Law Prof Recalls Ted Kennedy as Average on Paper, Good on His Feet

A law professor who had taught Ted Kennedy at the University of Virginia remembers him as better at oral advocacy than written tests.

Law professor Mortimer Caplin taught both Ted Kennedy and his brother Robert, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Ted “was kind of an average paper student, but he was very good on his feet,” Caplin said.

Kennedy won a moot-court competition at the law school and graduated in 1959.

“He was a very lively personality,” Caplin told “I don’t think he was looking for particularly high grades. He probably didn’t hit the books as hard as some of the others did, but he was a bright chap. And if you got him in tune with what we were really talking about, he did very well.”

Later Caplin became friends with Ted Kennedy and served as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in the administration of President John F. Kennedy.

Related coverage:

National Law Journal: “Ted Kennedy’s Legal Legacy”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.