Tim Russert may have been in television for a quarter-century, but the 1976 law school grad didn't leave the bar completely behind.
Russert's New York bar registration was still active when he died today in D.C. at age 58, according to the New York State Bar's Web site. The NBC newsman earned his law license in 1977 after graduating from law school at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Ohio. He still served on the law school's advisory board at the time of his death.
His time in legal practice, however, was relatively short. The Buffalo native went to work in Washington as chief of staff for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) in 1977 and then worked to help elect New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1982. But television journalism soon beckoned. He joined NBC in 1984, and took over as "Meet the Press" host in 1991. (The New York Times has more on Russert's political life here.)
His legal training, however, came in handy as he bored in on subjects on "Meet the Press," and when he was called to testify in the trial of I. "Scooter" Lewis Libby in 2006. (For Legal Times coverage of the Libby trial and Russert's role, click here.)
As Tom Brokaw noted (quoted here via The New York Times), Russert was deeply uncomfortable with his role in the Libby trial "partly because he was on crutches but mostly because he was on the witness stand. He was 'faulted,' Mr. Brokaw noted, for stalling and asking Mr. Libby’s lawyer to repeat his questions, but Mr. Brokaw said Mr. Russert knew what the lawyer was up to and he was 'playing his own game back against him.'"
MSNBC has continuing coverage about Russert's life and sudden passing.