Kirkland & Ellis
Computer Science Major
From a blacksmith, to a Green Beret, to a Harvard Law graduate,
John Doyle '02 has developed a varied career that has now led him
to a new position as a lawyer in the Chicago firm of Kirkland & Ellis.
Most recently, he has also been a lawyer working for a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C.
How has your Knox experience affect the course of your life?
Knox was where I learned to work very hard at the task at hand, and how to fit plenty of outside interests and fun pursuits around that. That has been my key to happiness ever since.
How has your Knox experience made an impact on your career?
I have jumped around a lot in my career, from being a blacksmith, to being a Green Beret in the Army, and now a lawyer. I think the diversity of my work experience is partially a reflection of the broad, varied education I enjoyed at Knox. I wouldn't trade either -- the career or the education -- for anything.
What would surprise your former classmates about you now?
I haven't played the drums in years, and everyone just calls me "John" now. To the extent anyone knew who I was at Knox, it was because I played with the jazz combo every Thursday night at Cherry Street. Back then almost everyone called me "Paco."
What's the most important thing you learned at Knox outside the classroom?
The stars look better from the Knox Bowl than almost anywhere else, and you gotta pace yourself on Flunk Day.
Any advice you would give to high school students undertaking their college search?
I think the secondary education market is tough, and maybe a little broken. I would advise any high school student to do a hard cost-benefit analysis of the schools they're considering. You have to make sure the value is there.
Describe a memorable class, experience, or professor and the impact it had on you.
The Honors project I completed at Knox is still among the things I'm proudest to have produced. I wrote a chess program that analyzed positions and chose moves based on certain "principles of beauty." Professors Sahnny Johnson and John Dooley were incredibly helpful and supportive while I worked through the project. Getting my Honors approved was a great feeling, and to this day I keep in my desk a copy of the accompanying paper I wrote.