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Did you have a Professor Kingsfield?

Steve Lash//August 2, 2010

Did you have a Professor Kingsfield?

By Steve Lash

//August 2, 2010

As reported in today’s Maryland Lawyer, many former students of the late University of Baltimore law professor Royal G. Shannonhouse III will remember him — quite fondly — as the school’s answer to Charles W. Kingsfield Jr., the contracts professor in the novel, movie and television series The Paper Chase who made his students’ life a living hell.

The most memorable scene from the 1973 movie — and one that now seems quaint in an era of cellphones — is when Kingsfield, played by John Houseman, reaches into his pocket and tells student James T. Hart in front of the whole class, “Mister Hart, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer.”

Hart, played by Timothy Bottoms,  responds to the professor’s comment by calling him “a son of a bitch.”

But Kingsfield, as is his wont, gets in the last word: “Mr. Hart, that is the smartest thing you’ve said all day. You may take your seat.”

Who was your Professor Kingsfield? Tell us about him or her in the Comments.

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