Robert J. Zastrow

Profile Updated: June 5, 2010
Residence: McLean, VA USA
Spouse/Partner &
Year Married or
Years Together:
(include maiden name
if applicable)
Christine Whitney 1994
Occupation: Attorney
Children's Names & Year of Birth: Cynthia Noel Whitney (1983)
Yes! Attending Reunion
Mobile Telephone:

703 244-2002


After graduating from NTE, I flew alone for the first time in my life: to Yale. Six years after leaving my country school (see my "favorite" NTE memories below for context), I was debating William Westmoreland and Richard Holbrooke at college seminars. I financed my stay there by researching a best seller, Walter Lippmann and the American Century.

Upon my arrival at Harvard Law, I had another moment of pure terror. I was 21, and in my first class, I was seated in front of Barney Frank and next to a pleasant fellow who had been a full professor at Indiana. I wondered what I was doing there.

A boring interlude followed as an associate in a Wall Street law firm. Life was nasty, brutish and unfortunately not short enough for me. I fled in 1980 and became a Federal prosecutor. My first night on trial assignment, the DEA arranged a drug buy at the table next to me in the law library.

My trial experience qualified me for a partnership on Wall Street shortly after my return. I developed offbeat clients: rogue British metal traders, an executor who stole shopping centers from his niece and nephew, a revolutionary junta seeking the assets of its deposed dictator, and a Pentecostal church seeking refuge from both sides in a brutal civil war. While others were handling bankruptcy cases, I was running a clandestine network in El Salvador and chasing deposed dictators for their money. Ultimately Haiti got the dictator’s money; the dictator’s wife divorced him and married my adversary. The Salvadorean war ended and my church clients returned to preach the Gospel.

It was time to leave, so I became one of the Clinton Administration’s senior antitrust trial lawyers. Within days of my arrival, a classmate recruited me for a costume party blind date. My future wife Christine and her friends arrived in a brand new Jaguar sedan -- the driver was dressed as a pirate and wielded a saber out the front window. We were married in a classic Anglican church six months later, where to the amazement of my New York friends, a stained glass window of Robert E. Lee kneeling in prayer with George Washington blessed the ceremony.

Christine builds elegant houses. Our house in McLean is surrounded by 14 acres of forest and 20 foot azaleas. Our house on Boston’s North Shore overlooks a working lobster fleet and the downtown skyline. It was built in 1874. Our daughter, formerly a National Cathedral chorister, Fox TV model and MIT math graduate, is a Harvard Med doctoral candidate in neuroscience

Favorite School Memories:

The horrid and the hilarious, all on my first day.

I transferred from a high school in Winona, Minnesota with a class of 90. I was the only male on the dean's list. A friend’s family once served a huge plate of corn at dinner so that we could all have something to eat.

I can still feel the body numbing fear that accompanied my arrival at NTE.
It seemed bigger than my former town. Ultimately I found both my locker and homeroom. I made plans to have lunch with the guy in the desk across from me.

The horrid.

After history class, two classmates who shall go nameless approached me. The shorter one said "[y]ou must be Zastrow. We're told that you will drop us all down one person in class standings. We're going to hate you.” The tall guy (hence, no act of physical violence on the shorter one) said “[s]o what is it going to be for you, Harvard or Yale.”

That night I looked up Yale in our Brittanica and found it was fairly close to New York.

The hilarious.

I recovered and met my classmate at lunch. He escorted me to a table As we were making introductions, I noticed that everyone was Jewish. I had never met a Jew before. I turned to him and said "You know, I've always had a question. I'm told that Jewish people put something really garlicky in their food and it's called Kosher."

We became good friends throughout high school and thereafter.

Junior High School Attended:

Cathedral (Winona)

High School Attended: (NTE, NTW, or name of another school)


Colleges Attended & Degrees:

Yale, BA, 1974
Harvard, JD, 1977

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