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Two Good Books, Lots Of Great Tales

Publication Date: 
September 04, 2013
Washington Lawyer
Jacob A. Stein

A quote from Professor Barbara Babcock in the book "How Can You Represent Those People?" is cited in this Washington Lawyer article in regards to how unusual it was for a woman to want to be a criminal defense lawyer in the early 1960's. 

Years ago, many years ago, the criminal bar was located on 5th Street between D and F. The judges appointed the 5th Streeters to represent the criminals who could not afford to hire counsel. Despite the fact that there would be no payment, we eagerly took the assignments. We wanted to be in a courtroom, and in the very serious cases, we might get our names in the newspapers, The Evening Star an the Times-Herald.

One of the local judges said that the 5th Streeters would take a lost cause and ride it horseback over the rim of hell. All that has been changed by the Public Defender Service.


Abbe Smith and Monroe Friedman, two very distinguished lawyers, have just put together a book titled How Can You Represent Those People? published by Palgrave, McMillan. It is a collection of essays by those who have taken that horseback ride.

For instance, Barbara Babcock (Yale Law School, clerk for Henry Edgerton of the D.C. Circuit, and assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice) says about Those People: "I always wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer, which was even more unusual for a woman in the early 1960s than wanting to be a lawyer at all. ..." She said that she "had a fixed belief that lawyers had a high moral duty to defend--the more heinous the crime, the greater the duty."