The myriad effects of the Watergate scandal include numerous election reform laws, the ubiquitous “-gate” suffix, and the legal career of Michael K. Fee ’81, JD ’84.
“I was riveted by the Watergate hearings,” recalls the Latham & Watkins partner, who was in high school at the time. “There were lawyers on all sides—the bad guys, the good guys, everybody was a lawyer. I was fascinated by public corruption.” He earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston College in political science, and after graduating from the Law School in 1984, joined the Public Integrity Section of the US Department of Justice, created in the wake of the scandal to investigate crimes committed by public officials.
Fee has continued to focus on white collar crime, government enforcement, and public corruption in private practice. BC Law, he says, was the launching pad that positioned him for a successful legal career.
He remembers law school fondly, particularly his third year as editor-in-chief of the Boston College Law Review. “I always felt that was an important responsibility because that publication helps convey to the legal community, scholars, and others the level of scholarship that goes on at BC Law School,” he says. The school’s distinctive emphasis on public service also made a lasting impression, inspiring Fee to serve the town of Needham as town meeting moderator since 1997, among other volunteer activities.
A long-time supporter of the Law School, Fee makes a special commitment to help deserving students attend. “When I arrived at BC Law, I had loans and a part-time job, like so many other students. It’s always a challenge to make ends meet and I think it’s only become more challenging as costs have risen.” Fee and his wife established the Michael Kelley Fee and Elizabeth Clancy Fee BC Law School Scholarship Fund to support those who—like Fee did—need help to afford law school and choose to work on the Law Review.
The Fees take every opportunity, including the Scholarship Dinner, to get to know their scholarship recipients. They are talented, serious students, says Fee, whom he enjoys mentoring during their law school days and beyond.
As he considers the BC Law that shaped him and the school it is today, Fee says it has stayed loyal to its mission: “to prepare students not only for life as a lawyer, but for life.”