Recently digitized: Legal Services During the 1971 Mayday Demonstrations

Between April 28 and May 7, 1971, over 12,000 people were arrested during a series of anti-war protests in Washington, D.C. – it became known as the largest mass arrest in U.S. history. Along with many volunteer attorneys from the ACLU and other organizations, over forty attorneys from DC’s Public Defender Service played a critical role in providing emergency representation for the detainees, many of whom had never before been arrested. This Special Report of the Board of Trustees of the PDSDC, chaired by Samuel Dash, details the activities of the PDS staff during the Mayday protests. The digitized report is now available in Digital Georgetown — permalink:



Book reviews

In the past years, To Establish Justice for All: The Past and Future of Civil Legal Aid in the United States by Earl Johnson Jr. (Praeger, 2013) has been reviewed numerous times. Reviews by Art Gilbert in the L.A. Daily Journal, Jan. 26, 2014, and by Toby Rothschild in the MIE Journal, vol. 28, are available on the on the book’s website:

Victor Geminiani reviewed it for the Clearinghouse Review, Vol. 2015, Issue 5, and Alan Houseman wrote a reflection, published in the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy, vol. 23, no. 2.

Transcript of interview with Brooksley E. Born available online

A transcript of the oral history interview with Brooksley Born, conducted by Alan Houseman in June 2015, is now available online. In the interview, Brooksley Born, retired partner at Arnold & Porter, discusses her public service and pro bono work, which she pursued using the firm as a base. Together with Marna Tucker, she started teaching the pioneering “Women and the Law” course at Catholic University in 1972, while also being involved in the formation of the Women’s Legal Defense Fund. In 1973, she helped to launch the Women’s Rights Project at CLASP, which later became the National Women’s Law Center. Other topics include her extensive work with the ABA, where she has chaired the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, and the Consortium on Legal Services and the Public. Born was the first woman to be appointed to the ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary, and, with Marna Tucker, founded the ABA Women’s Caucus. She also discusses her tenure as the chair of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 1996-1999, where she urged that the over-the-counter derivatives market should be subject to federal oversight and regulation. The government’s failure to regulate that market was later criticized as a major cause of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. “What was important to me,” she said, “was always trying to look clearly at a situation and see the dangers for people who were not represented or spoken for, and I think I was doing the same thing at the CFTC as I was doing on SCLAID or the National Women’s Law Center. It was the American public that was endangered by the over-the-counter derivatives, and I felt I should voice their interests and try to represent them…The lesson that I’ve learned throughout my life is that you can’t be silent about the needs of others that you see.” (Transcript, p. 30) Ms. Born has received many awards recognizing her work in the areas of women’s rights, legal aid, public interest law, and her public service. In 2009, Born was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in recognition of her political courage to sound early warnings about the dangers of the unregulated derivatives market. Born has overseen ABA’s Women Trailblazers in the Law oral history project, capturing the experiences of women pioneers in the legal profession.

Transcript of the oral history interview with Brooksley E. Born, conducted by Alan Houseman on behalf of the NEJL Oral History Project, June 22, 2015, online at Digital Georgetown.

Upcoming event: Panel Discussion: The Antioch Law School, Engine of Change April 2, 2016

Announcement cross-posted from H-DC

When: Saturday, April 2, 2016, 2 – 4 PM

Where: Anacostia Community Museum, Program Room

Related Exhibition: Twelve Years That Shook and Shaped Washington, 1963-1974

Program description: Join in on this discussion that looks at the history of this influential school that would eventually become the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.  Panelists include Antioch School of Law Co-Dean and Co-Founder, Edgar CahnSandra Mattavous-Frye, Antioch graduate and current People’s Counsel in DC, and Shelley Broderick, Dean, David A. Clarke School of Law at UDC.  Antioch alum, Jonathan Smith will be the panel moderator.

The Antioch School of Law supported an “open-admissions” policy which afforded many low-income African American students in the district the opportunity to obtain a quality post-secondary education during the 1970s.