When reviewing correspondence files from the early 1990s, the NEJL archivist recently discovered an unpublished manuscript: Experiences of a Legal Aid Lawyer by Junius L. Allison [ca. 1993]. Allison (1909-2003), who was originally from North Carolina, worked at Chicago’s Legal Aid Bureau in the 1940s and joined NLADA’s staff in 1953. From 1962-1971, he served as the organization’s Executive Director. Allison’s manuscript includes detailed recollections of his work for the Chicago Legal Aid Bureau in the 1940s, and his work for the NLADA in the 1950s and 1960s, where he closely cooperated with Emery A. Brownell. From an archivist’s perspective, Allison’s memoirs are also interesting, because they include descriptions of the contents of NLADA’s library in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as descriptions of some of NLADA’s promotional projects, such as the launch of the “Justice” TV series in 1953. The manuscript can be reviewed at the NEJL.
The NEJL also holds a few collections that document the development of public interest law more broadly, beyond the history of legal services. One of these is the Center for a New Democracy collection on campaign finance reform. The Center for a New Democracy, a project of the Tides Foundation, was established in 1991 to promote democratic reform through research, public education, litigation, and community organizing and training. A particular focus was on public financing of elections and fair voting reforms. The CND existed until 1996, and Donna Edwards served as its director from 1994-1996.
The collection (NEJL 064) was donated to the NEJL in 1996, and it includes case files and other materials related to state ballot initiatives in favor of campaign finance reform in the mid 1990s: Missouri Proposition A (Carver v. Nixon and Shrink v. Maupin); Minnesota (Day v. Holahan); California (Pro-Life Council PAC v. Jan Scully); Colorado (Colorado Right to Life Committee v. Victoria Buckley, Secretary of State); Montana (Right to Life Ass., et al. v. Robert Eddleman, County Attorney); Maine (Maine Right to Life Committee v. Federal Election Comm.); Oregon (Center to Protect Free Speech, Inc. v. Oregon); Washington, D.C. (National Black Police Assn. et.al. v. DC Board of Elections and Ethics).
In addition, the collection includes a range of reports, pamphlets, and articles (gray literature) on campaign finances in various states and in the U.S., including statewide surveys of “American Attitudes Toward Money in Politics” conducted by Bannon Research on behalf of the Center for a New Democracy in Massachusetts; Montana, Maine, Oregon, Colorado, and California.
Of particular local interest in Washington, D.C. are the materials related to Initiative 41, a 1992 ballot initiative that limited contributions to $100 for the election cycle for district-wide races and $50 per cycle for Ward races. The Center for a New Democracy and the DC community group DC ACORN, a principal supporter of the initiative, undertook a study to analyze the early impact of Initiative 41 on elections in the District. The collection also includes case files from National Black Police Association v. District of Columbia, 108 F.3d 346, 348-49 (D.C.Cir.1997). The case challenged the constitutionality of the new D.C. law as imposing “unprecedented limitations on the right of individuals and groups to contribute, and of political candidates to accept, contributions in support of campaigns for elected public office.”
A collection inventory exists, and the collection can be accessed at the NEJL.
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: https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/handle/10822/1041061
Mark Elliott Budnitz. The National Consumer Law Center from Its Birth to 2013. Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-06, available at SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2700720
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: http://www.toestablishjustice.com/page1/page1.html
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.
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.
The NEJL Oral History Project continues. This week, Alan Houseman conducted a series of eight interviews with long-time staff attorneys at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Stay tuned for more details.
The digitized report can be downloaded from Digital Georgetown:
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 Cahn, Sandra 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.