Fourth-generation banker sees value in law school education

The Daily Record - 12/17/19 | Written by: Heather Cobun

A law school education teaches a way of thinking that has benefits in fields besides the law.

Banker Frank K. Turner Jr. knew he would not be practicing law by the time he graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1983 after four years in the evening program. Now the chief commercial banking officer for Howard Bank, Turner said his law school education nevertheless has been useful in his career.

“I don’t think the time was wasted because a legal education gives you a way to think and analyze facts,” Turner said.

Turner, whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all in the banking industry, graduated from college in 1978 with a degree in history and began working at Mercantile Bank.

But Turner was interested in pursuing a law degree — especially since it would be partially funded by his employer — while he decided what to do career-wise.

“Truth be known, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I (was) covering my bases,” he said. 

Turner said there was no “extraordinary lightbulb” moment in the ensuing years while he worked at the bank during the day and went to law school at night. But by the time he graduated, his job at the bank had become more focused, leading him to decide to stay in banking.

“Going to law school at night is not like you might envision. It was a second job. You went to work every day, and when your friends are leaving at the end of the day, you’re going to school,” he said. “It was hard work, but I was happy I did it.”

Turner sat for the bar exam successfully, though he is no longer active.

“The bar exam is no fun either, but I figured if I spent all that time going to school, I might as well take the bar,” he said.

Law school courses proved helpful in his job, Turner said.

“You did learn how to review contracts and we read a lot of documents,” he said. “I think it prepared me well to continue to go ahead in my banking career.”

He also found the analytical skills taught in law school applied to financial issues.

“Just like in the law, the facts are different, every situation is different, and that’s something I can use and put to use (in banking),” he said.

Turner said one of his children may follow his path to law school: His 23-year-old son is considering whether to take the LSAT.

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