The path to a distinguished trial practice at Williams & Connolly began for Robert P. Watkins in a housing project in Roxbury, a segregated Boston neighborhood. But Bob Watkins was exceedingly motivated, diligent, and talented, and he progressed through Boston Latin, Harvard, the U.S. Army, Columbia Law School, the Justice Department, and a clerkship with Judge William Bryant to become an Assistant United States Attorney and section head in Washington, DC, and finally to his decades-long law firm partnership. In his oral history, Watkins reminisces about his many experiences – his upbringing and education; his civil rights work in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964; his role for the Civil Rights Division in enforcing voting rights in Alabama; his service for the ABA in evaluating and reporting on judicial
nominations, including to the Supreme Court; and, most of all, his numerous criminal and civil trials, including with his legendary partner Edward Bennett Williams. James McKeown, who conducted Watkins’s oral history, has prepared a summary of its many high points.