From Law to Film

My segue from law to filmmaking in 1969 came after two years with Lord, Day & Lord in New York; three years living in Zomba, Malawi, on direct contract with its government as an Administrative Officer and Parliamentary Draftsman; and serving as Vermont Tax Department’s Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel during Democratic Governor Philip Hoff’s last two-year term. (A note on the 1994 demise of Lord, Day & Lord: In a lengthy New York Times article titled “Oldest Law Firm is Courtly, Loyal and Defunct,” an associate was quoted saying “What I liked about the firm were the very reasons it couldn’t last.” I knew what he meant.)

A frustration during those seven years after law school was using my hands primarily to turn pages. Since childhood I’ve delighted in building things. Accordingly, I jumped at the chance to become an independent filmmaker when the Ford Foundation in New York, the Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College, and several other non-profits asked if I would produce documentaries on their successful projects. All had seen two short films I had made on a cooperative youth project put together by Vermont Governor Hoff and New York City Mayor John V. Lyndsay shortly after the Kerner Commission Report cane out in 1968.

At that time, and continuing for decades, filmmaking was a tactile craft employing a variety of elegant and sophisticated cameras, sound recorders and sprocketed machines. These days, when visitors stop by my studio, I tell them they are entering Jurassic Park — see photos and links at Unlike today’s computer based digital file-making, traditional film elements are spliced and edited by hand. Yes, a dazzling array of new editing options and special effects are now available in the digital domain. But I’ve long maintained that if you can’t tell your story using only fades, cuts and dissolves, find another story.

John Karol


Frequently Asked Questions

Upon graduating from Deerfield, alumni enter a diverse network of former Deerfield students. Deerfield alumni have ventured into almost every area of employment, and many are at the top of their respective fields. The advantages of this vast network are numerous and significant, as every member of the Deerfield family receives the following:

Alumni are also eligible for alumni awards, such as the Ashley Award, Heritage Award, and the Mimi Morsman Award.

There are no membership fees or dues for members of the Deerfield family, but Deerfield does ask for assistance in a few areas. First of all, in order for Deerfield to have the most up-to-date records possible, we encourage members to keep us apprised of their current contact info. Alumni are also urged to direct all concerns and suggestions regarding Deerfield’s operations through the Executive Committee, the governing body of the Alumni Association. The committee acts as the voice of the alumni body, and works closely with the school administration. In order to keep tuition affordable and the quality of a Deerfield education at its highest, the Academy depends upon the continuing support of alumni and their families. This support can take the form of annual or capital gifts, or time spent volunteering on behalf of Deerfield.

There are Deerfield Clubs in many major American cities. Please visit here for more information on specific clubs and their sponsored events. 

Of course! Be sure to read the latest issue of From Albany Road in your email’s in-box for current news of what is happening on campus. As we also send out periodic invitations, it’s always best to make sure we have your current physical address. And if you do plan on visiting campus, why not tell us ahead of time?

Contact the Office of Advancement

7 Boyden Lane, PO Box 306
Deerfield, MA 01342