Barbara A. Babcock

Barbara Allen Babcock (July 6, 1938 – April 18, 2020) was the Judge John Crown Professor of Law, Emerita at Stanford Law School. She was an expert in criminal and civil procedure and was a member of the Stanford Law School faculty from 1972 until her death.[1]

This article is about the California-based law professor Barbara A. Babcock (1938-2020); for the Arizona-based cultural studies professor Barbara A. Babcock (1943-2016), see Barbara A. Babcock (folklorist); for the American actress born in 1937, see Barbara Babcock.
American legal scholar
Barbara Babcock
Barbara Allen Babcock

(1938-07-06)July 6, 1938

Died April 18, 2020(2020-04-18) (aged 81)

Nationality American
Education University of Pennsylvania
Yale Law School
Occupation Law professor
Spouse(s) Thomas C. Grey
Website Women’s Legal History Biography Project

. . . Barbara A. Babcock . . .

Born in 1938 in Washington D.C.,[2][3] Barbara Babcock was raised in Hope, Arkansas, and then Hyattsville, Maryland. Inspired by the stories told by her father, Henry Allen Babcock, who was a lawyer in Arkansas, Babcock aspired to become a lawyer at an early age. In her middle school yearbook, Babcock listed becoming a lawyer as her life’s ambition.[4]

Babcock received her undergraduate degree in 1960 from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a Woodrow Wilson scholar, and valedictorian of the College for Women.[5] At Yale Law School, Babcock earned the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize for best oral argument in the first year and served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She graduated Order of the Coif in 1963.[5]

Following her graduation from law school, Babcock clerked for Judge Henry Edgerton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and worked for the noted criminal defense attorney, Edward Bennett Williams, who founded Williams & Connolly LLP.[1] She served as a staff attorney and then as the first director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia from 1968 until 1972.[1]

In 1972, Babcock joined the faculty of Stanford Law School. Babcock became the first woman appointed to the regular faculty, the first woman to hold an endowed chair, and the first professor emerita.[1] While she also received offers to join the faculties of Harvard Law School and Yale Law School, Babcock preferred Stanford’s campus, climate, and culture.[6] During the Carter Administration, Babcock took leave from Stanford to serve as assistant attorney general for the Civil Division in the U.S. Department of Justice, becoming the first woman to hold that position.[1]

Babcock was known nationwide for her research on the history of women in the legal profession and, in particular, for her biography of California’s first woman lawyer and founder of the public defender, Clara Shortridge Foltz (Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz, Stanford University Press, 2011).[7] The book received positive reviews from Dahlia Lithwick, who described the book as a “riveting,” “unforgettable tale,”[8] and from U.S. Supreme Court JusticeRuth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote that the book was “a powerful reminder of women’s strength in the face of adversity, their will to overcome difficulties, and, together with sympathique brothers-in-law, to work toward a system of justice accessible and fair to all.”[9]

At Stanford, Babcock taught courses on Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Women’s Legal History.[5] Babcock also launched the Women’s Legal History Project, a compilation of biographical and historical information on pioneering women lawyers.[10] In 1975, Babcock published the nation’s second casebook on sex-based discrimination and the law,[11] and in the early 1970s, she taught the first “Women and the Law” courses at Georgetown and Yale.[12]

A distinguished teacher, Babcock was the only four-time winner of the John Bingham Hurlbut Award for Excellence in Teaching at Stanford Law School.[13] She also received the Society of American Law Teachers Award for Distinguished Teaching and Service. Babcock won many other honors and awards, including the American Bar Association‘s Margaret Brent Award, which recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers.[1] She also was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Puget Sound School of Law and the University of San Diego School of Law.[5]

After retiring, Babcock continued to write and publish.[6]

. . . Barbara A. Babcock . . .

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. . . Barbara A. Babcock . . .

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