WASHINGTON, DC (July 22, 2004) – Drawing praise from reviewers as well as his congressional peers, Venable partner James E. Rogan has embarked on a multi-city book tour to discuss his just-published autobiography, Rough Edges: My Unlikely Road from Welfare to Washington.
A former two-term California Congressman, Mr. Rogan served as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and head of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, a post he held until rejoining Venable this past January. As a member of the Judiciary Committee that sought to impeach President Clinton in 1998-99, Mr. Rogan emerged as an outspoken conservative on Capitol Hill.
Rough Edges (Harper Collins and Regan Books) recounts Mr. Rogan’s earlier years, revealing a life far from the corridors of power in Washington. Mr. Rogan, 46, was the illegitimate son of a bartender and cocktail waitress. He grew up without knowing his father, while his mother was a convicted felon on welfare. Raised by his longshoreman grandfather, he was expelled from high school and fell into a variety of jobs, including bartending in a Hell’s Angels biker bar and working as a bouncer.
Ironically, it was a young Bill Clinton, then a young Arkansas lawyer, who advised Mr. Rogan to study law when the two met in the 1970s. Mr. Rogan gained an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and went on to law school at UCLA. As a young Assistant District Attorney in Los Angeles County, he prosecuted members of the notorious Crips and Bloods as a member of the elite “Hardcore Gang Murder” unit. He went on to become a criminal court judge and state legislator, before being elected a congressman from Southern California in 1994.
The Wall Street Journal called Rough Edges “rich” and “ultimately rewarding” in a review published July 9. The book also received praise from a cross-section of Mr. Rogan’s political allies and opponents alike. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Mr. Rogan’s memoir “both inspirational and instructive and should be read by everyone who believes they can’t make it in America.”
Willie Brown, former Democratic Mayor of San Francisco, also called the book “truly inspirational – until you get to the part where he becomes a Republican!” Former Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde said of Mr. Rogan’s blunt, pugnacious account, “When they make a movie out of this story, they’ll need an actor one-third Mickey Rooney, one-third Jimmy Cagney and one-third John Wayne.”
“The response to the book has been gratifying,” Mr. Rogan said. “Maybe that is because the book is more about the American Dream than it is about me. I hope people will find it inspiring, a fun read, and draw a few lessons from my mistakes and difficulties along the way."
Mr. Rogan served two terms as a Republican Member of Congress, representing the Los Angeles area. He was one of the 13 House managers selected to prosecute the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton before Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and the U.S. Senate. While in Congress, he served as Assistant Majority Whip; he also was a member of both the Speaker’s and the Majority Leader’s “Kitchen Cabinet” advisory groups. He was also one of only two members of the House to serve on both the Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
Before his election to the House, Judge Rogan served from 1994 to 1996 in the California Assembly, where he became the first freshman to ever hold the position of Majority Leader. As an assemblyman, the California Journal named him the Assembly’s most effective legislator and ranked him “Number One in integrity” and “Number One in effectiveness.”
From 1990 to 1994, Mr. Rogan served as a judge in the Glendale Municipal Court (now the Los Angeles County Superior Court), where he was the youngest sitting judge in California. He was elected presiding judge by his colleagues in 1993. Earlier, he was named as one of the state’s most effective prosecutors byCalifornia Lawyer magazine. He began his career in private practice as a litigation associate in a Los Angeles law firm.
Mr. Rogan earned his J.D. (1983) from UCLA School of Law, where he was a member of the UCLA Law Review, and his B.A., (1979) from University of California at Berkeley. Judge Rogan and his wife Christine were married in 1988; they have twin daughters.
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