About Josh Karp

Josh Karp Articles written 24

Josh Karp is the author of three books: A Futile and Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever, which was made into a Netflix feature film starring Will Forte; Straight Down the Middle: Shivas Irons, Bagger Vance, and How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Golf Swing; and Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of The Other Side of the Wind. He co-produced the award-winning Netflix documentary They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, and his magazine work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Playboy, AirMail and other publications. He has a J.D. from Loyola University (Chicago) and an M.A. in journalism from Northwestern University.

Articles written by Josh Karp

The Eternal Optimist

A minister’s son, Deere & Co.’s Jim Jenkins credits his father for his worldview

The epiphany came during an embryology class in college in the 1960s. Jim Jenkins was in the midst of an exam, peering into a microscope with instructions to identify, describe and draw what he saw. “I thought, ‘This isn’t what I want to be doing,’” he says. “The ‘solution’ I was looking for wouldn’t be found under a microscope.” Despite scoring highest in the class on the exam, Jenkins dropped the pre-med course and switched his major to philosophy with the intention of …

The Game Changer

Elsa Cole, the NCAA’s first GC

Neither a former jock nor a rabid sports fan, Elsa Kircher Cole wasn’t entirely aware of the public and media perceptions of her new employer until she took on the task of creating the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s legal department in 1997. “I didn’t understand how misunderstood we would be,” says Cole, vice president for legal affairs and general counsel of the NCAA. “We get a lot of scrutiny about what we do, and most people’s mistakes aren’t exposed like ours …

Family Man

Jack Butler Jr. adopts distressed companies

In November 2001, Jack Butler Jr. was in Michigan with his family. It was the first Thanksgiving he would celebrate as a father and the last he would share with his mother. Thanksgiving morning the phone rang. It was about Enron. The energy company, which just a year before had posted $101 billion in revenue, was sinking beneath the weight of a financial crisis that would see its market value decrease by 99 percent and its shares trade at $0.61 by Nov. 28. So that evening, instead of eating …

The Big Cheese

McDonald's GC Gloria Santona has ketchup running through her veins

When Gloria Santona started out with the McDonald's legal department in the 1970s, there was a space-age-style room at the company's Oakbrook, Ill., headquarters known as the "think tank." Soundproof and enclosed with a hatch, it was a distraction-free place where executives could unwind, cook up big ideas or tangle with complex business problems. Today the think tank is long gone, but Santona is still there. Unlike that trendy piece of '70s corporate chic, she has grown with the company and …

Something He Mostly Liked

Dan Reidy on Operation Greylord and the needs of the client

In the lower-middle-class neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago where Dan Reidy grew up, everyone's father held down two jobs and his was no exception. Frank Reidy worked days at the post office and nights as a bookkeeper at a meatpacking company. It gave him a sense of perspective about what one did with one's life-something he imparted to his college-age son when they were discussing the future. Reidy, a former seminarian who concluded that the priesthood sounded lonely compared to a …

More Than a Game

Jeff Schwaber has raised $3 million (and counting) for D.C.’s homeless

The best player to take the floor in the annual Home Court charity basketball game between the Georgetown Law School faculty (Georgetown Loyas) and members of the U.S. Congress (Hill’s Angels) was neither Maryland’s Tom McMillen nor New Jersey’s Bill Bradley—two legislators who once played in the NBA. No, the best player was Washington Redskins wide receiver Gary Clark. Clark was supposed to referee but insisted on playing. The Angels agreed to take him on and the results weren’t …

We Are Family

Relatives who play and work well together

For 20 of the 28 years Sally Merrell and Ely Leichtling have been married, they’ve been partners at Quarles & Brady in Milwaukee. During that time, they’ve been careful to mingle separately at firm parties in order to be viewed as individual professionals rather than as “a married unit.” For the most part, they’ve made it work. Sometimes, though, they’ll be on the elevator having a decidedly nonlegal conversation about home life when they’ll notice a confused look on the face …

Air Sperling

Frederick J. Sperling’s low-key approach wins cases—and clients like Michael Jordan

One evening in 1998, attorney Fred Sperling sat in his Glencoe living room doing something fairly routine for Chicagoans back then—he watched the Chicago Bulls play a game en route to an NBA championship. At one point during the game, Michael Jordan made an astonishing shot that left Sperling momentarily stunned. Mouth agape, he said what was undoubtedly being repeated in living rooms all over Chicago: “He’s absolutely amazing!” One of Sperling’s three children piped up …

If Life Gives You Lemons, Call Vincent Megna

The Waukesha attorney finally found his niche at 46: representing Davids against automotive Goliaths

In 1990, a Chrysler employee contacted the Waukesha, Wis., law firm of Jastroch & LaBarge. The man’s new Chrysler, fitted with a lift to accommodate his disabled daughter, wasn’t working properly: The transmission leaked and slipped, and after five trips to the dealer it still wasn’t fixed.   The personal injury attorney who took the call knew nothing about lemon laws. Neither did 46-year-old Vince Megna, now 62, who’d joined the firm two years before and had practiced only …

The Team Player

Dennis Archer has been a state Supreme Court justice, two-term mayor of Detroit and president of the ABA — and he still considers it a privilege to practice law

This January Dennis Archer did something fairly ordinary for a man of his stature. He stood in a crowded Michigan courtroom and delivered a compelling argument. “Nothing bothered him,” says Mark Dover of Kansas City’s Shook, Hardy & Bacon, national counsel for Miller Brewing Company, and Archer’s co-counsel in a class action lawsuit against the company. “He knew the important points to make and how he wanted to make them. It was like he and the judge were the only two people …

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