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Washingtonian Magazine Features Mortimer Caplin in Special JFK Issue
Caplin & Drysdale

Washingtonian Magazine Features Mortimer Caplin in Special JFK Issue

Date: 10/30/2013

In a special issue commemorating "50 Years After JFK," the November edition of Washingtonian Magazine features Mortimer M. Caplin, the founding member of Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered.  Mr. Caplin discusses in the article "'Ask Not': The Shift in Public Service Since JFK's Famous Appeal" the significant changes in public service from when he served as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service during President Kennedy's administration.  He states "It was a privilege to be there." "I don't see much recognition of the significance of public service today."  For the full article, please visit Washingtonian's website.

Below is an excerpt from the article along with a photo of IRS Chief Mortimer M. Caplin with his family in 1963.

Kennedy didn't invent the notion of government service as duty of citizenship. "I went to the University of Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson said there is a debt of service from every man to his country," says Mortimer Caplin, for whom the Public Service Center at UVA's law school is named. Caplin taught law there to JFK's younger brothers, Robert and Ted, in the 1950s. In 1961, he became commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and brought the agency into the computer age, prompting Time to put him on its cover.

Now 97, Caplin still goes to his office at Caplin & Drysdale, the law firm on DC's Thomas Circle where he has practiced since 1964. Wearing a trademark bow tie, he speaks jovially but deliberately, in a light Southern drawl, of the golden age of public service under Kennedy: "It was a privilege to be there." He hardly has to add, "I don't see much recognition of the significance of public service today."

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