One of my colleagues asked me soon after John died, "How could someone live to be eighty-nine years old and yet there is no one who had a bad word to say about him?" This is an intriguing question. It is not because John Pickering did not have strongly held views about things. Anyone who ever tangled with John in crafting a brief knew how tenacious he was. John was direct and candid and you knew where he stood on any matter. It is not because John was easygoing. When he saw something that he wanted changed, he did not take no for an answer. He was relentless and tireless. It is not because he was not demanding. Working for John was hard work. He set high standards for himself and he expected you to work at the same level.
William J. Perlstein,
Tribute to John Pickering,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol104/iss2/10