys half a day, so they can drive in, get the thing bandaged up and come back to work.

So he says, I got to put up some kind of little clinic. Right here at the job site because I have thousands of people plus their families. 

Phil: Yeah. These dam projects were huge. 

Bill: Exactly. You really, you had a whole town there, right? So he finds a doctor and this guy is, this is the main man. His name is dr.

Sidney Garfield. Sidney Garfield is a stone socialist. He's not a communist in the thirties, but he's a socialist and he wants to provide socialized medicine. And what he says is working people should have decent healthcare and up to then it's paid. For, you know, you go to a doctor, you pay them for each procedure.

Right? Right. So what Garfield does is he works out with a company down in a Oh, hobby desert that, that, you know, digs out, gypsum and borax. He says to the company, I'll put a little clinic there for your workers and there'll be me, a couple of nurses. And we'll, you'll give me company. Nickel or dime an hour per hour worked.

Right. You give me the money every month I'll be done. I'll just take care of it. Right, right. And so that's what he does. Kaiser hears about them. Kaiser flies down there says, Hey, I want you to come and do that for me. And at that point, the one in Mojave is going economically down the tubes because the company not doing well, he comes up.

He does that for him at the grand Coulee dam. He finds doctors who will do that with him. Very few. And the AMA that doc dead set against this. They hate him. They say you're destroying medicine and it's communism it's so, Oh, this is terrible. Now the reason I say it should be called boiler makers, because what really happens is Sidney Garfield sets these up wherever Kaiser is doing big construction, then world war II happens and Henry Kaiser and his consortium accompanies, or the people who can immediately build ships, build planes.

Create a war machine. Right, right, right. And so Kaiser sets up the shipbuilding yards in Richmond. Okay. Rosie, the Riveter museum is there today to this day. You can go see what was there. But overnight Richmond is a little town of 25,000 people. 12 months later, 125,000 people. Hundred thousand people working at the shipyards.

They're putting out one Liberty ship every day. You're kidding me, Richmond, Richmond. We're talking Richmond, California, where we're saying in 20 minutes, you can go see this huge shipyards. And Kaiser says, we got to do something, you know, for healthcare, we got a hundred thousand people here. He sits down with the boilermakers union.

Cause the boiler makers are the union that represents everybody in the ship yard. They're building the ships. Yeah. And Henry Kaiser says I do everything union. He, he, he, and he doesn't want a handshake. Yeah. I'll tell you a story about him and the Teamsters later. Okay. Okay. The, the deal that he does is basically I want the best workers.

I want them to be trained. I want to be competent and I don't have to worry about it. So he does wall, the wall close shop deals. You don't work in my shipyard unless your union one contract boilermakers. They represent everybody there. And one of the things he says to the boil Americans is putting in a couple cents an hour.

You know, I'm going to, I'm going to pay this much for wages and this much for healthcare. And we're using that healthcare money. To build the first, it wasn't really a clinic. It was the first ties or hospital really. And they just took it down. They took it on about 10, 15 years ago. Built a big new Kaiser.

Phil: It's not just taking it down 10 or 15 years. 

Bill: Yeah. 

Phil: Okay. The times has moved to 

Bill: two you horse still young, you know, to me, that's like a week ago. Okay. You're not that old. Oh, hell. I'm so old. 

Phil: You don't look old. 

Bill: Yeah, go ahead and take a 

Phil: guess. I'm going to guess. I will say. 60. 

Bill: That's a good guess. It's close.

It's not really there. Okay. Okay. We'll keep it a secret. no, I don't mind. I'm past 60 I'm past 65. Come on. I get social security. Can I get Medicare? I'm past 70. You're not past 70 I'm three months shorter 72. 

Phil: If I would have done the quick math in my head, you were got it. Yeah, yeah, 

Bill: yeah, exactly. I was a law student 45 years ago.


Phil: we'll have to talk later about what you're doing, deliver. 

Bill: Oh, listen. well the first thing you gotta do, you gotta marry right now 

Phil: and you're just halfway there. 

Bill: And let me tell you, that's just luck. That's plain blind luck. You get lucky you get there. And then you have somebody who basically says.

I love to swim. I love to bike. I love to hike and drags your butt out the door in Northern 

Phil: California, too. We get all that. Exactly. 

Bill: Exactly. So I jumped in the Bay three, four days a week in my wetsuit when I don't do that, I get on my bike. So, et cetera. Anyway, we're back at the Kaiser hospital, turned down Kaiser hospital and they create Sidney Garfield and Kaiser together.

Create. Group medicine for workers and it's, it's a totally union employer project. There's no, non-union 

Phil: how do we not know? You know, I've kind of grown up in and around the labor movement and how do I not know that Sydney, Sydney, Garfield and Henry Kaiser, 

Bill: let me, let me answer that in, in a more, but now fundamentally, no, let me tell you in a more fundamental way.

Yeah. We don't track our own history. Yeah. It, it, all of America, you know, has this giant black hole when it comes to their own history. 

Phil: Yeah. Where's the Bay area. Labor history museum. 

Bill: Exactly. Right? Yeah. I mean, 

Phil: although they're doing, I know the archives or they're doing some good work over there, but yeah.

Bill: At San Francisco state, there's great archives. They have a lot of good material, but we don't track our own history. I mean, I'll tell you a story if we get around to it about your own family. 

Phil: Right. And I can talk all day 

Bill: and I'll bet you don't know this story, but it's big. It's fascinating. And okay. Okay.

When we get to it, we'll get to it. Let me finish up Kaiser quickly. So what happened was after the war. Kaiser by the way it's called Kaiser Permanente. I think. Oh, it's permanent. That must be why it's called no. Permanente was a little Creek in Oakland. There's wife grew up next to no way. And so she liked the Permanente Creek.

So they said, okay, Kaiser Permanente. But what he did after the war, Sidney Garfield really started building new clinics, new hospitals, but group medicine, you couldn't use Kaiser unless your union signed a deal with your employer. Right. I'll give money to Kaiser, provide you with healthcare. So Kaiser was built on the back of the union movement.

Literally built 

Phil: off that hourly 

Bill: wages of working people who are in unions, their sweater, their brow, 50 cents wages, nickel, healthcare. They paid for the whole system, right. And Sidney Garfield as his reward for this, the AMA tried to drive them out of medicine. They tried to get his license taken away from him.

They tried to get it. Basically make it impossible for him to practice a physician 

Phil: or blacklisting, for lack of a better term, yet 

Bill: worse. I can take away certification so the guy can write this medicine. Right, right. And that's what the AMA went after. You know, how they stopped it. Henry Kaiser went and met with the president and said, you got to help Sydney.

And the president had to go and say, cut this crap out, AMA that's off. So, so that's Kaiser now today for a long time, when I started in the seventies. I'd go with my boss, Victor van Borg, we call Kaiser and we say, we've got a problem over at this healthcare plan. It will be right there. Vic will be right there.

Right. Boom. Because at that point we were about 80, 85% of the business today. We're 15% because they've expanded. Right. And we haven't kept up with it. Right. But that's anyway, that's the story. That's great, 

Phil: man. You've got all the stories 

Bill: in the right place. I am my history. what's called ABT. I have a J D right?

Dr. Jurisprudence ABT is I have a all, but thesis, doctorate in labor history, American labor history. I went to UC Berkeley. I was going to be an historian and I got through all the initial work. Then it was time to spend three, four years writing a thesis. And I said, Oh, I can't sit in a library for four years.

I got to go back to law school and get out there and do something so unbelievable. I'm just, you know, a welfare kid who had AFTC as a kid, but had a mother who was a schoolteacher. Amazing. That's what it's all about. If you're the kid of a school teacher, you're the luckiest kid 

Phil: with DC 

Bill: aid for dependent children.

Oh, gotcha. it, it was part of social security passed in 1935. my father was killed in an auto accident when I was a teenager. So social security paid my mother a check each month aid for helping the kids. Right. So the reason I got to go to camp, really, it 

Phil: sounds like a nicer America then than we're doing.

Bill: Oh, well, we had AFTC until bill Clinton's welfare reform and really, absolutely. And they changed. What's called TANF, T a N F. Which is temporary aid to families, to needy families. And instead of having AFTC, you have after work, you know, a state can pass a work requirement to get it. It can be no more than five years.

And so, you know, the single mom who's raising a kid on her own. She can get it. As long as she's working after five years, you don't get any more. Then what go starved. Right? So anyway, longer story, different story history. It's all history. But what we don't know about ourselves is amazing. 

Phil: That is amazing.

Bill: All right. So where were we when we went off on that? 

Phil: We did Kaiser thing. I don't know. We can talk about whatever 

Bill: it was. It was benefit plans and healthcare benefit. What was I doing? The other half of the story? is I also did pension plans, right? I mean, it's kind of, it's a, Rissa, it's the same law, right?

When you go to a union trust meetings, it's the same trustee is, you know, first you do your pension meeting, then you do your health meeting. Right. And then you do your training fund or your apprenticeship fund. Right. So I ended up doing those because. I've been doing a Ressa forever. So for the last 

Phil: year I wrote a paper on Arista.

When you were in, 

Bill: in 1975. No, it was shit. That's what it all goes back to. It's crazy now. It's crazy. But it also taught me something I figured out. Some were pretty early in life. The most important lesson that John Lennon from the Beatles said, you know, he said, life is what happens while you're making your 

Phil: payments.

Yeah. Are we at that point now where we've got to identify where John Lennon, when he was a part of my kids or I have a ten-year-old and a seven-year-old they know they're poorly educated in that department. 

Bill: Right? Exactly. Why would they know, why would they know who the big, the Beatles that here's the time kills?

Wait, I'll mess with your head in this way. Okay. Go ahead. The Beatles hit and we're big gigantic 1960s and seventies. That's when John Lennon was there. That was their heyday. Right? 1970 is 50 years ago. Okay. 30 plus 20. I should know that. Okay. No, no, 

Phil: no. I should know that I was born in 16. 

Bill: Yeah. But we also don't learn math.

Right. Right. So, so 50 years ago, the Beatles were big. Now I now transport myself back to when the Beatles were big. When I was there as a college kid, 1970, 50 years before that was 1920. You think I knew any of the musicians who played in 1912. 


Phil: a good point. Yeah. 

Bill: So, so for 

Phil: the Beatles, man. Yeah, I know it's, it's all in context, 

Bill: Al Jolson and Bix beat her back.

How could you not know them? You know? 

Phil: And everything's so accelerated now anyway. 

Bill: Exactly. See my, yeah, my kids they're now grown up. They were big on reggae. and my daughter liked, I think it was a garage band, garage. I don't know whether it was it wasn't funk garage band punk. Okay. All right. Now that stuff is totally past say that's ancient history, right?

We've been through hip hop. Rap is now old business hip hop, spin around a quarter century. Yeah, I now, listen, I started listening yesterday cause I try to figure out what you want. Right. I listened to something that's huge. There's New York times article about it's the only reason I would know about it.

A 15 year old, who wrote here's a beat. That she likes that's the whole idea of beats makes me crazy, but she hears a beat. She likes, she records some words on top of the beat. It's a one-minute clip. She puts it up on SoundCloud. Millions of people have listened to it. And it's now one of the biggest things on Spotify, 

Phil: you can run off a SoundCloud 

Bill: and, and yeah.

And all it is is, is Hunka Hunka Hunka chucka. Oh, I'm this and I'm that. And I'm here and I'm there and Hunka Hunka Hunka chunka and I feel like. Wait a minute. I, I feel like my parents is that music 

Phil: yeah. I mean, so what do you, what do you listen to? What do you like 

Bill: or everything? Music. Yeah. Well, you know, I did radio, so I played a lot of music as a DJ. So you just 

Phil: straight DJ in it? 

Bill: no, no, I, I, I mean about the radio, the radio, the radio thing was a little weird. I was, as I told you, so 

Phil: you're doing Arista and radio at the same time.

Bill: Yeah. But what really happened was I was studying to be the historian. Right. And it was time to write the thesis. 

Phil: And where's this, where's this at UC Berkeley. Okay. So you're in Berkeley, in the seventies. 

Bill: Exactly. This is actually the seventies. This is a 1969, 69 71 

Phil: boy, that's a wooly time to be running around, around there.

Bill: And I was running around and I wore movement student movement, and I draft movement mean 

Phil: that was a year. I mean, if there, you know, there was a lot happening. 

Bill: Yeah. Third world liberation front at SF state. One of my partners do Weinberg ended up representing and defending black Panthers and students. 

Phil: I mean, you had it all going.

Bill: Oh yeah. Yeah. It was crazy times because not only did I have. You know, going to school, plus the anti-war movement, running the streets and being all involved in those politics. There was also the whole hippie thing to do. So I was listen. I was a graduate student at UC Berkeley in history, living in a hippie commune in the coastal range, outside of Asheville, commuting, back and forth.

I mean, we can get really crazy. Oh, right on. It was, it was okay. So radio 

Phil: context is important, you know? Cause that was a, there was a lot happening. 

Bill: The thing was crazy at that point. Yeah. And, and, you know, I was saying John Lennon's line is light. Life is what happens while you're making your plans. So, you know, this is a perfect example of it.

I'm studying history and it's summertime. And I say, okay, I have to develop. The first thing you do is develop what is your thesis going to be? And I know by the fall. I have to do this presentation. I spent the summer studying. Here's what I want to think about. Here's what other people have written about it.

It's this whole presentation, your thesis committee to say, is this okay to make my thesis on? So I'm going to the library, maybe the first or second week of the summer. I did five days a week, somewhere early in the summer. I'm walking down Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley, and I see a door and it says on a KPFA.

And I was just going bat shit in the library. It was just too much. Right. So they have always listened to it. I want to see what a radio station looks like. So I banged on the door, somebody buzzed me and I went up and she said, what do you want? I said, well, I just came to visit and KPFA. He said, yeah, sure, go visit.

And I wandered around and some guy came up to me and he said, what are you doing here? And I said, you know, I'm just visiting. I asked him who he was. He said, Oh, I'm Joe Belden. The news director. And I have no idea why I said this. Okay. This is where life just happens. I said, Joe, would you teach me how to do radio news?

And he said, yeah, sure, kid, w w tell me, you know, what are you about I'm grad student, blah, blah, blah. He says, okay, what do you want to do? I said, well, I'm going to come in. How about one afternoon a week? and you'll teach me how to do this. By the end of the summer, I try to spend one afternoon a week in the library and I lived at KPFA.


Phil: 94.1, I think 

Bill: 4.1 in Berkeley and the 9.3 in Berkeley and 88.1 in Fresno. All of them in California. 

Phil: And it's been the same. 

Bill: Oh yeah, yeah. Oh yeah. And what happened? There was, I did radio news. I ended up leaving grad school with my master's. I D I was the became news director program, director, acting manager, kind of held every position there, for, I don't know, a year or two years just doing radio full-time and then I got freaked, you know, I got real anxious.

I'm like, whatever, 25 or so. Right. And I say, Oh my God, I can't make a living doing this. 

Phil: Yeah. That's the hard part. 

Bill: I'm a working class kid. Right. And then, so what comes first is you got to make a living work. I know. I mean, if you come from okay. Very solid well-established background, you can say, okay, you know, I'm going to follow my dream.

We didn't follow it. Follow your dream. We followed the dollar, you know, how am I going to make a living? So, 

Phil: triggered like 10% of people get to follow their dreams. 

Bill: Maybe it's off. Yeah, exactly. That's what's real. Right. so I ended up going back to law school. I had gone to law school the first time at Yale and dropped out after the first year.Marker






And then I came back to bolt now, I think the short story is, I came out of Madison. I've grown up in Cleveland, Ohio blue collar, industrial 

Phil: kit, right. Blues against 

Bill: it. And I didn't know any lawyers. There were no lawyers in my family. I'd never known a lawyer. I went to Madison university, Wisconsin in its heyday student movement.

Again, that's where I really started running the streets and get wow. And I went to, I applied for a bunch of. Grad degrees in history, actually, Harvard and Columbia and Berkeley. And, because I had done well in college cause I had a school teacher model. Right. Always jammed on me. Right? So, this is, again, life happens while you're making plans.

Right? My whole plan is I'm going to be a historian. I'm going to grad school in history. I had studied history in England on a junior year abroad. It was very exciting. I was going to write the history of the working class in America. It would be like the English historian. His name is ed Thompson. I studied with he'd wreck.

The making of the English working class had this whole plan and somebody one night in the. The house. I lived with five other guys in an old frame house, and I don't know who did it, but somebody was going to take the LSA T to go to law school. And I was an arrogant, pompous prick. No, sorry. I was, I was full of myself.

Let's put it that way. Okay. And I said, Oh hell the LSVT I could pound it and go to Yale scholar law school if I wanted. And some of them and somebody threw money on the table. Yeah, that 

Phil: happens a lot around those conversations. Yeah. 

Bill: And I said, okay, you're on. So I did all my applications in history, but I also took the LSA T applied to Yale law school.

Yeah, exactly. It was just to show them, I could do it by God, Yale, those fools. Let me in. 

Phil: Will you shut that guy up? 

Bill: So, so well, and so what, I don't even know who it was. I don't know if I ever collected the money. Right, right, right. But, and, and to get into Yale, you had to write an essay. My essay was on Bob Dylan as the icon of my generation.

Go figure, getting again, the whole school on that, but. I then went to my history, professors and Wisconsin had a magnificent department at that time. and each one I said, look, you know, I've been admitted to Columbia and Harvard Berkeley in history, but I also kind of get a law school. And I regret to this day, each of this historian said, Oh my God, you got into Yale law school.

That's where the people who run the world, that's where people who make history go, you should go. So I, okay. 

Phil: So everybody ran in that way. 

Bill: Well, and my father was dead. Right. And my mother did, she's a school elementary school teacher. So these were my, you know, my counselors, my mentors. Right. So I went off to Yale.

I hated law. I hated law school in the beginning because I had no here. Here's when I went to Lee. Well, 

Phil: we're 45 years later in your law career. 

Bill: Yeah. I've been a lawyer for 45 years and loves it all. I mean, I love practicing law, so I still do it. But at that time, Here's what you have to get about me. I still, I'm going to the first days of classes and they're talking about plaintiffs and defendants, and I have to say to myself every time somebody says that, okay, plaintiff is the one who complains.

Defendant is the one who defends. So plaintiff goes first and then the defendant. That's what I knew about the law, nothing. So that was part of it. It was a real struggle for who'd always gotten right race. But I said, okay, I can conquer this. And I really dug in. 

Phil: So you're like, you're like Michael Jordan playing baseball.

Well, you've been played, right? Yeah. It just, wasn't your focus or 

Bill: your style. I learned how to play. Right? Real well. I actually, you know, cause I had been a student clearly now I knew how to no, no, no, but I mean, I knew how to study. I, I, you know, I took my exams, I passed my exams. I did that part, but here's the part that really didn't work for me.

I was, as I was saying, I was a blue collar kid. I came out of Cleveland, Ohio. I walked into a place we're really 

Phil: well, culturally, it had to be a shock. 

Bill: I'll tell you if you stories anecdotes, tell the story. Right? The dining hall is like an old English dining hall with big Oak tables and lots of Oak cards like Hogwarts.

Exactly. That's what the dining hall is like. And I go in and way in the back, you go through this cafeteria line to get your food, but at the front. When you walk in, there's a little sign where they put in little letters every day to tell you what's on the menu. And I came there one day for lunch and it said rib.

And I saw Paul Hall. Right. And I go through the line and she says, what would you, like I said, I'd like the prime rib. And she gives me a slice of meat. And I said, no, ma'am I want the prime ribs. And she looked at me and she, I still remember those I'd said prime ribs. Right. She was an African-American woman.

She smiled at me and she said, Oh, honey, That's prime rib. That's different from ribs. That's how I found out what prime rib was. Okay. Right. I'm sitting in the dining hall another day, just alone, eating lunch. And God knows what I was reading. Some casebook guy comes up and he sits down and he says, you build SoCal.

I say, yeah, how'd, you know, you said you're from Ohio, aren't you? I said, yeah. He said, you know, we're going to be running across each other, the rest of our lives. We've got to get to know each other. I don't know what's happened. I said, Oh, okay. Just some guy. He says my name's Bob Taft, the fourth. It's the Taft family.

William William Howard Taft, the former president United States. This guy who's talking eventually became the secretary of the Navy. Okay. So I was in way over my head in terms of class and I'd come out of the student movement. It's still happening, like crazy out in Berkeley. And in Madison, you know, in Cambridge and I'm sitting in this rarefied atmosphere of these people are gone.

I mean, 

Phil: What'd you say, what'd you call it a bubble? I mean, 

Bill: it was, for those times it was really a bubble, right. I mean, and it was a bubble of, I can look back now and say, Oh, that was class privilege. What a lovely thing. but for me at that time, it was a terrible experience. so I worked hard. I just buried my head in my books, but here's the another little anecdote.

I take a final exam. I had this one professor I really loved his name was John Hart, Ely. He taught constitutional law and the little seminar, we had wonderful snicker snacks about constitutional law. He had been Earl Warren's clerk, so he was really fun and he was maybe 28 or 29 at the time. And he gave us an exam, about a Chinese laundry.

And that's a famous case about equal protection, from the 1890s. And he said, eat Ching had a laundry. Blahblahblahblah. Well, I saw each thing and I said, well, they ought to just throw the sticks and skip this exam. And then I wrote the whole answer. I went to him to tell him I'm leaving. I'm going to take a leave of absence and go pursue a history degree out of Berkeley.

Right. I just want it out, but I'll be back. And he said, you can't leave only. So what do you mean I can't leave? So you're the only one who knew what the teaching was. And I said, that's why I have to leave because I'm the only one in this whole class who knows what they're eating. So 

Phil: you threw the sticks and other coins.

Bill: Yeah. Right. Absolutely. Eating through the sticks. And then you read the sticks. Yeah. So anyway, It's all by way of saying, I was a fish completely out of water and I couldn't imagine two more years of just studying law. 

Phil: Well, the isolation too. 

Bill: Yeah. That's what I'm saying. When everything is going on, you know, the world is changing.

We're making student revolution, things are going to be transformed, 

Phil: so right. The world was changing 

Bill: and you always have to drop as a footnote. And the footnotes are always more important than the text. The footnote is, there was a girl. 

Phil: I was going to say, 

Bill: you know, So usually is yeah, and that one didn't work out, but fortunately it got me out here and when I hit Berkeley, I was in Nirvana.

I mean, there were student politics. 

Phil: What year is this? 

Bill: 1969, 

Phil: 1969. 

Bill: And I had been, I had seen California twice before, once when I was a high school student, my buddy and I drove to, actually we drove from Cleveland to Dennis, 

Phil: Wisconsin. Over to Yale and then the cow, then the cow. 

Bill: Gotcha. Right. And I'd seen it once when I was a high school kid and then I come out.

So cause 

Phil: it was all the shit going on and 

Bill: Oh God. Yeah. Yeah. 

Phil: You're like put me in that. Yeah, 

Bill: I got it. But I got to tell you, I had also seen it in 67. I've been here for Haight-Ashbury summer love. 

Phil: Oh, okay. 

Bill: And all of that. So I knew I was coming back, you know, and I thought, Oh, I'll get this degree at Yale.

I'll get the law degree. And then I'll. Get to the West coast. Well, I got here sooner than I thought. 

Phil: And then you stuck and never, never wanted to go back to Ohio. Huh? 

Bill: You imagine, I mean, as my kids say to me, they say, dad, you blew it. And I say, what do you mean? He said, you never, should've raised us here.

And I say, why? Because we can never live anywhere else because we're an hour from the ocean and surfing. And we're three hours from skiing and the mountains. And we can hike year round in the mountains and in the Valley. There's no 

Phil: place. That's pretty, it's Northern California is definitely special. 

Bill: We are still in an, a, such an 

Phil: extraordinary, then we have the agriculture too, which is a lot 

Bill: overlooked.

The corner. The corner could be PM. Yeah. Yep. It's really, my kids. my son, when he was about two or three and said he didn't want that cheese. He wanted the Bri. I was raised on Velveeta. I, and I don't say that 

Phil: as a judge 

Bill: she's was Velveeta. You bought a block of Velveeta and you cut. Yeah. Like the brick.

Yeah, exactly. 

Phil: It's so much easier to cut that they really worked hard to get it. 

Bill: Oh God. But I mean to get the oil right in there. Yeah, exactly. I mean, there was nothing real. I, that stuff is totally synthetic, but cheese toasted cheese sandwich, right. Or cheese. When you, when you put cheese on spaghetti, 

Phil: no mom was from Oklahoma, so, 

Bill: Oh, then 

Phil: there was a lot of that and Korean tuna on toast and precisely yeah.


Bill: Cream mushroom soup and creamy tomato. Those 

Phil: are the three mushroom soup in anything. Exactly. 

Bill: Those are the two most important Campbell cans in the whole. 

Phil: That was it. That was an ingredient. 

Bill: Yeah. You could make anything with cradle mushroom so you could put it on any kind of noodles. Hell. Yeah. Oh, that's crazy.

Anyway, long ago and far away, 

Phil: long ago and far away. So what are you doing now? I, you know, I wanted to come in and talk about the webinars, but 

Bill: sure. We can talk about them. The webinars are great. they're a little dry do that. Or should I tell you a story about a guy named you borrow loss? 

Phil: Tell me a story then 

Bill: one more, one more story.

Phil: By the way. It was his birthday yesterday. 

Bill: Yeah, but just mentioning, but what birthday? Hmm. I'm trying to remember what year he was muscle menos. What do you think within 10 years? It is maybe 

Phil: 85th. 

Bill: Okay. Is, yeah, I would think he's in his mid eighties. It's been a while. Yeah. I'm in my mid seventies. So he's probably in his mid eighties.

All right. I guess so God, but he's still going. 

Phil: No, no, no, no, no. No it's past. Yeah. We lost him in 2010. No idea. No that, Oh yeah. 

Bill: Oh, I'd love to tell this story to them. Cause I'd love to hear it. 

Phil: Well, you can, 

Bill: yeah. Okay. There you go. All right. 

Phil: Let's close as you're going to get. Well, 

Bill: here's the story. I mean, it's, it's one of my favorite stories.

I don't tell it very often. the Teamsters were involved in a big strike in the Valley for farm workers, and this is probably. I don't know. I think late eighties maybe. Is this the basic 

Phil: vegetable or the diamond Walnut? 

Bill: Not diamond Walnut the earlier one. 

Phil: Oh. Or the Watson mechanic? 

Bill: Exactly. Somewhere back in there.

Okay. And what happened was, it was a big nasty strike. Some sheds burned, some farm equipment, like tractors got torn up destroyed and the growers. I don't growers canners, sued both the international and the local. Oh really? And they said the local, you know, they were the people out there doing all this damage, but the reason they put in the internationally, so this international rep named Alex Barr loss had come out there.

He was supposed to coordinate the strike and the allegation was, he had stood up at a rally and say, we got a burn down the sheds. We got a tear up their machinery that he'd made all these kinds of. Speeches. Right. And so they joined the international, the firm that usually did the Teamsters could do the local, but they couldn't do the international cause of conflict.

So we came in to represent the international Alex cause they'd sued out. It's personally, as well as the union, we talked to Alex. 

Phil: I don't know the story, by the way. I know a lot of, a lot of the different angles, but 

Bill: yeah, lost history. I talked to Alex. and now it can be told, I guess it's not attorney client, because past the beyond, I said, did you do any of this stuff?

And you said, of course I didn't do any of that. You know, am I, am I an international rep, you know, out here to try to make some peace, get a contract and resolve this thing. Am I didn't come out and tell people to burn stuff? 

Phil: Yeah. He's more of a, get a contract guy than a burnt, stepped down. 

Bill: He asked the guy, the international scent 

Phil: that must have been when he send me out of the house in his car, wearing his coat and hat.

To avoid, being 

Bill: summit being served. Absolutely. If 

Phil: we had some fun with that, 

Bill: that's great. 

Phil: I was ready to run. I was, I was, I was, probably like 17 around there. 

Bill: Fabulous. see that, that was Alex, Alex, Alex. Wasn't he, he knew the game. That was funny. that's great. So, we have to defend him. And we say, okay, we want to depose anybody who was at that rally who heard Alex supposedly say this stuff, because we know he didn't, and we've already talked to a whole group of people who were there and they all say it never happened.

He didn't say that. Here's what he said. So we knew we had a good defense, but we wanted to see what. They were doing. So we set depositions of the people that supposedly heard him say this stuff, and I show up and I can't tell you what town it is, but there was some little town in the Valley where we showed up, stated a little motel and the motel gave us a room.

You know their conference room to do the depositions, which was the room 

Phil: without a bed. 

Bill: Probably. Exactly. Yeah. All these motels usually have one thing. They call a conference room. Right. You know, and it's, it's an empty room with chairs and a table. And so we have the, employer lawyer, me. I had some representative from the union, but I don't think it was Alex because we didn't want them to be able to talk to him.

So I had somebody who didn't know anything couldn't do any damage and they have this train of eight or 10 witnesses, working people, farm workers, Mexican, Spanish speaking only. And the lawyer has this guy who they say, this guy is my interpreter. And, he's with me to advise the lawyer says to advise me, he's the employer representative.

Who's going to advise me as to what's going on. And he's the one who's brought the workers in a van. This guy's a big hulky guy. And he sits next to the lawyer. And each time a witness is supposed to come in. He goes out in the hall with the one who's just done and he gets another one to bring them in.

And. I speak some Spanish. I spent a couple of years in South America as a reporter. And so I'm listening to their answers. 

Phil: I'm just going to let that go either. 

Bill: Yeah. Well, it's supposed to be about the labor boom. Right. You know, I know I have a lot of stories because I've lived a long time, but I don't talk this stuff much.

All right. 

Phil: I know I'm anyway, 

Bill: so, and 

Phil: he's getting them out of the 

Bill: hallway. Anyway, he's going back and forth. And I'm listening to the answers and I'm asking the questions and I'm drilling on these people. And by the second or third one, I realized this, guy's telling the same story, this the guy before, it's the same words.

And I say, you know, you're under oath. Yeah. You know, you can go to jail if you lie and they just get real silent. And I did. She the, the employer, Laura is objecting and Ram Ram Ram Ram, but there's no judge there. So they, she puts her objection on the record and I asked these night, I'm basically non-intimidating them, but I'm trying to get them to tell the truth.

I'm trying to get them. And. It's by probably the second or third one, probably the third one where I do this and the guy starts stumbling and gets confused and can't tell the story quite right. And then the lawyer says, hang on, we have to go out in the hall. And I say, during a deposition, you can't talk to a witness or not.

We're just taking a break and they all go out. And of course I wait a minute and I go out and sure enough, the lawyer and this big thuggy guy and the witness are talking and I go over and say, you can't talk. We're going back in the room. Now Aaron ran, ran, ran, ran. We go back in the room. I put on the record, the three of them were talking.

They just, as baldly say not true, we deny that's what, what happened in the hallway. Right? And so I realized, okay, there's more here than meets the eye. So each time he would go out with a witness, I'd wait a minute. And then I'd follow. And each time someone was didn't testifying, he would pull an envelope out of his pocket, just that this, this ball pull money out of it.

Give the guy money. And a guy would go on his way now. And when I'm asking these people for identification, they tell me their name. I'd say, let me see your, we have no identification. I don't remember anything at all. So I realize, you know, by the third or fourth one, and we're getting nothing but lies, right?

These guys, whoever this thug is. He's found these workers somewhere. Right. You know, and told them what to say broader 


Phil: people they could be from 

Bill: any. Well, they felt to me like they were really far more okay. You know, they, they knew 

Phil: about all that was the, the Valley down there too. That was, that was the industry.


Bill: mixed up people with nothing to do with the Teamsters or the Stryker they'd write, they just, I need, Hey, I'll give you a hundred bucks if you come and say this. Right. Right. So. Couple days, right? Exactly. I did maybe four of them when I realize, okay, this is just the big lie. So I made a bunch of record, you know, saying it's clear, there's lying.

And blah-blah-blah, they objected. And I laid it all out and we leave and I came back and I figured, okay, I got to depose that guy himself, the thug, and figure out who the hell he is. So I set his deposition. This one happens in San Francisco at a very fancy lawyers office. There is at least three lawyers that are there with him.

I ask his name, he tells us name and I say, and what's your home address? Second question. And they say, objection, what's the objection, where we don't want to give his home address because we're afraid that people come get him. I say, sorry. 

so I say, okay, fine. You've made an objection for the record now what's his home address?

And they say, objection, I say what grounds you are already, you know, that's, you know, after they say, objection on national security grounds, 

Phil: national security, 

Bill: and I say, national security what's that about? And they say, we can't reveal it to you. We have to object based on national security grounds. And they blow up the whole deposition.

I start asking questions and each time they say we object on national security grounds. So we walk away from it. Oh, after about an hour, I was there with another lawyer named Dwayne Beeson who was there 

Phil: for the local law. And 

Bill: we knew there was something stupid going on. I hired a private investigator to say, we've got to figure out who this guy is.

Something is going on here. That's very weird. We find out that the fancy lawyer. Who was there for this from the fancy office. It turns out this guy is a land owner who owns a ranch on the border of Nicaragua that had been used by the CIA to fly supplies into Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution.

Okay. That's the lawyer. And then 

Phil: we saw the lawyer, the lawyer, 

Bill: lawyer for. The, so 

Phil: he owned 

Bill: the field on the ranch or the ranch. It was being used. 

Phil: I was thinking that it was the Thuggee Subaru, 

Bill: but he did that still didn't make sense. I mean, what's that got to do with this thug? Who's right, right. So we have the investigator looking at the thought he comes back and it turns out that this thug had been with a cartel in Mexico and had turned witness for prosecution.

Phil: So he's like a CIA. 

Bill: Exactly. Okay. Confidential informant. Right. And they'd put them in the witness protection program. Yes. And that's why we realized we don't know his real name. We don't know where he lives and we can't. Yeah. Find out you're not going to get anything. We can get nothing. And it's 

Phil: probably, I don't know.

I'm just guessing, but it's probably illegal to try. Right. 

Bill: Well, you can try, but, but you, 

Phil: you know, you can't like you can't expose, somebody in the program. I 

Bill: mean, you're not gonna, I mean, we didn't even get that far. There's no way we could Pierce it. Right. But we were able to take that and we were able to take the, therefore the lack of nav evidence that your dad 

Phil: did, but then he can't testify to certain things either because.

He can't give himself up. So 

Bill: he, he, he can't show up at all. Right. He never should have used him in the first 

Phil: place. That's the crazy part. 

Bill: Yeah. They expose this guy to God knows what kind of danger, you know? I mean the stupidity. Yeah. So, so we blew up the whole case for the international, right. Local was still stuck in it, but.

You know, based on like evidence and, and we had, 

Phil: so that was a local nine, 12, I think. Right. 

Bill: I think it was probably, yeah, I don't remember the number 

Phil: I remember, and I was a kid I could care less, you know, I just had my driver's license. And, but I remember, you know, because dad would talk about the dad Aloxi bar LAHSA would talk about the owner there and being involved in like cocaine or something.

Bill: Exactly. Right. 

Phil: So that's how it kind of all, 

Bill: we don't know. I mean, what really happened once we got that far, we could take with the lack of any other evidence. There's no other venue that he had done anything improper. So we, we did a motion for summary judgment to get them just, we got the international outfit, but to this day, I don't know who the guy was.

No, for real. I don't know why they used him. and it made, it made me wonder, it made me. Even more, suspicious than I have been in the past. I was already plenty suspicious, but based on my upbringing, about the folks who opposed organized labor, well, 

Phil: they don't want organized labor and groups of workers involved.

You know, 

Bill: you have a really nasty confrontation, you know, back in the day it was, you know, Jimmy Hoffa broke legs and when the time came, he needed help. He went to the mop. Right, right, right. Well, here we have growers, 

Phil: which also happened to reverse by the way. Quite a bit, of course. 

Bill: I mean, why does he need 

Phil: that?

That's how, yeah. 

Bill: Yeah. We need mobsters because he was dealing with mobsters that would kill him and everybody around. Yeah, absolutely. 

Phil: It was a reaction, 

Bill: you know, you know, one movie got there at the Jack Nicholson movie Hoffa. They really got the, the essence in a way that this new one, you know, 

Phil: Oh, the Irishman 

Bill: Irishman 

Phil: can't believe I haven't seen the Irishman.

Bill: Yeah. I can believe it. I wish I hadn't seen it. I mean, what it's got to do with history, you know? Right. It has as much real history of star Wars. 

Phil: You might have to do it Irishman rebuttal at some point. 

Bill: Yeah. Yeah. It's just watch, you know, Jack Nicholson is off again because what you see as a really dynamic, tough working class leader.

Who the employers are out to destroy in there. They're going to take him down. And he goes to the only guys who can stop the employers from destroying the union. But, well, I was going to say it is by the 1980s, nineties. Here's a very tough confrontation, a very tough union. It's determined to win. And who do the employers turn to this time?

It's not. You know, the local mob, right? By this time, who are the real criminals people involved in cartels that are dealing serious drugs across international border, 

Phil: who are also doing business 

Bill: with 

Phil: call it our national security apparatus. 

Bill: Absolutely. Exactly. It's insane 

Phil: bill. 

Bill: we live in difficult times difficult or, or as the Chinese curse goes, you know, may you live in interesting times, right?

We, we live in interesting times. I mean, you could say national security, you could say, you know, The guys who run the world. Right? Putin, Trump, 

Phil: Putin, Putin, richest man in the world, probably two times 

Bill: we think so. Yeah, we think so. And, and you know, they're absolute criminals and mobsters. I mean, 

Phil: Trent, the whole Trump.

Bill: Yeah, no, he runs it. Like I have a buddy, an immigration lawyer who writes a, a regular tweak, you know, the law and he calls a mafia, Don. He says the guy runs his operation, just like a mafia, Don. Right. Donald Trump, he says, total loyalty. Do what I say, or you're outta here. You come up against me. I'll destroy you.

Right. And I mean, why are all these Republican senators afraid to break ranks with him? 

Phil: Well, it's shocking to Mitch, Mitch McConnell. You know, obviously the only thing he cares about is keeping the Senate and, I, my wife and I were just talking about the Georgia part where. Trump could just, he could, he could kill him in Georgia if he wanted to McConnell, you know, in other words, he could, these two special, like he could sync up the two special elections and that's probably where leverages on this.

Bill: He has tremendous, well, I don't think that's his only leverage he a real leverage. He has now said in the last few days, I'm going to set up a new media company and destroy Fox. Yeah. Yeah. So we now know. Here's how it was begin to think about him. You know, I told you, I spent a few years in South America, right.

Headquartered in Argentina. So he came, I really studied the history there. So I understand during the dirty war, get us UCF. We don't need to go there, but I just, by way of saying someone like pepperoni, one pedal is this fascist dictator. And they finally drove him out. But he goes, and he becomes the dictator and exile right.

In Spain and waits for his mighty return. And sure enough, he eventually returns and screws up the country some more. And you can look at that in country, after country. And you know, where you have a dictator, that dictator is finally driven out by democratic forces by 

Phil: Napoleon. 

Bill: Yeah. And they go and they wait to come back.

So I think what you have is all the Republicans are sitting there saying. There are of the 70 million people who voted for him. I just read this at 10, 10% of them think that Biden really won the election. 90% think it was a frog that was stolen. So let's say that's what I read. So let's say it's not that let's say 50 million people who voted in America.

Right? Trump is going to be on broadcasting and tweeting every day of the week to that 50 million. 

Phil: Yeah. It's hard to keep up with them. I will say this he's pretty high energy. 

Bill: Oh yeah. And these things good drugs. And they gave him special ones. Adderall, let's say I'm coming back, you know, 20, 24. And so all the Republicans know if I step out of line, if I say, let's honor Biden, let's do deals with them.

Let's actually move the country forward. He'll destroy me and I'll lose my next election. So, and I'll, you know, 

Phil: write the PR and then, Oh, that's why I've always thought open primaries everywhere. It seemed like a good idea. 

Bill: But 

Phil: instead of racing to the far edges of each party kind of have to race to the middle.

Bill: Exactly. No, no, this, this is, that's what I say. We live in dark times and, and we're not, Oh 

Phil: yeah. The American politics politics have gotten so extreme. Right. Yeah. Yeah. As far as catering to the basis. 

Bill: And then the question becomes, okay, what's the union movement's role in all of this. which is what I try to think of.

Right. Because that's where we are and where we work. I think that one's really hard, because we know, as many as 40% of union voters in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio voted for Trump, not as high in Wisconsin and Michigan. And so our job is to figure out, okay, Why are more union people in a place like Pennsylvania, Ohio voting for than in Wisconsin, Michigan.

I tend to think it has to do with the basic unit. Oh 

Phil: yeah. How do you deprogram those people too? And then the social issues, which now people get wrapped up in social issues when they don't have health benefits 

Bill: is beyond me, would have nothing to do with their basic economic wellbeing. 


Phil: Yeah. And, and nowadays too, it seems like every.

Every, stimulus bill or every piece of legislation, they have, you know, the corporations hold hostage, economic benefit for everybody. Right. Unless they get there's first. 

Bill: Absolutely. It's 

Phil: insane. 

Bill: No, it's the American 

Phil: way. I know we could talk all day, bill 

Bill: that's how long have we been talking? I don't know.

Let me look way too long. 

Phil: No, not long enough. 

Bill: All right. 

Phil: That's coming up right up on an hour. 

Bill: Okay. Good. cut out all the personal stuff about me and you'll have a good time. 10 minutes. Okay. 

Phil: So we're going to shut it off here. Can we do this again? 

Bill: Oh, 

Phil: I want to hear about it. 


Bill: sure. No. And we'll talk more about the labor movement or about the, are the people that we fought for 

Phil: in history.

Maybe that maybe we learn a little bit of our history and 

Bill: start here. Oh, there's a lot of labor history to talk. That's really, really important. 

Phil: All right. Thanks bill. 

Bill: Okay. Thank you. Alright, this is fun. 

  thank you so much for listening to the unionist podcast. I hope you enjoy listening to bill Sokol. As much as I did talk into them. If you liked this episode, I would really appreciate your help or revealing the podcast in Apple or Google podcasts. It's a big help. If you want to learn more about the podcast, you can head over to unionist 

And until next time I will leave you with a quote from Jack London. Life. Isn't a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes. Playing a poor hand. Well, Thanks.  

Bill Sokol Profile Photo

Bill Sokol

Bill Sokol joined Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld in 1976. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin, receiving Phi Beta Kappa honors. After a year at Yale Law School, Mr. Sokol pursued a master’s degree in Modern American History at the University of California, which he received in 1972. Mr. Sokol received his Juris Doctor from Boalt in 1976. While at Boalt, Mr. Sokol was an editor of the Ecology Law Quarterly.