Thursday, September 30, 2010
Robert S. Cohen, a divorce attorney who has represented Christie Brinkley and James Gandolfini, says his favorite trophy isn't his country home or his soon-to-be-renovated Manhattan apartment. It's the title "professor."
Every Monday in the fall semester, Mr. Cohen rides the 2 pm Amtrak Acela train from New York City to Philadelphia, where he is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Earlier this week, a driver shuttled him the few blocks to Gittis Hall on campus, where he grabbed coffee in the faculty lounge, chit-chatted with students and stopped by the dean's office.
At 4:30, with the jacket of his pinstriped suit off and a microphone clipped to his tie, Mr. Cohen welcomed the 33 students to his class, Anatomy of a Divorce. By 6:30, class had adjourned, and he headed to the White Dog Cafe, where he treated five students to what he called "a tablecloth dinner." He hopped into a waiting town car at 9 and was back in Manhattan by 11.
In a time of inconspicuous consumption, an adjunct-professorship at a prestigious university is a coveted token of success among finance, law and media professionals. ...
The University of Pennsylvania pays Mr. Cohen about $5,000 a semester, but he donates more than that to the law school each year. His travel expenses and the dinner tab set him back $1,000 a week—"but it's less than my hourly rate," he says. ...
A university has much to gain from well-chosen professional adjuncts, including cachet and credibility. And adjuncts also form a potential donor pool.