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Among the financial cognoscenti, Mark Haines is a cult figure, the sardonic, but well-informed host of "Squawk Box" CNBC’s signature weekday morning show. While others may watch Katie Couric talk to families of escaping brides or Regis Philbin banter with the latest sitcom rage, those Wall Street in-the-knows are glued early mornings to Haines' wit-laced grilling of sometimes unwary CEOs.
When he was in his middle 30s, though, Haines was hungering for a career change. He had become an itinerant local TV news anchor, moving from WPRI in Providence to WABC in New York to KYW in Philadelphia. KYW’s ratings were miserable and morale was lousy. It was the mid-1980s and Haines figured he had one good mid-life crisis move in him.
"I was burned out and fed up and I knew the place I was working wasn’t good for my mental health," said Haines. "I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to apply to law school. I had done it in 1969 soon after graduating from college, but I didn't get in. I figured, 'This is the time'."
He told virtually no one at the station that he was taking the LSATs, on which he did well. By fall, he left what most would consider a glamorous and lucrative TV anchoring career for the grind of law school, starting at Rutgers-Camden before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania for his second year.