Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

Several Roads Converged, and Garry Jenkins Took the One Most Meaningful

Garry Jenkins
Have squash racket, will travel: Garry Jenkins joins the Moritz Law faculty

In his first year of teaching, Garry Jenkins joins Dale Oesterle and Larry Garvin as the newest member of Moritz Law's growing group of business law-focused faculty. All who meet him are drawn in by his genial demeanor and bright smile. His enthusiasm for his subjects—this year he is teaching business associations and nonprofit organizations—and for his students is infectious.

A review of the unusual career path that led to Moritz Law finds the common themes of responsibility to one's fellow citizens and the leadership ability required to be effective in doing so. A former law clerk, he has worked for two of the largest corporate foundations in the nation. The editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, he practiced law at one of the most prestigious firms in the country. In his own words, "keeping my options open" has garnered Garry the perfect blend of diverse experiences needed to achieve his goals.

Upon graduation from Pennsylvania's Haverford College, Garry joined Prudential Insurance Company's management development program. One of his first assignments was a rotation in the company's foundation, to hone his skills in strategic planning. This was to be Garry's first experience in the management of nonprofit organizations. The rotation turned into an 18-month long position as program manager of the foundation's urban and community development program.

Next stop: graduate school. In addition to receiving his Master's in Public Policy and Juris Doctor degrees from Harvard, he also took classes at Harvard's Business School, and its Graduate School of Education. The business school's focus on using case method to learn management and leadership skills had a particularly strong influence on Garry, and would later inform his teaching.

Upon graduation, he was offered a clerkship with the Hon. Timothy K. Lewis on the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. He saw it as a unique opportunity to hone his writing and research skills, and to work behind the scenes in court. When his clerkship ended, he joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, a 120-year-old firm specializing in corporate work. He spent 50% of his time with a group that represented nonprofits, and the remainder doing mergers and acquisitions, and other corporate-focused transactions.

In 2002, Garry returned to his grant-making roots when he was approached by the Goldman Sachs Foundation. Although it's the 10th largest corporate foundation in the U.S., its staff is typical of other corporate foundations: small. As chief operating officer and general counsel, Garry was "at the top," yet still involved in the daily activities of the foundation: developing strategy, creating grants, and monitoring the successes of funded programs.

One focus of the foundation is to develop high-potential youth from underrepresented backgrounds, identifying them in middle school, then preparing and sending them to select colleges and universities. Garry was able to meet with the students and see their progress first-hand. It sparked his interest in mentoring and teaching young people. Beyond securing the education that would lift them from poverty and difficult circumstance, these youth could become effective leaders in their communities and their career fields.

Garry considered his own leadership roles. For all the knowledge and experience he had gained, his previous positions had demanded much. To an outsider, Garry's energy seemed boundless, but his work as an associate in a large firm and his position as number two at Goldman Sachs Foundation had limited his ability to reflect and write about his interests. He recognized that in order to reflect on all of his experiences, and use them to have a broader impact on systems in general—nonprofit governance and effectiveness, preparing future leaders, and corporate social responsibility, to name a few—he needed the right environment. He also wanted to continue nurturing the potential found in each individual.

Enter the Moritz College of Law.

Garry chose Moritz Law because of the support he found among faculty. "It's the reason I'm here today," he proclaims. Professor Martha Chamallas said of Garry, "Among the more than 1000 candidates for law teaching positions, Garry Jenkins stood out because of his superb academic credentials and terrific experience. When the faculty and students met him, we immediately knew he would be a great teacher and colleague. He fills an important need in the business curriculum. We feel so proud that he chose to come to Moritz when he had so many other options."

Reflecting on his own career path, Garry has considered carefully the role that law school can play in the lives of our country's future leaders. "Many lawyers move toward leadership roles in their respective companies, firms, organizations. But the typical law school curriculum doesn't reflect that reality," he says. The need for leadership development for law students has galvanized him, even in his first year of teaching, and he has begun to create a course on leadership—slated to begin in the spring of 2006.

The class will reflect a business school approach, and will be focused around case studies and leadership theory, but through a legal lens. He notes the class' potential appeal for students seeking the group interaction not typically found in the traditional Socratic method found in most law school classes, and those with ambitions to hold positions of leadership.

2L Jennifer Hallman agrees. One of Garry's students in "Business Associations" this semester, she notes, "Professor Jenkins makes every attempt to engage students, regardless of their backgrounds. He surveyed us at the beginning of the year to discover our knowledge of business, and has provided the background information to bring us all up to speed. We discuss real-life solutions to problems posed in class. We consider every angle. His method is Socratic and interactive, but based in reality."

Between getting accustomed to life in Ohio, becoming acclimated to teaching, and staying involved with nonprofit boards and alma maters on the East Coast, what does Garry do for fun? He plays tennis, and wants to get back into playing squash. He is a serious movie buff and hopes to catch up on the latest releases after exams are over this month.

Those who'd like to meet him on the court or at the movies should email this dynamic new professor at jenkins.434@osu.edu.