Civil Rights Movement Motivated Marvin Krislov to Pursue Legal Career by LawCrossing


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									GCC PROFILE                                                                                       1. 800.973.1177

                            Civil Rights Movement Motivated Marvin Krislov to
                            Pursue Legal Career
                            [By Jen Woods]
                            Marvin Krislov grew up in the 1970s, a time when social activists challenged the government and, consequently,
                            influenced social and political change. After witnessing the civil rights movement firsthand, he knew he wanted to pursue
                            a career in law. “Law can be an instrument in bringing about social change and greater opportunity for all people,” said
                            Krislov, who is now Vice President, General Counsel, and Adjunct Law Professor at the University of Michigan.

Even as an undergraduate, Krislov felt             Despite his positive experiences in               the school’s legal affairs, and he serves as
strongly about civil rights. In fact, his          government, Krislov said he enjoys working        Senior Legal Counsel to the Board of Regents
passion for affirmative action won him a           within an organization “to provide people         and the university administration and its
first-place prize in a debate competition as a     with help and support to achieve their goals.”    units. Krislov’s tasks vary daily, ranging
freshman at Yale University.                                                                         from handling IP issues to dealing with risk
                                                   As General Counsel of the University of           management, he said. “Every day, there are
Krislov, a Rhodes Scholar who earned his           Michigan, Krislov is responsible for all of       new issues that come up, some of them quite
M.A. from Oxford University’s Magdalen                                                               significant,” he added.
College, completed his J.D. at Yale Law
School. While attending Yale, Krislov worked
                                                     Advice to Young Lawyers                         His job is challenging, considering that the
as a law clerk for Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of        Krislov, who teaches a class called            school is one of the largest universities in
the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.             “The Role of In-House Counsel,”                the country, with a student body of more than
                                                                                                     40,000. In fact, “some people compare it to a
                                                      was surprised that so many of his
After graduation, Krislov accepted an                                                                small city,” Krislov said.
                                                      students wanted to work in-house.
associate counsel position in the Office of
Counsel to the President, where he handled            “I found that many, many students,             One of the most prominent legal battles
litigation and policy issues. As a trial              particularly those who wanted to               Krislov has been involved in resulted in a
attorney, Krislov prosecuted individuals              balance career and family, aspired             historic Supreme Court decision. He led the
charged with racial or religious violence and         to work in-house,” he said.                    university’s legal defense of its admissions
acts of police brutality for the Civil Rights                                                        policies, which considered race as a factor
Division of the U.S. Justice Department.                                                             in acceptance decisions. In 2003, the U.S.
                                                      Since most law school graduates
                                                                                                     Supreme Court ruled that universities could
Krislov continued his career in government            do not land in-house jobs fresh out            consider race in admissions in order to
and later accepted a position in the U.S.             of college, Krislov recommends                 achieve student body diversity. “We were
Department of Labor. His experience as                that students pursue in-house                  very gratified by that result,” Krislov said.
the primary legal advisor to the Secretary of         internships. There are many                    “Diversity and the achievement of it continue
Labor was very rewarding, he said.                                                                   to be very significant issues.”
                                                      “excellent” in-house summer jobs,
                                                      Krislov said. However, students
“I would recommend the federal government                                                            “It’s gratifying when people feel that we have
as a great employer,” Krislov said. While the         need to take the initiative to find            helped them achieve their goals, and there’s
salary may not be as lucrative as it would be         corporate counsel openings                     a fine line between telling people what
in private practice, the level of responsibility      because they are not publicized                they can do and telling people what their
is much higher than in other settings, he             as well as law firm positions.                 options are,” Krislov said. As a lawyer, it is
said. Plus, he said, there is an “incredible                                                         important to be seen as a problem solver and
                                                      “Students shouldn’t just consider
sense of satisfaction and pride you get                                                              not a roadblock; people tend to feel anxious
                                                      the jobs that are advertised and
when you can work for the United States                                                              working with lawyers, “and it’s nice to break
government.”                                          well-publicized,” he added.                    down those barriers,” he explained.

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GCC PROFILE                                                                                   1. 800.973.1177

Working for such a large university, it is       Several people who work in higher education      Cincinnati Law Review, and he coauthored
no surprise that his job can be stressful at     are also role models for Krislov, including      (with Assistant General Counsel Jonathan
times. But Krislov said he is able to manage     President of the University of Michigan          Alger) “You’ve Got to Have Friends: Lessons
his stress and maintain a healthy balance        Mary Sue Coleman, President of Columbia          Learned from the Role of Amici in the
between his work and personal life. “I           University Lee Bollinger, and Syracuse           University of Michigan Cases,” which
exercise regularly, and I have a family that I   University President Nancy Cantor.               appeared in the Journal of College and
prioritize, which gives me good perspective                                                       University Law.
on my work life,” he said.                       Krislov co-chairs the presidential taskforce
                                                 on ethics in public life and has served on the   ON THE NET
Throughout his career, Krislov said, he has      athletics department’s transition committee.
                                                                                                  University of Michigan
looked up to people who work in the public       He has also taught at George Washington
sector because they can influence social         University’s National Law Center.
and political change. As a law clerk, Krislov
                                                                                                  U.S. Department of Labor
worked with and admired Judge Abner Mikva        In addition, Krislov has published several
because he dedicated much of his life to         scholarly articles, including one entitled
public service.                                  “Affirmative Action in Higher Education,”        U.S. Department of Justice
                                                 which appeared in the University of    


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