Joe Perkins, Deputy GC and Legal Quality Champion, Cummins
Growing up in Richmond, Ind., to hard-working parents, Joe Perkins may initially come off as your average … well … Joe.
But Perkins’ life took shape in a way most Midwesterners—or anyone, for that matter—would only dream of. With parents who always encouraged him to do well in anything he worked on, Perkins excelled in high school. So much so, in fact, his academic achievements caught the attention of one of his teachers who encouraged Perkins to apply to Ivy League colleges.
After high school, Perkins found himself packing his bags and heading to New Jersey to begin his freshman year at Princeton University. “The day I got accepted was really exciting for my family,” Perkins says. “My parents, although hard-working folks, never went to a four-year college, and here I had the chance to do that—and at such a well-respected school.” Particularly fond of issues around public policy, Perkins studied politics at Princeton, and took some classes at its acclaimed Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs. More
Native North Carolinian Anne Fitzgerald didn’t grow up wanting to be a lawyer. She envisioned herself, rather, donning a pair of sea legs and living the adventurous life of a scuba diver.
After she finished her undergraduate studies at Duke University, Fitzgerald took a year off, working in Australia with Operation Raleigh, a London-based organization that offered its participants the opportunity to circumnavigate the world doing community service. During this time, Fitzgerald conducted research on the mallee fowl, but she also found herself living her dream: working with the Victorian Archeological Society, scuba diving off the coast of Southern Australia mud-mapping shipwrecks.
“I was a big scuba diver and thought I could do that as part of my career, but after a year in a cold wetsuite, the reality of living that life wasn’t appealing as a 30-year plan,” Fitzgerald says. More
Even as a child, Curt Kramer knew he would go to law school, but never really bought into the idea of actually practicing law. His father—a successful lawyer with his own, small private practice in Boston—impressed upon his son that the profession was a noble one and instilled in Kramer an appreciation for the legal system.
“It can take your kids away from you, it can put you in jail, it can tell you how much in taxes to pay,” Kramer recalls thinking about the law. “So I figured, if there’s any schmuck I’m going to listen to out there, it’s going to be me.”
Despite the fact that Kramer was reluctant to commit himself to a career in law, he graduated from Quinnipiac School of Law in Connecticut in 1995. And after receiving an LLM from Georgetown University, he did what he thought he wouldn’t do—he joined a Washington, D.C., law firm. More
During his junior year of high school in 1982, Bill Weber had a bright academic future ahead of him. The Decatur, Ga., native planned to apply to three prestigious colleges, the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, but he had a problem: he had no idea how his family would be able to pay for any of them.
Then, during a trip with the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation late that school year, the course of his academic future and life would make a sharp turn. Traveling back toward Georgia, the group of students on the trip stopped off in Annapolis, Md., to visit the Naval Academy—the United States Navy’s service academy and, at the time, the most difficult school in the country to get into. Weber learned that, if he were among the fortunate few to get into the academy, his entire college tuition would be paid in full with his commitment of five years active duty post graduation. Facing exorbitant tuition bills from the other schools, Weber took a leap of faith, secured an appointment to Navy from Senator Sam Nunn and began his military career in summer 1983. More
Alex Green always knew he wanted to be a lawyer. In fact, he always knew he wanted to be a general counsel. Since high school, he recalls, becoming a lawyer was his goal—and nothing was going to get in the way.
But his path to the GC seat wasn’t exactly a typical one. Green graduated from Indiana University with a degree in business in 1987. But before jumping into a suit and tie, he donned a different uniform—that of a Dallas Cowboys football player. Green signed as a free agent, played for half a season, then headed to his hometown of Chicago.
In the Windy City, Green landed a job at American National Bank and began preparing for the LSAT. The next year, he headed to Northwestern University Law School and started down the path that would ultimately lead to the top legal spot at CareerBuilder, the largest online employment website in the United States. More
Rich Konrath made his family proud when he followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, graduating from Ohio State University. Armed with an English degree, he did exactly what many others in his shoes would do. He headed straight to law school.
But that’s where the typical career path of a successful lawyer ends, and an adventure begins.
While many of his fellow law school classmates at University of Toledo headed to law firms upon graduation, Konrath went to Washington, D.C., to join the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). The decision set him on a course unlike that of most lawyers; a course that included Konrath cutting his teeth in a government agency, succeeding in several in-house legal positions for one of the country’s leading industrial manufacturers, moving himself and his family abroad for seven years to gain a wealth of legal experience at the international level, and ultimately becoming the vice president and general counsel, North America, for CNH Industrial, a global leader in the capital goods sector. More