The Law School has posted a fascinating interview featuring BARBARA BABCOCK, the Judge John Crown Professor of Law, Emerita, talking about her new book, Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz, published by the Stanford University Press.
According to the Press website, “Woman Lawyer tells the story of Clara Foltz, the first woman admitted to the California Bar. Famous in her time as a public intellectual, leader of the women’s movement, and legal reformer, Foltz faced terrific prejudice and well-organized opposition to women lawyers as she tried cases in front of all-male juries, raised five children as a single mother and stumped for political candidates. She was the first to propose the creation of a public defender to balance the public prosecutor. Woman Lawyer uncovers the legal reforms and societal contributions of a woman celebrated in her day, but lost to history until now. It casts new light on the turbulent history and politics of California in a period of phenomenal growth and highlights the interconnection of the suffragists and other movements for civil rights and legal reforms.”
In an interview with Rorotoko.com, Babcock said, “I have two rather large wishes for this book – first that Clara Foltz’s purposeful life will inspire female lawyers and their male allies in the project of restructuring the legal profession to accommodate the lives of women.
“Second, I hope that understanding the history and original purpose of public defense will give support to the current movement to provide an effective lawyer for every accused person and in Foltz’s words, to achieve ‘free justice.’
“When I graduated from law school in 1963, only 3 percent of the nation’s law students were women. We thought we had few predecessors, little history, no heroines. But it turns out that we just didn’t know about our foremothers in the law. Today we are recovering the experiences of the first wave of women lawyers.”