Germantown High School * Philadelphia, PA. * Class of 1957


Harrison Sheppard


***“Happiness” is generally agreed to be the one thing that all sane, healthy people want, although sometimes “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” I have not consciously thought very often of the ways in which my time at GHS contributed to my own happiness. But as I focus my thoughts on memories of my time there, and the gifts it gave to me, I realize that it had, in fact, a lot to do with much of whatever happiness I have so far enjoyed in my life. The traditional philosophic definition of “happiness” is that it is an activity, not just a condition: the doing of things that reflect the best of what it means to be a human being. (Maybe that’s why the Declaration of Independence says that our natural rights include the ”pursuit of happiness,” doing the things that make us happy). The following recollections of my experiences at GHS stand out as the most important ways in which it gave or offered me paths of happiness.

***The first thing that actually comes to my mind is a history professor’s stern advice to me. I wrote a paper for Mr. Wagner (I believe it was on the Monroe Doctrine). I had struggled with that paper, but felt dissatisfied with it when I turned it in. He gave me a very high grade and, with no false modesty, I told him that I didn’t think it was that good. He looked at me, perhaps a little coldly at first, then smiled and said: “The best is often the enemy of the good.” Mr. Wagner may thereby have given me the single most important learning I acquired at GHS, a practical insight that has stayed with me for nearly half a century: the idea that, if you set your sights too high, aiming or hungering for what you consider to be the “best,” you are apt to overlook or miss what is really possible, and good.

***The second teacher at GHS who inspired me in happy ways was my Latin teacher, Mr. McCoy. (Who studies Latin anymore?) His remarkable enthusiasm for his subject was infectious, and I can still recite in Latin, scanned in dactylic hexameter, the first few verses of the Aeneid, which we were required to commit to memory. This exercise gave me an appreciation of the gift of intellectual pleasure to be gained from disciplined effort, even though the effort itself may be painful, and even obnoxious. I have not always been faithful to that memory. (I never passed my Greek language exam in college, for example, or mastered even the fundamentals of calculus). But Mr. McCoy’s assignment gave me a taste of the thrill of achievement possible through disciplined effort that has certainly stayed with me and helped, I am sure (for example) to get me through law school --which was for me, generally, a horrible experience.

***The final important academic gift given to me by GHS that I can recall was its opening the door to the college I went to: St. John’s College, in Annapolis, Maryland, the “Great Books” school. My years at St. John’s were, without doubt, the happiest of my life in terms of formal learning. I never would have known about St. John’s if Mrs. Raake, GHS’s college guidance counselor, hadn’t invited me and Judy Schloss to hear about it from the visiting Director of Admissions of St. John’s, who had stopped by GHS to tell her about the school and ask if she could think of any students who might be interested in attending St. John’s.

***While I have begun these recollections with memories of how GHS contributed to my learning –it is, after all, a school—these are not the only happinesses it gave me. My ego was, of course, flattered by being appointed Valedictorian, and chosen by my classmates, with Lois Addison, as “Most Likely to Succeed” for the graduating yearbook. Much more important than these strokes to my vanity, however, are my recollections of some connections I had to classmates at GHS. The first among these is my memory of the high-spiritedness of many of them, those who were much more active than I was in the school’s extra-curricular activities --our class leaders, really. These were, as I recall, mostly lively girls, and a few guys, like Larry Cope, our class President. (I specifically remember Larry’s beautiful smile.) There was a spirit of communal enthusiasm and good will among this group that I envied because, despite my apparent outgoing and gregarious nature, I was --as most teenagers are-- actually socially shy. The interactions I did have with my classmates were, nevertheless, very happy ones for me, and I can honestly not recall a single cruel or hurtful experience in my interactions with these classmates.

***Even more positive are my recollections of a few special relationships with GHS classmates. I remember with happy nostalgia my first real romance, which happened to be with a GHS classmate, beginning, as I recall, the night of our senior prom, and continuing throughout the summer. My best friend at GHS was Merle Block (now Merle Block Rose). As I¹ve said, I was actually socially a little shy during those years, especially with girls, and Merle reached out in friendship to me --at first, or at least very early, believe it or not, through a shared interest in Voltaire¹s Candide, in a way that made it very easy for us to become friends, in a friendship that has endured ever since.

***There were also a few classmates at GHS (of both genders) I would have very much liked and wanted to get to know better, but the shyness I have confessed prevented me from making that happen –assuming of course, that I might have made it happen. I would look forward especially to seeing and meeting some of these now, at our class reunion. The pursuit of happiness is a lifetime occupation.

Life After GHS

***As to my present life, the essential facts are these: I am in good health. I have been married now to Joy for 40 years (including our unsuccessful 7 year divorce, which we consider part of our marriage). We have one son, Justin, and two grandchildren, Christopher and Dillon. I have my own law and public relations practice in San Francisco, specializing in negotiation and dispute resolution, with a range of clients from visual artists, small businesses, non-profits, and major private trusts. I do a lot of writing and public speaking, especially about the need for change in American legal education and practice. I have published a little book, "What’s Wrong with Lawyers / What’s Right with Lawyers", and written another: "Voices of Light: Conversations With History’s Greatest Teachers" (summing up the most important things I’ve learned from study and experience) which I am trying to get published. I spend every Friday afternoon and evening with my eight year old grandson, Dillon, a highlight of my week. As to my full “biography” since I left GHS, Here is my formal Vita:



***J.D. University of California, Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, CA, 1967; B.A. St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD, 1961; Postgraduate Study Georgetown University Law School, Washington, D.C., 1968; Harvard University Executive Program, Boston, MA, School of Public Health, 1978.

***Principal, Harrison Sheppard Law & Public Relations, November 1993 - Present: General business and plaintiff’s insurance practice, commercial negotiation, dispute resolution, artist representation, public relations consulting; Outside General Counsel to: Jock McDonald Film, Inc., San Francisco, 1998 -.present; Into Video, San Francisco, 2000 – present; Black’s Farmwood, San Rafael, CA, 2002 – present; Frazier Studo, 2003..

***Chairman, Alaythia, Inc., San Francisco, February 1994 - December 1997: Law Practice Management Consulting and Programs; author of The New Civil Lawyersm, a continuing legal education lecture and seminar program produced in cooperation with the American Bar Association and State Bar Associations throughout the United States, promoting a problem-solving model of legal practice.

***General Partner, Sheppard Artists’ Representative (SAR, Ltd.), 1989 - 1994: Visual Artist International Career Management & Representation. SAR exhibitions include One Vision, Two Perspectives: The Photography of Jock McDonald, Guadalajara, Mexico, 1994; Afghanistan, Soviet Vietnam, Photographs of Vlad Tamarov, San Francisco, 1992; Positive Negatives: Photoportraits of Courageous Russian and American Public Figures by Jock McDonald and Mikhail Lehmkin, Santa Fe, NM, Leningrad, Russia, and Kiev Ukraine, 1990-91; and Humanism in the Arts: A 21st Century Global Perspective, Paintings by Chongbin Zheng, Portraits by Christopher Felver from “The Face of Art,” and Positive Negatives, 1990.

***Attorney, Federal Trade Commission, March 1969 - October 1989, Washington, D.C.; Seattle, Washington; San Francisco: Investigate and prosecute violations of federal consumer protection and antitrust laws, with special policy planning assignments in the Office of the Chairman, the Executive Director, and the Office of Policy Planning (Washington, D.C.). Positions included Attorney Advisor to Commissioner Philip Elman, Deputy Executive Director (Regional Operations), and Assistant Regional Director, San Francisco and Seattle Regional offices.

***Trial Attorney, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. September 1967 - March 1969: Enforcement of antitrust laws; staff member, President’s Task Force on Communications Policy.

***Golden Gate University Law School, San Francisco (1971-76): Antitrust & Consumer Protection; Doctoral courses in Law & Government. University of Ohio, Athens, Ohio (1975-77): Adult Summer Programs in Humanities, including Declaration Of Independence Bicentennial Program. Delancey Street Foundation, San Francisco (1988-1995): Euclidian Geometry; Introduction to Philosophy; and Poetry.

***Associations & Honors. Admitted to the State Bar of California, 1968; Bar of the United States Supreme Court, 1973. Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 1997-. Master, Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court, San Francisco, 1998. Member, American Bar Association, 1993-. California State Senate Designation of June 5, 1996 as “Harrison Sheppard Day” in recognition of the demonstration, in his work and writings, of “devotion to the ideal of the democratic rule of law.”

***Board Memberships. Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (of the Graduate Theological Union), Berkeley, CA, 1999- ; Saybrook Institute Graduate School & Research Center, San Francisco, 1988-1994; San Francisco Press Club, 1996-97; Humanities West, San Francisco (Program Chairman & Moderator for The Classical Ideal: The Enduring Light of Ancient Greece, 1994), 1993-94. Hellenic Law Society, San Francisco (Program Chairman and co-producer of an official program of The Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution), 1987-1990. San Francisco Suicide Prevention, Inc., 1986-1989. Board of Visitors & Governors, St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD and Santa Fe, NM, 1978-79. St. John’s College National Alumni Association (and Chairman, San Francisco Chapter), 1978-80.

***Classical philosophy, theology, and art; fine art photography collection; poetry; American and world history; film; mountain-climbing, bicycling.

***Born October 23, 1939, Philadelphia, PA. Resided in Annapolis and Baltimore, MD (1957-61); New York City (1961-62); Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1962-63); Washington, D.C. (1967-1969, 1972); and Vashon Island, Washington State (1971). Travel throughout the United States and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the British Isles, Western Europe, Greece, the former Soviet Union (Russia and Ukraine), the South Pacific, and China. Married August 30, 1963 to Joy Lando. One son, Justin Andrew, b. 1969; two grandchildren, Christopher, b. 1990 and Dillon, b. 1995.

***Voices of Light: Conversations With History’s Greatest Teachers

Harrison Sheppard * Web Site

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Special Thanks to Lois Addison for Scanning Yearbook Photos &
Special Thanks to Katherina Kripl Bonner for sending Lois Her Copy of the June 1957 Yearbook
& to George Palmer for sending Lois His Copy of the January 1957 Yearbook.

This Page Updated 07/03/04 gwf