A Celebration of Women at Yale Law School: Barbara Babcock

August 9, 2019

Set for the 2019-2020 academic year, Yale is planning campus-wide celebrations of 50 years of women at Yale College, and 150 years of women in the graduate schools. Yale Law Library has started its celebration early.

Currently on display in the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Reading Room is the first installation in our series, “A Celebration of Women at Yale Law School,” showcasing the life and career of the Honorable Barbara Allen Babcock ’63.

The first woman appointed to the regular faculty, as well as the first to hold an endowed chair and the first emerita at Stanford Law School, Professor Babcock has taught and written in both the fields of civil and criminal procedure for many years. She has also pioneered the study of women in the legal profession.  Most notably, she is the author of Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz, (Stanford Press, 2011), a biography of the first woman lawyer in the west, and the founder of the public defender movement.

Before joining the Stanford faculty in 1972, Professor Babcock served as the first director of the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia. On leave from Stanford, she was assistant attorney general for the Civil Division in the U.S. Department of Justice in the Carter administration

Professor Babcock is an alumna of Yale Law School, graduating Order of the Coif in 1963. While at YLS, she earned the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize for best oral argument in the first year and served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Upon her graduation from YLS, Professor Babcock clerked for Judge Henry Edgerton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and worked for noted criminal defense attorney, Edward Bennett Williams. Professor Babcock is a distinguished teacher, being a four-time winner of the John Bingham Hurlbut Award for Excellence in Teaching at Stanford Law School. She is also a recipient of the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award as well as the Society of American Law Teachers Award for Distinguished Teaching and Service.

The exhibit was curated by Jordan Jefferson and Lisa Goodman and will be on display through December 2018.