Robert Morris Morgenthau takes a seat at his desk, sipping coffee from the vacuum-insulated, stainless steel cup he carried in when he arrived moments earlier. After 35 years as district attorney for New York County (meaning Manhattan) he recently chose not to seek re-election. Morgenthau is now situated handsomely as of counsel at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City, the nation’s richest law firm.
He is asked about his very long career, for which just the highlight reel is fuller than the entire lives of many accomplished lawyers. Leaning back and occasionally dipping forward for coffee, he proceeds to speak for the first 40 minutes entirely about a man other than himself—though the stories do give him some purchase.
Morgenthau, who turns 91 in July, remains in awe of Robert L. Patterson. A legend himself, Patterson was Morgenthau’s mentor, giving him his first job in law at age 29.