Citation
Steve Grimes oral history interview, July 17, 2009

Material Information

Title:
Steve Grimes oral history interview, July 17, 2009
Creator:
Steve Grimes (Interviewee)
Steve Davis (Interviewer)
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Grimes, Stephen ( lcsh )
Smith, Chesterfield H., 1917-2003 ( lcsh )
University of Florida. College of Law ( oclc fast )
Holland & Knight (firm) ( lcsh )
American Bar Association ( oclc fast )
Barnett, Martha W., 1947- ( oclc fast )
Florida. Supreme Court ( oclc fast )
Judges ( oclc fast )
Phosphate industry ( oclc fast )
Genre:
Oral histories ( lcsh )
Interviews ( OCLC FAST )
Temporal Coverage:
2000 - 2010
Spatial Coverage:
Florida -- Tallahassee

Notes

General Note:
A research project funded by the University of Florida Libraries.
General Note:
Chesterfield Smith Project

Record Information

Source Institution:
UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Holding Location:
UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Rights Management:
Copyright Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier:
CSP-001

Full Text




CSP-001
Interviewee: Steve Grimes
Interviewer: Steve Davis
Date of Interview: July 17, 2009


D: It is July 16, 2009. I am Steve Davis and I am speaking with Steve Grimes about
Chesterfield Smith. Mr. Grimes could you please tell me when and where you
were born?

G: I was born in Peoria, Illinois, on November 17, 1927.

D: Where did you go to school? Primary school?

G: First in Illinois but then we moved South. We came down the winters some, and
then when World War II started we stayed in Florida. Settled in Lakeland,
Florida. I went to school there, and then spent one year at Florida Southern College in Lakeland and then came to the University of Florida and got my
undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Florida [The University of
Florida, founded in 1853, is located in Gainesville, Florida].

D: You mentioned earlier that you knew of Chesterfield, but did not know him that
well at the university?

G: Yes, I was a member of ATO Fraternity in Gainesville at the university [ATO.,
Alpha Tau Omega, is a national fraternity founded in 1865]. In 1948, I think,
Chesterfield was initiated. He was a senior in law school at the time-he was late
for fraternity work. But he was initiated into ATO fraternity so I met him then, but
didn't know him well at all because he was involved in law school and I was in
undergraduate school.

D: Can you tell me a little bit about your first job out of law school?

G: Well that's when I met Chesterfield, really, except for that brief experience at the
university. Late in 1953 1 was a senior in law school and I interviewed with
Chesterfield's law firm in Bartow, Florida for a job, I was looking for a job. So they invited me and my wife to Bartow to spend the weekend and to meet the
lawyers in the firm and they took me around and they of course were evaluating
me I guess. That's when I really got to know Chesterfield.

D: In what ways did he persuade you to move to this [laughter] really small town in
Florida?

G: Well it was a small town [laughter]. We spent the night; we actually spent the
weekend at his house. He and Vivian [Parker Smith] were very hospitable. He as
always had a magnetic personality and he is very persuasive. The firm at that








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 2

time had a good reputation, although it was very small. There were just really
four lawyers. Senator Holland, former governor and then Senator Holland
[Spessard Lindsey Holland (July 10, 1892 - November 6, 1971) was an
American politician. He was the 28th governor of Florida from 1941 until 1945,
during World War II. After finishing his term as governor, he was a United States
Senator from Florida from 1946 until 1971]. That was when you could be in
Congress and also practice law on the side, and that's what he did. The firm bore
his name.

Then there was another gentleman, a respected real estate, probate lawyer
William Bevis. Then Bill McRae had been a Rhodes Scholar, a very
distinguished man, and he was a partner in the firm. He later became a federal judge. Then there was Chesterfield. Chesterfield, when he got out of law school
he went back to his home town in Arcadia, which is probably smaller than
Bartow, for a couple years and practiced down there. Then he came to Bartow to
join the other three gentlemen I just mentioned. He had been there about four
years, or maybe three and a half years when I came down there for that
interview.

But even then with his personality and intelligence, it was pretty evident that the decisions being made for the firm, he was making them. The rest of them were
fine lawyers-well, Holland wasn't there much-but the other two were fine
lawyers but they were just practicing law and he was... he had...when a vision
was involved he had it, and was directing the firm even when I was there. Of course they kind of wined and dined me and I was impressed with them, but I knew they had a good reputation and they offered me the...enticing... offer of
$275 a month and there was another firm in Orlando had offered me $250 so the
difference was very persuasive. So I joined, I agreed to go to work in Bartow.

D: What were some of the first cases you worked on?

G: Well I, as we discussed this a little bit yesterday, when I got there, I mentioned
those four principles and they were-the partners. There were two other young lawyers who preceded me from the University of Florida. One had been there
about six months and then went in the army and came back, and the other had been there about a year. I think it was probably upon their recommendation that they even interviewed me. So there were three of us young guys that were there.
Chesterfield in his inimitable way, he says, we are going to be a big firm, and big
firms got to specialize. So [Henry M.] Kittleson one of the fellas, you're going to
be our real estate lawyer, Bill Henry you're going to be our tax and business and probate lawyer, and Grimes you're going to be our trial lawyer. We were right out
of law school and we just kind of rolled our eyes, but as time went by we kind of
practiced on our clients. They had good clients.

Polk County at that time was fairly rural, in the sense they had a lot of citrus,








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 3

cattle and phosphate and we represent a lot of those interests. Particularly the
phosphate, we represented most of the phosphate industry at that time. So they had good clients. He had the vision of wanting to create a large firm. So as time
went by we invited other lawyers, we would only entertain lawyers who had top records at the universities, usually from Florida or the state schools. But we got
some from out of state, but they always were what we viewed as cream of the
crop.

D: Did you recruit them or did they contact you?

G: I think it was probably some of each, I imagine. But to get people to come to
Bartow you had to work at it a little bit, because it was a small town, and you
know most young guys at that time, there was just men early on, some. of them
were unmarried and you know, Bartow is a pretty sleepy place, not much action,
usually want to go to a large town. So you really had to demonstrate why they
ought to come to Bartow, and we worked at it. We introduced them to our clients, and showed them the kind of work they'd be doing, and it worked out pretty well.
We started to grow just like Chesterfield said we were going to do.

You asked cases, now I worked a little more in the trial work. In the beginning I
worked a little more with Bill McRae, that's what he was doing almost exclusively.
Chesterfield was kind of an all around lawyer, business getter. He did litigation,
he was a good trial lawyer, but didn't do a lot of it. So the cases that I handled
were primarily, at least in the beginning until he went on the bench with Bill McRae... I can talk about him, but it wouldn't be particularly useful as far as
talking about Chesterfield, if you understand what I'm saying.

D: Could you tell me a little bit about the phosphate cases? I know you didn't work
directly on them but...

G: Well phosphate was very important to our firm, in fact it was a time when
probably fifty percent of our business dealt with that. It's a very important industry
in the area, it also, you know they kind of tore up the land when they dug the
phosphate and it was sort of controversial as far as the environmentalists were
concerned. Chesterfield represented the industry before the legislature, and
Would lobby.., trying to keep the...so that the legislature wouldn't come down too
hard on the phosphate, or raise the taxes and that kind of thing. They were always buying land which of course was very useful for our real estate area.
They didn't have a lot of litigation in that sense, they had a couple of strikes that
we were involved in, and Chesterfield was right involved in that directly, in
litigation that arose out of trying to allow people to cross the picket line and that
kind of stuff. I'm not sure I've answered your question.

D: One of the biggest clients you mentioned was Ben Hill Griffin [Ben Hill Griffin, Jr.
(October 20, 1910 - March 1, 1990) was a prominent Florida citrus grower,








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 4

businessman, politician and philanthropist].

G: That was an interesting situation. Griffin was a citrus grower, prosperous citrus grower, in Frostproof and had mostly groves, and I think he maybe had a
processing plant at that time. But he had signed a contract to purchase from a
man named Sotille along the Atlantic Coast, nearly Fort Pierce, a whole lot groves, the Sotille groves. It was a big, big tract of lots of citrus. Really big
purchase. He had signed a contract and it was being attacked by, and I don't remember exactly what the legal issues were, but there was a serious lawsuit
brought by a law firm in Tampa, by Cody Fowler's firm, and Fowler was handling
it. He was president, had been president at that time of the American Bar
Association [Cody Fowler (1892 - 1978) was a prominent Florida attorney who
became president of the American Bar Association in 1950].


So it was a major lawsuit, so Griffin came to Chesterfield basically to handle it.
Chesterfield was involved in that, and worked it out. It actually never went to final
judgment but he worked it out in such a way that Griffin got the Sotille groves. It was such a big purchase that Ben Hill had to get, because the mortgage was so big, he had to get an insurance policy from Prudential [Life Insurance Company] on his life. It was the biggest policy Prudential had ever written at the time. Well, as it worked out, six months after the purchase was consummated, we had a big
freeze in Florida, in central Florida. Almost all the groves in central Florida were
frozen, but the groves on the east coast that Griffin had just bought were
unscathed. When that happens, when a lot of the citrus is frozen, the prices go
way up. So of course then that was very profitable for Griffin because he had
purchased these groves that were free with the citrus that he could sell. He did
so well that he paid off the mortgage in a very short time. That's how he grew
into such a prominent figure in the state.

D: Turning to the growth of the firm, can you describe Chesterfield's vision for the
firm and how early that manifested itself?

G: As I told you, right after I got there, right after they hired me that was when he
said we were going to be a big firm and it was evident that was what he had in mind and that was a direction that he would... influence everyone else that was
involved in the firm and without him being there I don't think that would have
happened. While I was there we were growing and getting new lawyers, usually at that time young lawyers, fine lawyers right out of law school. Then we moved to Lakeland and opened the Lakeland office, which is still in Polk County, in fact
a larger town in Polk County. Burke Kibler joined us, a very prominent figure in
Lakeland, who had property interests and known as being a fine lawyer [D.
"Burke" Kibler III, b. 1924]. So we had the Lakeland office and then in 1968 we
started, we engaged in some negotiations with a Tampa firm.








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 5

This firm had about, by that time we had about twenty lawyers I guess, and this firm had about eight in Tampa. But the Tampa firm had lots of fine clients. Chesterfield had concluded we had just about all the clients we were going to get in Polk County and the surrounding area, and if we were going to be growing bigger we had to branch out and expand our client base. This firm in Tampa had good clients and really didn't have the lawyer personnel to handle them all and we had the lawyer personnel who were skilled and could use the extra clients if we were going to grow. So we merged, had a merger with the Tampa law firm. I forget the name at the time, Knight, Jones, Germany and somebody else, Whitaker, I think.

The senior partner in that was sort of a very prominent fella in Tampa who was really senior, he was basically retired but they had kept his name. He had been mayor of Tampa. He had very good clients. That was the Knight. Of course we had the problem of what are we going to call this new firm because every time had added lawyers up to that time we really never had any trouble negotiating the money part of it. But it was always the problem what's the firm name going to be?

We had changed the firm name two or three times during that early period leading up to 1968, every time we added somebody. Chesterfield in his way said if we are going to be a big firm we got to have an identity that remains constant, like as he said like the New York firms. Even though the partners may be dead nevertheless you got a firm, you got a firm name and everybody knows it. And what's that firm name going to be in this merged firm? Chesterfield says well, we ought to call it Holland and Knight. Holland for the senior senator in Florida at that time, who though wasn't involved much in the practice, and Knight who really I think had retired from their firm as such. We called it Holland and Knight. Everybody... all the rest of us knew that if anybody deserved to be in the firm name it would be Chesterfield. He was really the leading lawyer in the firm at that time; McRae. had gone to the bench. If Chesterfield was willing not to have his name in the firm everybody realized they couldn't complain. So that's how it happened that they named it Holland and Knight and it's retained that name all the way through.

As time went on incidentally, with Chesterfield's vision we had three departments. Henry Kittleson was head of the real estate department, Bill Henry was head of the tax, probate and business department and I was head of the litigation department just like Chesterfield had said we were gonna be. I however left the firm in 1973 to go on the bench on the Second District Court of Appeals, the intermediary court of appeal in Florida which was headquartered in Lakeland so I could continue to live in Bartow and I commuted to Lakeland. At that time we had about 45 lawyers, at that time we had opened an office also in Tallahassee because we had particularly legislative interests, lobbying interests and such in Tallahassee and it would be helpful to have somebody up there and then any








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 6

time you had administrative matters you had to go to Tallahassee. So we opened
the Tallahassee office, probably about 1970 I guess. There were about 45
lawyers when I left the firm.

The big growth in that firm however occurred after that. They continued
to...really again with Chesterfield's urging because Chesterfield really was the managing partner during this period of time. We opened a Washington office.
That office didn't do very well for a while. There were a couple two or three
lawyers up there that we got originally, but the office was not doing particularly
well so Chesterfield spent the better part of a year in Washington lookin' around
to see what other fine lawyers he could get to join us. There was another firm that did join our firm who had good lawyers. Finally Chesterfield got that office
going and it was became a very successful office for us. We also, and I had gone by that time, I was on the bench. But I obviously knew what they were
doing.

D: At that time you mentioned earlier that Chesterfield was comparing Holland and
Knight to New York firms.

G: He aspired to have a national firm with a name that remained constant that
people would know that this was a firm, anybody looking for lawyers in any
particular large area, he hoped to have an office in most big cities and Holland
and Knight had an office in most of the major cities now. Ultimately they still have
offices in, have four or five offices in Florida but then they have New York,
Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland.

D: Did you ever get a sense for what the other firms thought of Holland and Knight,
and when was that moment when they came to respect the firm as peers?

G: I think the Florida lawyers who were knowledgeable recognized even the little
firm in Bartow when I got there, they recognized those lawyers as being fine
lawyers and if they wanted to refer a case in the Bartow area they would think of that firm. Bill McRae even at that time had been president of the old Florida Bar Association, it had not organized into an integrated bar but it was a Florida Bar
Association that he had been president of already. So they were recognized
among Florida lawyers but obviously it was some time before they had achieved a national reputation. Holland and Knight now has about 1200 lawyers they even
have some offices overseas.

As I say it was pretty much Chesterfield's vision, I think, I don't think this would have happened without Chesterfield being involved. He did the same thing with Miami that he did with Washington. We'd merged with a firm, as we usually did we merged with a firm in Miami, but the Miami office wasn't doing so hot. So he
and Vivian actually moved to Miami, and he stayed down there and he revved up
that office and got some more good lawyers and legal business and of course








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 7

that's a major office in the firm. And he continued to live down there.

D: Turning to his work with different bar associations. What was his impact first on
the Florida bar and later on the American Bar? [The Florida Bar is the integrated
bar association for the state of Florida, responsible for the regulation and
discipline of attorneys. The American Bar Association (ABA), founded August 21,
1878, is a voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students which sets the academic standards for law schools, and the formulation of model ethical codes
related to the legal profession].

G: He was always supportive of the Florida Bar and trying to support the ethical
requirements of the bar and he early on was involved in bar work and
committees and such and ultimately became president of the Florida Bar It was during his period of time that he promoted the office building, building this new
building, it's not new now, but raising the money to build the office over here that
the Florida bar has. He was always a proponent of bar activities and the ethical
aspects of practicing law.

D: When did he become president of the ABA?

G: The ABA?

D: Yes. The mid seventies?

G: That was later. He was first president of the Florida bar. He was president of the
American Bar Association in 19...74, 1974. So he would have been president of
the Florida bar several years before that. Probably in the late, probably in 1970 or 1969. But one thing about Chesterfield and his management of the firm and
influence on the firm he always urged us to do something beyond just practicing
law. Do something for the community or church or social, have a social
conscience to help other people. Generally each of us did that you know and to spend a lot of time on civic activities whatever they may be, of course takes out
of the time to practice law. But Chesterfield, even if it affected our bottom line, he would urge us to do that. If anybody wanted to become involved in some activity,
to help the poor or whatever, he wanted you to do it.

That leads me of course to his creation in our law firm of our pro bono section.
Pro bono meaning free legal work for the indigent. He created a particular
section of some lawyers who do nothing but pro bono work. To this day we have a pro bono group of good lawyers who take on some pretty substantial work for indigent people around the country. This was really what Chesterfield promoted
because he always had this sort of in his inimitable way he always kept telling people to do good, that's what he wanted people to do and wanted us to do it
too.








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 8

D: Along those lines I'd to discuss Chesterfield's politics. From what I read he was a Democrat who had voted for Richard Nixon [Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 - April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States (1969-1974)
and is the only president to resign the office].

G: Yeah that's what I understand. He was a lifelong Democrat, as most people were here in early Florida now, that's changed some now, it's pretty well split. But he
remained a Democrat but I understand he had voted for Nixon...

D: He had taken some pretty principal stand against the Pork Chop Gang in Florida [Pork Chop Gang was a bloc of 20 conservative North Florida lawmakers who
favored segregation] and later involved in President Nixon's, the investigation in Watergate. How did he reconcile his work at the firm with his political stands and
did he ever make any enemies that may have cost the firm clients?

G: He had a strong social conscience and was philosophically certainly pretty
liberal. He would take some public positions as he became prominent,
particularly when he was president of the ABA that were unpopular with a lot of
our clients because a lot of clients were business clients big corporations and
that sort of thing. But he had a way with him that he could make these comments and yet they knew he was a good lawyer and they would hire him, and of course when he worked for them as a lawyer he would do everything he could to further
their interests. But at the same time philosophically they knew that he didn't
necessarily maybe even agree with some of their policies and he was able to
maintain the relationships with the clients yet take some pretty strong stands that probably most of them didn't care for. That's pretty hard to do. But he had a kind
of country way about him, and he could generally convince people to come
around to his [laughter] do what he wanted them to do. He was able to
accomplish that even though he philosophically, he certainly took some positions
that a lot of clients didn't like.

D: One thing I'd like to touch on is the fact that Chesterfield mentored a lot of
women and minorities when they were new to the field...

G: That was certainly true. There was no question he promoted the hiring of women
and minorities and he first hired a woman, several women when I was there and Afro Americans and he was always on the forefront of that to the extent that he
could make sure that they had a fair opportunity to achieve. I read recently where some of the black judges attributed their position to Chesterfield's efforts to trying
to help them get the job.

D: Was this the sort of thing that he advertised?

G: Even if it wasn't popular in some areas of the South at that time, he publically
took that position. He always said it like he believed it, without particular regard








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 9

of whether somebody else liked it or not. But in his way he was able to get away
with it pretty well, and influence others.

D: Currently we are barraged with news about Sotomayor [Sonia Maria Sotomayor
(born June 25, 1954) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United
States, serving since August 2009. Sotomayor is the Court's 111 th justice, its first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice]. Did you ever get a sense for
Chesterfield's opinion on different Supreme Court justices?

G: Well he was friends with some of them. He was a particular friend of the lady
justice up there whose name slips my mind...

D: Bader Ginsberg? [Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15, 1933) is an
Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States].

G: Yes, yes. He knew the others, as I say he was philosophically liberal and I
imagine he preferred those judges that were liberal on the court. But I'm sure he respected the others because he stood for law and order and justice. Of course
you know, probably got it covered somewhere else, but his position when he was
president of the American Bar Association when Nixon, President Nixon was
refusing, said he refused to follow a judge's order, Chesterfield came out with a
proposition nationally that no man, as he put it, no man is above the law.
Certainly that position ultimately prevailed and Nixon resigned. That was what he
was most known for I think, standing up at that time.

D: Do you think that was a political position, or do you think it was because he held
the law in such high regard?

G: Well he said he voted for Nixon, and I'm confident it was because he believed at
that time that the president was thwarting the law and he upheld what....the
justice dictated it and the judge ordered it. Nixon was pretty popular at the time, had been elected by a pretty good majority, it was not a popular position he was
taking. But he believed in the law and felt obligated in his position to say so.

D: Could you talk a little bit about your working relationship with Chesterfield?

G: Another good thing about Chesterfield, the people that he liked and admired or
respected, he would always try to help them. He did a lot for me, he promoted
me, I know several particulars. In the firm I was probably a little more
conservative than he was, and he might want to, sometimes he would have an
idea well we ought to start an office over in Timbuktu or someplace [laughter] I'd
sometimes feel like he was going too fast and as one of his partners I would
speak up against him and none of the other guys would. But I think he liked that
really, because ultimately he would talk everybody else into the position he
wanted but I got along with him fine I think. I believe deep down he respected me








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 10

for disagreeing with him even though generally my views didn't prevail. I like to think they occasionally did [laughter]. Everything he could do for me, he was a
great mentor. If I had a problem, a legal problem or anything I could talk to him.
He was always very helpful.

D: Was there a lesson that you learned or a certain manner that you picked up from
Chesterfield that helped you later on in your career?

G: Well I'm sure his influence on me was very helpful. But my manner is nothing like
his [laughter] So I can't say that I emulated him in that respect. But I like to think I
acquired some of his ideals and his beliefs in the majesty of the law and the requirement for legal ethics and this sort of thing. And his desire to do some
social good. I could have made a lot more money if I stayed in the law practice
but I went on the bench, there was some prestige involved but I also took a
substantial cut in pay. I think that's the sort of thing Chesterfield, he was pleased
to see me do it even though he hated to see me leave the firm.

D: Are there any anecdotes you could tell about Chesterfield the man, more
personal aspects that could provide a character sketch?

G: He could schmooze the boys, and he could drink a lot of people under the table
[laughter]. But at the same time he could also get along with some pretty
important people and some top hat lawyers in New York. I always admired the
way that he could, we'd get into a negotiating situation with some really top flight
lawyers from New York or Chicago or something and it was obvious that they wondered who this hick was when they first met him because he had kind of a
country talk and didn't always... mixed up the grammar a little bit. But by the time we got through he was way past them and I don't think they realized it. Somehow
he had that magnetic personality that he could do it...A specific anecdote I have
a little trouble, right off hand.

D: But he did socialize with other partners in the firm?

G: Oh yeah, yeah, oh sure. He loved, in fact he loved to cook. He had a special
thing he called his dish. It was kind of a shrimp dish, he made a big deal out of it.
It was pretty good, but it wasn't quite as good as he thought it was [laughter]. He
would always invite you over and we'll have the dish, and so he had that.

D: Was he a golfer?

G: Not much, I think he played a little bit but I don't recall him spending much time
on a golf course.

D: Was he a family man?








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 11

G: Yeah, well he married young with a daughter from a prominent family in Arcadia,
Vivian Parker. They were married for many years, had two children a boy and
girl. They had moved to Miami when she died about... 1997. Maybe 1998, along
in there. Then he remarried about three years later to Jacqueline Allee
[Jacqueline Allee served as the President of the American Bar Association from 2000 to 2002] who had been a dean of the Thomas Law School and who at one
time had worked for the firm. They lived happily until he passed away. So yeah
he was certainly a family man.

D: Do you remember Martha Barnett? [Martha W. Barnett was the President of the
American Bar Association from 2000 to 2001. At present she is a partner at the
Holland & Knight Law firm].

G: Sure.

D: Could you talk a little bit about her?

G: Well Martha was one of the first, not the first, but one of the first really
outstanding women lawyers that the firm hired. It was just very shortly after I left
we'd had a woman or two before that but Martha was a significant hire. Again I
think she will tell you if you talk to her that he always encouraged her and tried to
think of things that would further her career. Ultimately she became, I think she
was the first woman who became president of the American Bar Association and has continued to be a member of our firm. She's going into her retired status this year I think but she had a wonderful legal career and I'm sure she attributes a lot
of her success to Chesterfield. You might want to talk to her.

D: She's on the list [laughter]. Often the legal profession is described as a fraternity.
What were some of the ways that women proved their status as peers among
the men established in the field?

G: I think for a while men probably took a position that they weren't as competent. I
imagine that was probably the view of some of the people. I had four daughters
and when they were growing up, the first two I didn't think about them being lawyers. It just didn't occur to me that I would encourage them to be lawyers
because there weren't very many women lawyers. I was in a law school of two or
three or four hundred and there were only eight women in the law school at the
time. But then as time went on and women became more acceptable I kind of
tried to encourage my last two daughters, it didn't work [laughter].

But I tried to encourage them to be lawyers because I could see at that time that women were coming into their own and certainly, and I think ultimately once they
got past the feeling of a lot of lawyers that it wasn't something women ought to
be doing they proved their competence simply because they were good. A lot of
their grades in law school were better than men. I think at least fifty percent of








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 12

law schools are women now as far as I know. It just took a while for the lawyers and the judges I guess who were male judges to recognize the skills they had. I
think the feeling was litigation at least was rough and tough stuff and women aren't up to it. Well that isn't true. So it's like a lot of things it was gradual and
sometimes difficult for women I'm sure.

D: Looking over Chesterfield's long list of achievements I'm kind of struck by the
fact that he never sought public office. Could you explain why?

G: I don't know. That's right, he never did. I think he felt like he, for whatever
reason, for do more on his own. To the extent that he would influence, he could
do it better in the position he was. But I don't know I never talked to him about
him running for anything. He talked to me about it because he knew I got sort of
interested in being a judge. And he would promote others. I can't tell you that, I
don't know.

D: You never got any sense that he was being actively recruited for elected office?

G: I suspect that he was but I don't remember any specific instance where I knew
that somebody was trying to get him to be in public office or run for public office.
I would not be surprised to learn that...let me put it another way, I suspect that
from time to time people did ask him.

D: Could you describe his influence over the firm in the last few decades of his life?

G: Ultimately others became in a position of so-called managing partner. One of his
favorites was Bill McBride who came along after him [Bill McBride is a wellknown lawyer who served as managing partner at Holland and Knight before
running for Governor of Florida in 2002]. But even when he was not in
management he could when he wanted to, exercise a great deal of influence on
something. So he kind of kept his hand in a little bit. But probably in the last
fifteen years he didn't have the title anymore and therefore was not in the day to
day management. But if something came up in a given matter that he felt
strongly about it he could usually get his way. Perhaps not always, but usually.

D: Did you get any sense for what he was doing when he was kind of disengaged
from the firm, was he active...

G: Oh he was still very interested in the success of the firm. Even to the extent of
seeking clients and working with folks that might want to retain us for, so he was not disengaged from the firm but he was not involved in the active management
of the firm.

D: Did he ever make a mistake that he regretted to you?








CSP-001; Grimes; Page 13

G: You know I'm sure he made mistakes, as we all do. But I don't remember him
particularly talking about anything, anything in particular. He took strong views on
some things, some things I didn't agree with.

D: Could you give an example?

G: Well no, I'm talking about firm management, not social views but firm
management. I don't think I can give you a specific example. From time to time he may have said, we'd hired a lawyer and he may of said later on maybe that
was a mistake or something like that.

D: Did he make any enemies?

G: Well I'm sure he made enemies because he was so outspoken. But I don't think
he cared [laughter].

D: What do you think his lasting impact is on the practice of law in Florida and the
nation?

G: I like to think it's for, as he said "do good." I think he had a good impact. He
certainly raised the public awareness of the need for law and order and justice
and to follow the law and made no bones about it. Strong advocate of legal
ethics and as you mentioned the bar as a fraternity. But he wanted lawyers to recognize that they had an obligation to the public not just to be successful or make a lot of money or something that they had an obligation to the public to
give back because we were better educated than most people. He certainly
wanted to uphold the dignity and the professionalism of the bar generally. I'm not
sure I said that very well but... [laughter]

D: I think, Mr. Grimes, that pretty much covers it unless you have some other things
you'd like to share. Or any random memories you could think of that would be
useful for future historians.

G: No, I don't think so. You know I just remember him always saying "do good." He
believed that and in his way I think he did. I certainly have personal gratitude for
everything he did for me.

D: Thank you very much.

[End of Interview]







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