The New Deal spawned the country’s first Washington lawyers. With government agencies mushrooming and corporate clients facing an avalanche of regulation, the demand for this new breed of lawyers skyrocketed.

Of the new “Washington lawyers,” none was more remarkable than Thurman Arnold. Like many of them, he had, at a formative moment, been excluded from the Eastern establishment that dominated the corporate bar. At Princeton and at Harvard Law School, he often felt like a social outcast, thanks to growing up in Laramie, Wyoming. But when, in the 1920s, he tried to combine a middle-class law practice in Laramie with stints in public office, he grew restless and jumped at an unexpected offer of the deanship of West Virginia’s law school. In 1930 another jump brought him to the Yale Law School, where he was at first subdued, but then began teaching with an informality and discursiveness that startled and delighted his students.