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Vol. 4, Iss. 8
August 26, 2015

Congratulations Alan Page: Football Legend -- and Coverage Opinions Interviewee
and Lesson Teacher -- Hangs Up His Robe After 22 Years



When it comes to lawyers who have done unique things – the combination that I look for in Coverage Opinions interviewees – Alan Page is hard to top. The Professional Football Hall of Fame Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle, and 34th greatest to play the game according to The Sporting News, hung up his cleats in 1981 and then spent 22 years as a Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. That’s not a combination you see every day. Earlier this month the handsome, bowtie wearing Justice Page put his robe on a hanger and retired from the Court. He was obligated to do so under the court’s mandatory age 70 rule.



I had the privilege of interviewing Justice Page for the September 18, 2013 issue of Coverage Opinions. I asked him about his time on the field and the bench, the Page Education Foundation and wonderful children’s book -- Alan and the Perfectly Pointy Impossibly Perpendicular Pinky -- that involves his, well, perpendicular pinky. Lots of former professional football players have life-long injuries from the gridiron, but surely none as odd as Justice Page’s. I never get tired of looking at it.

The interview of Justice Page was unique as it was my first via telephone. Previously I had been conducting them in the form of written Q&A. I offered this format to Justice Page but he preferred the phone. To be sure, I was as nervous as a turkey in November. I had never spoken to a Pro Football Hall of Famer before – not to mention a Supreme Court Justice. But it went great and, most importantly, I learned a very valuable lesson – interview people by phone and you get significantly more, and more interesting, information with which to tell your story. Needless to say, the subject gets into stories, and goes off on tangents, that would have never happened in a written format. Since the Justice Page experience I have done almost exclusively telephone interviews.

What comes next for Justice Page? A recent article in Minneapolis’s Star Tribune pointed to more time to exercise, spend with his four grandchildren and visit his Minnesota cabin, as well as plans to take a sausage-making class (to complement a maple syrup enterprise). Justice Page plans to write more children’s books and take a more active role in running his education foundation. Teaching young children how to write may also be on his horizon (something he discussed with me).

By the way, as far as I can tell, one of the last two opinions that Justice Page authored was Sleiter v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company (August 5, 2015) – involving UIM coverage. I just knew that that Coverage Opinions interview turned him into a big fan of insurance.

Congratulations Justice Page on your retirement and thank you for the opportunity to interview you for Coverage Opinions and the serendipitous lesson to come out of it.

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