Clifford Fisshman , professor of law, was interviewed for an Oct. 14 Washington Examiner column about his job and his previous experience as an assistant district attorney. See the story below.
From: The Washington Examiner By: Melanie Ciarrone Date: Oct. 14, 2009 Fishman is a professor at Catholic University's Columbus School of Law and used to work as assistant district attorney in New York City. He lives in Rockville and is married with two daughters.
What do you like most about teaching at the Catholic University of America?
The students, my colleagues and the summers off. In that order. Also, the time and intellectual freedom to examine all sorts fascinating legal issues.
What do you like the least?
What was it like working as assistant D.A. in New York?
In many ways the equivalent of walking on a high wire. You were always under the gun, getting prepared for a trial. I did a lot of investigation with the police and had my share of 2-o'clock-in-the-morning phone calls with the police. It was an enormous opportunity to learn and to grow and to make mistakes. It was a fantastic way to start a legal career.
Did your job with the D.A. affect your teaching job?
For sure. What I teach is criminal law, criminal procedure and evidence. My experience as a trial lawyer gave me a pretty good idea, so what I've been doing is teaching my students what I learned. What I am as a teacher is significantly shaped by what I did as a prosecutor.
You're an active member of your synagogue, yet you work at a Catholic university. How did that come about?
Just lucky, I guess. CUA made the best offer of two or three law schools and Washington was the most interesting city. I have found that being Jewish at a Catholic university is a good experience. I'm guessing that this school has done much more to support and encourage that sort of thing than most secular law schools would do. One thing about CUA law school that is particularly gratifying is that we take religion seriously here. We recognize that religion is an important force in society, an important part of our secular and legal culture, and an important part of the human personality. And without preaching, we try to integrate that part of being human into the study of law.