Dean Katherine Shelton Broderick
Oral History Project
The Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
Oral History Project United States Courts
The Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
District of Columbia Circuit
Dean Katherine Shelton Broderick
Interviews conducted by:
September 19 and 28, 2016
November 28, 2016
March 21, 2017
May 3, 2017
December 7, 2018
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. i
Oral History Agreements
Katherine Shelton Broderick…………………………………………………………………………. iii
Robert Gross …………………………………………………………………………………………………v
Oral History Transcripts of Interviews
September 19, 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………….1
September 28, 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………..28
November 28, 2016………………………………………………………………………………………41
March 21, 2017 ………………………………………………………………………………………….133
May 3, 2017 ………………………………………………………………………………………………174
December 7, 2018 ………………………………………………………………………………………204
Index …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. A-1
Table of Cases and Statutes …………………………………………………………………………………B-1
Katherine Shelton Broderick……………………………………………………………………..C-1
Robert Gross …………………………………………………………………………………………..C-2
The following pages record interviews conducted on the dates indicated. The interviews were
recorded digitally or on cassette tape, and the interviewee and the interviewer have been afforded
an opportunity to review and edit the transcript.
The contents hereof and all literary rights pertaining hereto are governed by, and are subject to, the
Oral History Agreements included herewith.
© 2019 Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit.
All rights reserved.
The goal of the Oral History Project of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia
Circuit is to preserve the recollections of the judges of the Courts of the District of Columbia
Circuit and lawyers, court staff, and others who played important roles in the history of the Circuit.
The Project began in 1991. Oral history interviews are conducted by volunteer attorneys who are
trained by the Society. Before donating the oral history to the Society, both the subject of the
history and the interviewer have had an opportunity to review and edit the transcripts.
Indexed transcripts of the oral histories and related documents are available in the Judges’
Library in the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C., the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, and the library of the
Historical Society of the District of Columbia
With the permission of the person being interviewed, oral histories are also available on the
Internet through the Society’s Web site, www.dcchs.org. Audio recordings of most interviews, as
well as electronic versions of the transcripts, are in the custody of the Society.
Transcripts resulting from 7 interviews of Katherine Broderick on the following dates:
Date Number of mp3 files Pages of Transcript
September 19, 2016 2 1-39
September 28, 2016 2 40-68
November 28, 2016 2 69-116
March 21, 2017 3 117-163
May 3, 2017 3 164-237
December 7, 2018 2 238-262
Epilogue 1 263-194
The transcripts of the 7 interviews are contained on one DVD.
Transcripts resulting from 7 interviews of Katherine Broderick on the following dates:
Date Number of mp3 files Pages of Transcript
September 19, 2016 2 1-39
September 28, 2016 2 40-68
November 28, 2016 2 69-116
March 21, 2017 3 117-163
May 3, 2017 3 164-237
December 7, 2018 2 238-262
Epilogue 1 263-194
The transcripts of the 7 interviews are contained on one DVD.
Transcripts resulting from 7 interviews of Katherine Broderick on the following dates:
Date Number of mp3 files Pages of Transcript
September 19, 2016 2 1-39
September 28, 2016 2 40-68
November 28, 2016 2 69-116
March 21, 2017 3 117-163
May 3, 2017 3 164-237
December 7, 2018 2 238-262
Epilogue 1 263-194
The transcripts of the 7 interviews are contained on one DVD.
Oral History of Dean Katherine Shelton Broderick
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of The Historical
Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewer is Robert Gross, and the
interviewee is Dean Katherine Shelton (“Shelley”) Broderick. The interview took place at Dean
Broderick’s home in the District of Columbia on Monday September 19, 2016. This is the first
Mr. Gross: Shelley, what is your full name? Let’s start there.
Ms. Broderick: My name is Katherine Shelton Broderick.
Mr. Gross: Shelton. Is that named after anybody?
Ms. Broderick: I’m named after my great- great-grandfather on my mother’s side, someone who
fought for the South in the Civil War, finely enough.
Mr. Gross: What year were you born, and where?
Ms. Broderick: I was born November 21, 1951 in Portland, Maine, at Mercy Hospital, which
was the Catholic hospital.
Mr. Gross: You said you have some Southern side of your family, but were both your
parents born there? How did you get there?
Ms. Broderick: It’s actually an interesting story. Both of my parents were half-Irish and halfEnglish. Both of them split between the high-rent district and the low-rent
district. For example, my father grew up in Boston with a father who had a 5th
grade education, was entirely self-taught, a voracious reader, and he owned a
trucking company and made lots of money in the trucking moving business in
Boston, and he married up. He married Alice Bell, who was what was called
Lace Curtain Irish, from an educated family. My grandfather worked and did
the cooking, and my grandmother had a fur coat, and I guess, more or less
raised the kids, although my father would have said his father ruled the roost
with an iron fist.
And then on my mother’s side, my grandfather, William Butler Flynn, was
the first in the family to be educated. He went to Boston College and didn’t get
along at all with his father, so he left and became a reporter in St. Louis, and
ultimately made his way south and southwest, and ultimately became a wild cat
oilman and made a lot of money as a wildcatter. Made and lost lots of money.
Unfortunately right before he died in a car crash in his 40s, he had lost it all, but
they lived very well. My mother went to Catholic boarding school, and in the
1920s was allowed to fly home on a plane. She was the best student who ever
went to that school, according to her, by some measure in her later years. She
said that it was because she was so badly behaved, she was constantly in
detention and had nothing else to do but study. Her mother was the classy one,
Catherine Heard Flynn. Shelton Heard was my great-grandfather was a federal
court judge in Texas.
The family was mostly from Mississippi. Shannon Station, Mississippi.
My younger brother is John Shannon Broderick. Catherine Heard, my
grandmother, was college educated, as was her mother, unusually enough. She
married what they called Bogged-Trotten Mick from Boston. So we had the
lace curtain and the Bogged-Trotten in our family. Well represented on both
sides. Actually, my grandmother was English, and, again, quite the aristocrat.
Her grandmother, Ida Shelton, was raised by President Polk. Her parents died
when she was young, and she was raised by the people in the adjoining
plantation in Tennessee. So it’s a very mixed bag.
So daddy went to Notre Dame, played football at Notre Dame. He was
injured his freshman year, but did play football in the early 1930s. My mother
went to Radcliffe. She was put on a train at the age of 16 and spent three days
getting to Boston, and she went to college in Boston, and mother and daddy met
at a picnic, and that was all she wrote. So daddy got a job with DuPont and
ultimately with General Motors and moved to Maine, which is where the whole
family fell in love with Maine. Two of us, the youngest two kids in the family,
were born in Maine.
Mr. Gross: Was there a General Motors plant in Maine?
Ms. Broderick: Daddy was in charge of sales for Chevrolet trucks from Maine,
New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Mr. Gross: You were born in Maine. You mentioned you have a younger brother. Are
there other siblings, and how many?
Ms. Broderick: There were four of us. Anne Bell Broderick Zill is ten years older, and after
thirty years inside the Beltway and raising her children here, came here
originally as a Nader’s Raider and stayed and did wonderful things, she now
lives back in Maine and runs a little museum in Portland. The next was five
years younger. The prince was born after the princess, my sister. The prince,
Peter, was born, and he was born in Boston. Peter was a retired Captain in the
Army. When he was 22, he was very badly wounded in Vietnam and spent a lot
of time in and out of the hospital recovering from stepping on a landmine in
1969, when I was a senior in high school. He married and had three fabulous
children, and he died five years ago, unfortunately, heartbreakingly, of cancer at
the age of 63. And then five years after Peter came me, Katherine Shelton
Broderick, and 13 months younger, we had the miracle, not the mistake, John
Shannon Broderick, as the Irish say.
Mr. Gross: The miracle, not the mistake.
Ms. Broderick: You notice three children, five year plan between each one, and then oops.
Mr. Gross: What was it like growing up in Portland and in Maine?
Ms. Broderick: I grew up in a little town, a little lobster fishing village, called South Freeport,
18 miles north of Portland along the water. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. I had
a blissfully happy childhood swimming and sailing and skiing and sledding and
building forts in the woods and playing baseball. I just had a blast. I loved it.
Mr. Gross: Where did you go to school? Was it Catholic schooling all through?
Ms. Broderick: Apparently you haven’t been to Maine where everyone except for some
Somalian refugees is Congregationalist, WASP, English, and we were the exotic
minority. We were Catholic. So I went to public schools. I demanded to go to
school when I was 5, and the public schools wouldn’t take me because I was too
young. So my mother put me in private school in Portland where my sister
went to high school, Waynflete Academy. Just for first grade, and then I went
into the public school, a four-room school house, with first and second grade in
the same room, third and fourth in the same room. And then I went uptown in
th grade, moved up to Freeport, which at that time was a thriving megatropolis
of 5,000. A shoe factory town, and LL Bean, notably, was there. And of course
now it’s huge and fancy and like a giant beautiful shopping mall in old
clapboard houses, but then it was just an ugly shoe factory town. I went to 5th
grade there, and then I moved over to the junior high school, so I was in
different schools 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grades, and I’m not letting
you get a word in edgewise. How did we happen to move to Boston?
Mr. Gross: How did we?
Ms. Broderick: My father died in 1960. He had a heart attack when I was a month old, and they
gave him six months to live. He lived eight years. He died at 44 of a heart
attack. His brother died at 44 of a heart attack a few years later, and the third
brother had a heart attack at 45, and my brother, who is the exact physiotype,
had a heart attack at 47 or so but is in good shape because they had bypass. The
third brother, by the time he came along, they had invented bypass surgery, and
he lived into his 70s. Anyway, daddy died in 1960. My mother, whose parents
had died and whose brother had died in a freak dynamite explosion on the oil
fields, was really alone and left with four kids. She got the best job she could
working in the state mental hospital. After all, she was a literature major at
Radcliffe, so she was perfectly prepared to do that. Not. She did that for three
years. She went to her 25th reunion at Radcliffe and came home – why I
remember this, I have no idea – but I remember that she had been to the Fine
Arts Museum and the Mona Lisa was on exhibit, and she had also seen a Brach
painting, black on black, the beginning of modern art, and thought it was
ridiculous, and had met Father Robert Drinan, who was the President of Boston
College, somehow at her reunion. He convinced her to go to graduate school,
so my mother announced “I can’t make a living here. We’re going to move to
Boston, and I’m going to go to graduate school.” So at the age of 45, she
packed us up and moved out of our big old house in Maine into a one-bedroom
apartment in Boston.
Mr. Gross: You were how old?
Ms. Broderick: I was 11. I shared a room with her, and one brother had the breakfast nook, and
one brother had the foyer. My sister had just graduated from college and living
in New York City. She got married that next year.
Mr. Gross: Your sister?
Ms. Broderick: Yes. My sister. My mother never remarried. She went to Boston College
graduate school and was first in her class in Urban Planning and graduated in
1965. I should add, I was chatting with Ralph Nader the other day and telling
him that – he’s celebrating the 50th anniversary of Unsafe At Any Speed, his
consumer book – and we had a 1960 Corvair, the very car that that book is
written about. My father worked for General Motors, so when he died, they
took his company car back. A friend of his helped my mother buy the new cool
Corvair, which was not such a good idea, and in fact it broke down, and we
didn’t have a car for a while because she wasn’t making money. When she got
a job as Director of the Poverty Program in Chelsea, Massachusetts, part of
greater Boston, she was able to move us into a three bedroom apartment and
buy a car.
Mr. Gross: Did you finish high school in Boston?
Ms. Broderick: I went to 7th grade in a slum school right across the way from where Skollay
Square, the slums, had been torn down. So it was brick and rubble as far as the
eye could see, literally 50 square blocks of city torn down with a Catholic
church sitting in the middle of it that we would walk through the rubble to get
to. It was like being in bombed out Berlin or something. It was very strange. I
went there for 7th grade, and then they closed that school, the junior high school,
and moved us into another Boston public school called the Prince School, so I
went to that school for a year. And then we moved to a suburb right across
from Boston College, Brighton/Chestnut Hill, on the line, right by the
Cardinal’s residence. I went to Catholic school. My mother couldn’t find a
military school to put me in, so an all-girl, private Catholic school was the best
she could do, so she sent me to Mt. Alvernia Academy.
Mr. Gross: Did your brothers go to military school?
Ms. Broderick: No. They had to go to Catholic boarding school. That’s how badly behaved
Mr. Gross: So by the later years of high school, it sounds like the Vietnam War was going
on, and you mentioned that your brother was in Vietnam. Was he drafted?
Ms. Broderick: Both of my brothers were severely dyslexic. They were extremely smart and
hated school because they got A over F for everything they ever did. It was
incredibly frustrating. Peter got into college, having gone to three different high
schools because of moving and various things, and he went into the Army not
really, I think, appreciating the likelihood that he would go to Vietnam. He was
so smart that he tested into Officers Candidate School and was one of a tiny
number of high school graduates to get through it. He became a 2nd Lieutenant,
which is about the last thing you wanted to be in Vietnam. He actually was,
after Officers Candidate School, sent out to Monterrey, California, to Ft. Ward.
He was the happiest guy in town. He met the woman he would marry, fell in
love in California. He made it to First Lieutenant and then got his orders for
Mr. Gross: Do you remember lots of family discussions about Vietnam at the time, or more
broadly, was your family a politically oriented or active family?
Ms. Broderick: Deeply Democratic politics. So my mother was at Radcliffe when Jack
Kennedy was at Harvard, and she remembered dancing with him. We talked
about politics all the time at home, and we were not allowed to watch much
television, but we watched the Huntley Brinkley news report every night and
followed politics very closely. I remember being forced to listen and watch the
debates in 1960, Nixon/Kennedy. I was in 4th grade, and I was the only
Democrat in the class.
Mr. Gross: And maybe the only Catholic too.
Ms. Broderick: [Laughter]. Right. So I had to play Kennedy in the class debate, and actually
Kennedy got the votes. My class voted for Kennedy. I’m sure their parents
Mr. Gross: New England Republicans.
Ms. Broderick: Yes. So we moved to Boston in 1963 in September, and Kennedy was killed
the day after my 12th birthday. I got a diary for my 12th birthday, and the very
first entry was the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Every
church bell in Boston rang for days. It felt like 24/7. It was not unlike being in
Washington, D.C. around 9-11. Every store was closed for days with black
crepe paper and photographs of the Kennedy family. We watched non-stop
television coverage of it. We drove down to the boarding school where my
older brother was to get him. I remember Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald
that day. We went to get my brother Peter from boarding school so he could be
with the family at this terrible time. We talked about politics endlessly.
My mother’s office was next door to the Mayor of Chelsea at that time,
and she listened to him take bribes routinely, and it scared her. She felt that he
was mob-connected and that she was in jeopardy because she wasn’t going to
keep quiet about that. She was really scared, so she accepted a job in New York
City, and in the middle of my sophomore year, moved the two of us to
Manhattan where she took a job with HUD Model Cities, perfect for urban
planning. So I went to a different Catholic high school in Manhattan,
Dominican Academy, which was famous for having an annual bridge team
where one wore gloves, white gloves, and a hat and so forth.
Mr. Gross: What was it like moving to all these different places? Were you excited?
Because these are neat places to move to on the one hand, on the other hand, it
sounds like you’re moving every three or four years.
Ms. Broderick: Every five minutes, it felt like. It was a different school every year, so we had
to do what we had to do. There wasn’t any choice about it. I was heartbroken
to leave Maine. I had loads of friends, and I loved it there. There was a magic
to it. It was beautiful. It just felt like the best place you can possibly be, and I
was heartbroken to move to Boston. We got to Boston, and I loved Boston. We
used to go to museums all the time. The Science Museum just opened, and we
went there all the time, and the Gardner, and the Fine Arts Museum. My
mother didn’t have any money, but we didn’t realize that because Boston had
the Boston Pops. We lived walking distance from the Charles River. You
could walk over to the Esplanade and see the Boston Pops for free all the time.
And they’d have the Boston Art Festival, and art, you know, Andy Warhol, the
first time I ever saw Andy Warhol, there’s the picture of the can of tomato soup.
I mean, this is art? Huh, how interesting. It looks like a can of tomato soup to
me. But you could walk through the Public Garden and see art, and you could
go to the movies in a big-city movie theater. You could go see the Red Sox and
sit in the bleachers for very little money. I had all these Irish uncles, and they
would take us to play miniature golf and bowling. Big-city life was really fun.
Totally different. We had to leave our bikes in Maine, so we didn’t have bikes,
but we learned how to take the street car. We could take the street car out to
Brighton to visit my cousins.
Mr. Gross: The cities kept getting bigger, so Manhattan.
Ms. Broderick: New York City in 1967, it doesn’t get better. I saw Mame, and Hello Dolly, and
Man of La Mancha, and the ballet. You could go to the ballet on a student
ticket for $2.00, and you could go to the Vivian Beaumont Theater and see these
extraordinary, Joseph Papp-produced plays. If you studied French, you’d go see
a Moliere play in French. Or you’d go see Shakespeare. You’d go see all kinds
of experimental, avant-garde things. Everyone was very bright in my school
and interesting, a lot of talk about politics. Lindsay was the Mayor. I wore a
button that said, “Give a Damn,” and I was far and away the most political
person I think in my class.
I got very involved with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
They did a city-wide initiative in groups of about 40 or so. They brought three
kids from a bunch of different high schools on five Tuesdays. So for five
Tuesdays, three of us from my private Catholic school, and three kids from
Bedford-Stuyvesant High, and three kids of Xavier Military Jesuit School,
where Scalia went, which was one of our brother schools. There were two
private Catholic boys’ schools that were like our brother schools, so we dated
boys from either Regis, who were the nerdy brainiacs, or Xavier, who were the
fun guys. I went with both [laughter]. All kinds of anti-war demonstrations and
civil rights activities were happening in New York.
Mr. Gross: You were there in 1968, and New York City didn’t have a major riot like the
place you would come to a year later.
Ms. Broderick: 1967, 1968, 1969 were incredibly vibrant times in the civil rights movement.
Mr. Gross: Was that your first exposure to activism in New York City as a high school
Ms. Broderick: I was in Boston when Louise Day Hicks – Jonathan Kozol wrote a book I’m
not certain of the pronunciation actually, called Death in Early Age about the
Boston public school system, and I was there then. My 7th grade teacher,
Mr. O’Neill, used to have the two black guys in the class, Jimmy Bone and
Johnny Walker, stand and march to the back of the classroom and face the wall
from time to time, and he would peg erasers at them from time to time. And I
couldn’t understand this seemingly inappropriate behavior. Everything was
different in the city. In Maine you had a 50-acre playground. In Boston, the
alley on the side of the school was the girls’ playground, and the alley behind
the school was the boys’ playground. You didn’t get to play with the other sex,
and it was in an alley. Everything was different, so it didn’t see right, but I
didn’t understand it. So I told my mother, and the very next day – I will never
forget as long as I live – my mother, who was 5’ 2” and under 100 pounds,
unlike me in any way, and always had perfectly coiffed hair and earrings and
high heels. I remember putting me on a bench in the hall outside the principal’s
office, and I remember those heels click click clicking down the hall to knock
on the principal’s door, and find out what was going on in the 7th grade
classroom with Mr. O’Neill and these two kids. Mr. O’Neill was fired. So they
moved the 7th grade in with the 8th grade because they couldn’t get another 7th
grade teacher to come to the slum school. The 8th grade teacher was very angry
at this turn of events, and so she made us do gigantic long division problems all
day, every day. You know, 5,725,395,241 divided into whatever, and check
Mr. Gross: You’re sending a great message about when a parent complains about a rightful
abuse of teacher, this is the payback, right?
Ms. Broderick: Or something. The Christmas party we had, one vanilla wafer and a little Dixie
cup, and we had to sit in silence at our desk, and that was the party. We read
two books in 7th grade. We read Evangeline, which I believe includes by the
shores of Gitche Gumee, and we read Johnny Tremain. The latter, I loved
[laughter]. I had the same history book in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade in three different
schools. My education was checkered, to say the least. We had sewing in 7th
grade, and we had these ancient sewing machines that had a foot pedal that you
had to operate to get it going. Sewing kept me off the honor roll [laughter]. I
made an apron, but I never made the other things. The teacher finally finished
my apron the last class. When I presented it to my mother, she was no doubt
delighted that this tacky apron made out of I’m sure quite flammable material
wasn’t anything that occurred naturally. I know that.
Mr. Gross: So your career as a seamstress was nipped in the bud early. You’re in high
school, and you do go to college, which makes sense given that both your
parents were college educated, and you came down to American University.
Why there, and what was that experience like? You haven’t left since, so that’s
a significant life decision it turns out in retrospect.
Ms. Broderick: That’s for sure. I knew that my mother was going to move back to Boston. I
would have bet a lot of money that she would move back to Boston. She really
loved Boston. She was living in New York City, so that ruled those two cities
out for college. That kind of left Washington in my Northeast Corridor
thinking. My older sister, who was my hero, was married, and she and her
husband were Nader Raiders in Washington and they had these adorable little
ones. They had twins who were born in 1964. So they were 5 years old, and
Arianna was 2 years old. So I moved down to Washington. I had never heard
of any of the schools except Georgetown, which was Catholic, so that ruled that
out. American had the nicest campus, and so I chose American, and I went to
Mr. Gross: What did you study? Did you know what you wanted to study when you got
Ms. Broderick: In high school I thought I might become a lawyer. I started off as a political
science major, and I was a sociology major and a communications major, and
ultimately a psychology major. I worked my way through college. I was really
lucky. I was a teaching assistant every year from sophomore year on, every
semester of every year, and sometimes for two courses. I designed a course
called Phanatimemesis, which was about the psychology of death. Believe me,
it was more remunerative than working in the cafeteria at school. I had to work,
and I was paying my own way. My mother took me into her bedroom and
showed me the box, and she said this is where your student loans are. I have to
sign them because you’re 17 and you have to be 18 to be able to legally incur
debt, but these are your loans, and next year they’ll be yours. It was clear on
who was paying these debts. I had a grand time freshman year discovering
every anti-war demonstration, pot smoking, and all of the amazing activities that
went on around Kent State. My freshman year was when we shut the school
down. I got every grade from A to F. I had grades I had never seen in my life.
And then sophomore year I had straight A’s both semesters, and I had only one
or two B’s ever again in college. So it was pretty easy and a lot of fun, but I
also always had a serious side. I worked on the school hotline, the midnight to
4:00 a.m. shift, which was a lot of bad drug trip calls, suicide concerns, and
things like that. I interned at Lorton prison as a psychology major.
Mr. Gross: Where was Lorton prison?
Ms. Broderick: Lorton prison was the District of Columbia’s prison, and it was in Lorton,
Virginia. I didn’t intern there. I interned at the Euclid Street halfway house for
inmates within six months of release, but I had classmates who were interning at
Lorton and it sounded fascinating. They hated it. They were terrified. They
didn’t want to go. It sounded fascinating to me. The teacher worked at Lorton
prison, and I just wore him out to get me a job. I got a job right after college at
Lorton prison. I did group therapy with inmates at Lorton for a year, or not
quite a year because I broke my leg in a car accident. I was funded by a grant,
but I did good therapy out there and one day a week I was in town helping the
families of inmates. When dad goes to prison, oftentimes mom really struggles
financially and has a great need to find a way to provide winter clothes for the
kids and so forth. So I helped with family services for the families of guys
locked up at Lorton.
Mr. Gross: At this point, are you thinking that’s a career for you? It’s sort of on the therapy
side, or did this actually expose you more to how legal and law can help solve
these problems? I’m curious what happened next in terms of your thinking.
Ms. Broderick: See, you could do direct examination very effectively. I loved psychology. I
studied a lot of behavioral psychology, and I found it very, very interesting
intellectually. My natural predilection would have been to major in history or
English literature because I loved reading history and literature, always have
from a young kid. But I was pragmatic. Why am I going to pay someone to
have me take classes on stuff I’m going to learn on my own anyway? I’m going
to take classes in things that I wouldn’t otherwise do. So that led me to
psychology, and I really liked it. But working at Lorton prison as a 21-year-old
white girl, college-educated, and unbelievably fortunate in life, I didn’t feel like
I was making a valuable contribution. As much as I cared and wanted to, I did
not think I was benefiting. I helped a guy get his poetry published and helped
families, but it just didn’t seem like the right path for me. I was outraged by the
waste of human beings. There were countless men locked up for something
they did when they were very, very young and just kind of thrown away. They
had tailoring classes. None of these guys wanted to be tailors. They had cars to
work on being a car mechanic. All the cars were really old, and none of the
guys were going to work on those kinds of cars. It was a waste, a terrible waste,
of these guys who were lovely for the most part. It made me start thinking
After the car crash, there was no public transportation – I had had my first car, a
1965 Plymouth Valiant with 3 on the tree and jaguar floor mats that my older
brother Peter gave me. But I couldn’t drive it there because my right leg was in
a cast for four months. So I got another job at Big Brothers of the National
Capital Area. I was in charge of case work, and I wrote lots of grants, and I also
paired lots of men with boys. I went around to military installations and talked
to guys about being a role model for young boys who didn’t have dads. It was
something I knew a lot about having grown up without a father for the most part
and knowing that that would have been very helpful for my brothers. So I did
that. Then one day my friend Steve Jones, he was studying for the LSAT, and
for some reason he was doing that at my dining room table, and he looked up at
me and he said, “You were put on this earth to be a lawyer.” And I said,
“What?” He said, “No, you were put on this earth to be a lawyer. You know
that, right?” I got a bunch of applications to law school and went to law school.
Mr. Gross: When you were at the prison or working with inmates or in the Big Brother
program, did you encounter lawyers? Did you see lawyers in action, or did you
not see lawyers in action and wondered why?
Ms. Broderick: I never knew any lawyers. In college, I took a course called Film and
Revolution. I actually can say that I went to college in the 1960s because I went
in September of 1969 as a freshman, so I was there for a semester of the 1960s,
but the 1960s that you hear so much about really happened in the 1970s. I took
a course called Film and Revolution, and the TA was an older guy with a really
cute pony tail, a black pony tail. David Paglin was his name, and David used to
come to parties. I lived in a big group house, and David used to come to our
parties and he brought this older nerdy guy called Allen Nuda who kind of
looked like, he had grown up men’s shoes on, a suit, and a boring tie and nerdy
glasses. But he was really smart and interesting, and I got to be friends with
Allen. He was a big inspiration also for me to go to law school. He gave me a
biography on Justice Brandeis, and he gave me a biography of Felix
Frankfurter, and he also gave me a wonderful album, Parkening Plays Bach,
one of my favorite albums to this day. Of course I now have it in other formats.
Allen was a lawyer, so he was this one guy who would talk about his cases, and
that really interested me. I had a much older boyfriend. I had a boyfriend who
was a physiological psychologist at NIH, 17 years my senior, Jewish and twice
divorced. This guy was every mother’s dream come true for the Irish Catholic
lass. We probably never would have gone out, but we went on a picnic in the
Catoctin Mountains and had a car wreck and broke our legs so we kind of
convalesced together. He was an experimental psychologist and had a very
interesting set of friends doing important and interesting things and it just kind
of helped me to kick in gear to think about the next step and to really think
through what I wanted to do, and I decided to go to law school.
Mr. Gross: You went to Georgetown?
Ms. Broderick: I did. At night.
Mr. Gross: At night? So you were still working?
Ms. Broderick: I was going to go to Fordham because Fordham offered me a lot of money.
They showed me some love. But I had a boyfriend here in Washington.
Mr. Gross: You were prepared to break your no-New York City and no Catholic school
Ms. Broderick: That’s right. I decided to go to Georgetown kind of at the last minute, and I
went at night. It was way more expensive than Fordham, but I had given up my
job at Big Brothers because I was going to go to New York, but then at the last
minute, I decided to go to Georgetown. I worked at the law library. I used to
make people give me limericks before I would give back their IDs. I remember
being there working in the law library when Justice Douglas died. So I went to
law school at night, and I worked, and I hated it. Absolutely hated it. I was
heartbroken. I was so disappointed. I thought it was going to be about civil
rights. I had no idea that it was going to be about contracts and property and
business, things I had no interest in at all. None. I liked my classmates. They
were interesting and eclectic, but I really wasn’t interested in the subject matter.
Through a classmate who worked for Tip O’Neill, I got a chance to work on the
Alaska Pipeline in 1976, the summer after my first year of law school, as a
teamster in Prudhoe Bay, which is up on the Arctic Ocean, up at the top of the
pipeline. I got two friends, two guys, to go with me. I worked as a teamster, I
drove a forklift and worked in a warehouse, mostly I worked in the warehouse.
Occasionally I got to drive the forklift. In Prudhoe Bay, there were 5 women
and 395 men. We were arranged in three camps, Happy Horse, Crazy Horse,
and Dead Horse, and I lived in Crazy Horse. I worked in a warehouse 7 days a
week, 12 hours a day for the summer, and I made $10,000. So I switched to the
day program. I was never going to make four years at night, and I took 19
credits and graduated in three years.
Mr. Gross: I’m so interested about this teamster job. That’s so fascinating. What were the
people like up there? What were the men like? Did you interact with them?
It’s interesting the different kinds of people you’re surrounding yourself with is
what I’m noticing.
Ms. Broderick: There was barely anybody there for the summer. I was very comfortable. They
were what we would term blue-collar guys. I grew up in a town that was full of
blue-collar guys. A lot of my family is blue collar in Boston, working for the
moving company and stuff. Some very well-educated, some not so welleducated. My cousins I always say are cops and robbers. Enough said about
that. They were working guys. They were pipefitters and carpenters and iron
workers. My mother was horrified. At first she was pretty taken aback when I
went to law school. I really didn’t even tell her. When I thought I was going to
go to New York, I sent her a postcard from the Kennedy Center saying the next
time you hear from me, I’ll be living in New York because I’m going to go to
Fordham Law School. I don’t know why I was so independent, I was just very
independent. And then I went to Georgetown, and I had a week off so I
borrowed somebody’s car, I forget whose, and drove to Boston and spent a
week with my mother right before I started law school. I remember at mass on
Sunday she introduced me to one of her friends and, “Shelley’s about
Georgetown Law School,” and her friend said, “How unfeminine.” My mother
hated the idea of my going to work on the pipeline. She thought that was very
dangerous. My brother had hated the idea of my working at Lorton Prison. He
had borrowed my car one time. He drove out with me and was just horrified.
There were criminals working around, and she’s in jeopardy. My mother really,
really was scared about my going to the pipeline, and I promised to write her
every day, and actually, when she died, I got this giant stack of letters, and I did
send her a postcard every single day from Prudhoe Bay, usually saying what I
had eaten for dinner. The teamster contract called for $25 per meal, per
teamster, so I bulked up a little bit and gained 13 pounds. There’s a picture of
me jumping rope trying to work off all that. A lot of the guys didn’t have
discerning palates, so I remember the chef went on R&R and came back with
fresh herbs just for Shelley. I was so excited. He would make these delicious
homemade rolls infused with various herbs. I remember being on the plane, and
we had to take a jet to Prudhoe Bay because you have to go over the Brooks
Range which is 90 miles south of Prudhoe Bay, which is a giant mountain range
and yet you land on a dirt airstrip, Dead Horse Airport, and on the tundra. I was
in a plane, I was the only woman on the plane, and all the guys were coming
back from R&R and they were dead drunk and pretty scary to this 23-year-old
law student. When you filled out the application, it had a place for education,
th grade, 12th grade, other. Something like that.
Most of the guys were from Texas where they have oil fields, and they were
very entrepreneurial. The iron workers would sell you a piece of the pipeline
carved out into the shape of the state of Alaska with a pipeline on it, and I kept
thinking, ‘Oh wow, when they have leaks that are in the exact shape of the state
of Alaska.’ This is the pipe for the pipeline. They did a lot of drugs. A lot of
guys, you’d take this bus to the warehouse, and it’d be all guys bundled up in
their winter clothes and hats and stuff, going across the tundra, the dirt roads
were dikes across the tundra. And the guys would all be smoking pot, guys
would come beg me, if I am having a party in my room tonight, so-and-so is
going to play guitar, we’ve got a lot of good music, and if you come, everybody
will come. I’ve got speed, so you can wake up for the 12-hour day tomorrow.
That’s okay. No thank you. I’m good. One night two ironworkers ripped the
door off my room, but they were so drunk they fell down laughing in the hall
and eventually went away. My roommate took tricks to make extra money.
She was up there to make money, and she took tricks. She had a CB base
station in our room, and her brother was a long-haul driver, and he would come
up with supplies, up the 17-hour drive, and liquor, and she would sell liquor out
of our room and take tricks, and I would take walks. Long walks. There were
some very interesting characters, and some less savory than others. I had my
brother’s military duffle bag full of books, and so there were a few guys who’d
come to borrow books all the time. It was very, very interesting.
Mr. Gross: So then at this point you get back, and then it took three years until you
Ms. Broderick: After that, I had two more years of law school.
Mr. Gross: Switching to the day school, you didn’t like your classes it seemed. Did you
continue to stay active in extra-curricular activities?
Ms. Broderick: I had worked for two years. A vast majority of my classmates were right out of
college, and so I was a little bit older and I had a group house, and now I had
money because I made money on the pipeline, so I used to have dinner parties
and cook all the time. I could afford to get The New Yorker and Gourmet
magazine and The Atlantic and Rolling Stone. I went to hear music all the time,
that was probably the thing I did most. I loved and love music, so I was always
going to hear some kind of music somewhere, and I always was a voracious
reader. The day of final exams I’d go directly to Saddle bookstore in
Georgetown and buy books and read. My third year of law school I did a 12-
credit Criminal Defense Clinic, so I was in court all day every day.
Mr. Gross: Did you elect to do that and why?
Ms. Broderick: My freshman year, my first year of law school, I was driving home from
Contracts class and I was pulled over for making an illegal right-hand turn on a
ramp. The officer conducted a Wales check and learned that I had 12 unpaid
parking tickets. He said, “You’re going to jail. You’re in a lot of trouble,
you’re going to jail.” I eventually negotiated the opportunity to drop my car off
in front of my house a few blocks away. I had this old Volvo, and he said okay,
but don’t try to run. Apparently he’d never driven a Volvo. It’s not a fast car. I
drove to my house. By the time I got to my house, there was a police car parked
one way going the wrong way in front of my house, one in the alley with the
lights going. My neighbors thought I was Patty Hearst. I was put in the back of
a paddy wagon and taken to the 2nd District police headquarters where I was
taken into the restroom and strip-searched. I was then put in a cell. I was given
a telephone call and reached my 10-year-old niece. The twin 10-year-olds were
fighting. Their mom wasn’t home, she was at a meeting of Women’s
Campaign Funds with the wives of not one but two of my first-year law
professors. When she passed around the famous note, Please give me all the
cash that you have. I have to bail my sister Shelley out of jail.” So I was
famous the next day. It was widely known that I had been arrested and taken to
jail for unpaid tickets.
Mr. Gross: You were famous at the law school.
Ms. Broderick: Oh yeah, famous at the law school. I was taken in a paddy wagon to the
Women’s Detention Center on North Capitol Street where I was locked up with
19 other women, none of whom were in for parking tickets. I was stripsearched again and made to take a shower with 19 people watching. I was
sexually assaulted that night by the woman in the next cot who rolled into my
cot and grabbed me by the breast and said, “We can have a really good time
tonight.” And I elbowed her hard and grabbed my little blanket and wrapped it
around me and sort of sat huddled up on my cot until my sister – they called me
at about 3:30 in the morning and she got me out. But I was strip-searched twice
for traffic tickets. A friend of my sister’s, named Fritzi Cohen, owned the
Tabard Inn, and Fritzi was and is a political activist and called me to say, “The
ACLU is looking for plaintiffs because they want to end the practice of stripsearching for traffic cases.” I was embarrassed. I felt that I had done wrong.
And she finally would just not take no for an answer and I went down and I met
with Ralph Temple, who was head of the ACLU then, and Ralph made me feel
like a soldier with a cause. The government overstepped the boundaries of what
is right and reasonable. Strip-searching law students or anyone for parking
ticket violations is not okay. I was a plaintiff in a federal case my first year, and
they ended the practice of strip-searching for traffic tickets. Being locked up in
a cell, and my experience at Lorton, and my brothers had gotten into trouble
from time to time, I decided I wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer.
Mr. Gross: What kinds of cases were you working on as a 3L as a clinical? Anything you
remember that stands out?
Ms. Broderick: As you can see I remember everything. I remember many of my clients. I
represented a lot of people charged with soliciting prostitution. I represented a
man named Lawrence Schoolboy Brown who arrived in my office wearing a fur
coat with two women who appeared to be street walkers. He was their pimp,
and he had other pending cases. I represented a woman named Alicia
Washington, I think that was her name, and she was on parole for manslaughter,
and Dave Clarke had represented her in the manslaughter case. She got picked
up, she was an alcoholic, and she got locked up on a misdemeanor but they
wanted to revoke her parole, and her lawyer wasn’t available, and I convinced
the judge to let her out. I did a lot of research, and what I needed to do was get
her into the in-patient program detox and then the in-patient alcohol treatment
program at St. Elizabeth’s, and if she completed that, they were a lot more likely
to let her remain on parole. But first she needed clothes, and I took her to the
Calvert Street Baptist Church at 8th Street, which had a women’s shelter and
clothes for folks and got her some clothes. I drove her out to St. Elizabeth’s
three or four times, and she would either get drunk before we went and they
wouldn’t let her in because she was drunk and couldn’t make the decision or she
would refuse to go because she wasn’t drunk. So I had a whole lot of different
kinds of cases. I represented a guy at Lorton who was trying to get out. I
represented somebody with jail violations. I loved it. I loved every minute of
it. I never wanted to do anything else. I loved appearing in court. I loved
investigating cases. I loved my clients, and I was blissfully happy to get
anybody out of jail any time. To this day, I have a horror of jail, and I’m so
glad the country is finally realizing that we over-incarcerated to such an extreme
that the country really is going the other way now, to try to find better ways.
Mr. Gross: You were really doing this right in the kind of upswing of law and order and the
wake of the Nixon presidency, in reaction to perceptions of high crime in the
1960s and 1970s, so it was a remarkable time to be doing that.
Ms. Broderick: It really was, and then the crack epidemic and the PCP epidemic. I loved doing
that. I loved the public defender swagger and the questioning authority
opportunities. I loved it. I just loved it. And I was very fortunate. My dream
job was to be a lawyer teaching and trying cases with the Law Students in Court
program, and I was told that I was the leading candidate. Georgetown had a
graduate LLM program, the E. Barrett Prettyman program, and that would have
been the dream program. For two years you try cases and you teach third-year
law students in the clinic that I had been in, and I thought that was the greatest
job you could ever have. But my boyfriend was running it. This is a different
Mr. Gross: That’s a problem.
Ms. Broderick: It certainly was, but that’s another story. He was running it and so the closest I
thought I could come was Law Students in Court, and at the end of the day, they
hired a guy named Jerry Fisher, now a judge on the D.C. Superior Court, and
they told me we’ve never had a girl run a criminal program, which was not
against the law at that time. And so I took my second favorite job, which was as
a clinical fellow at Antioch Law School, and the rest is history. Literally.
June 9, 1979 was my first day, and for eight months I was in the
Landlord/Tenant Clinic but then I took over the Criminal Defense Clinic, so I
got to do my dream job. And I’m still in my dream job 37 years later.
Mr. Gross: Let’s stop it here because it’s a good point to end this session.
Oral History of Dean Broderick
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of The Historical
Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewer is Robert Gross, and the
interviewee is Dean Katherine Shelton(“Shelley”) Broderick. The interview took place on
Wednesday, September 28, 2016. This is a continuation of the first interview.
Mr. Gross: So in 1979 you go to work at Antioch. How did you learn about the job?
Ms. Broderick: Interestingly, the only time I ever went to the Georgetown Career Services
Office, I walked in and I looked through a book that listed a bunch of jobs, and
one of them was a Clinical Fellow in a Master’s Degree in Teaching Program at
Antioch Law School. So I called the contact person, a woman named
Susan Carpenter, and I remember asking the question, “So, what’s it like up
there at Antioch anyway? Is it chaos?” I don’t remember what I had heard or
read that led me to ask that question, but I remember asking that question, and
then she just straight up lied to me and said, “No, no, not at all.” So she invited
me for an interview. We had a very long conversation, and she told me about
this fabulous, progressive law school.
Mr. Gross: Had you heard of it? Had you met people, maybe when you were doing
criminal defense work or something?
Ms. Broderick: I had. I had met Steve Milliken. He had gone to Harvard and then to Antioch
Law School and then was going to be a Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown, and I
met him during the bar review course which took place at Georgetown, and he
was going to go into this program that I would love to have gone into that my
boyfriend was running. He was a sort of straight New Englander guy with long
hair, as everyone had then. He must have talked about it, and I remember
newspaper articles, but it was different. I knew that it was pass/fail and they
had clinics all three years, and somehow I had this impression they were always
demonstrating and things like that. So I remember agonizing over what to wear
to my interview, because you want to be kind of hip and cool on the one hand,
but you want to be lawyerly and law professorily, and what does that look like
exactly? I didn’t have a lot of clothes because I was on my own and certainly
wasn’t wasting money buying suits unless I had to. I remember what I wore. I
wore a corduroy skirt and a beautiful blue shirt that had wooded buttons, so it
was kind of cool in a subtle way. I parked in the ‘hood, because Antioch was in
this mansion on 16th Street, but right behind it was a high-crime area, as they
say in D.C. I parked in a fairly sketchy area, and I remember thinking well, I’ll
be back in an hour if this really goes well.
The interview in fact lasted all day long because the Antioch way involved
interviewing with everyone in the community so I had 20- or 30-minute
interviews with countless faculty members, but also with students and with staff
members and with other fellows. Finally at about 6:00 in the evening – the
interview started at 10:00 in the morning – at 6:00 in the evening, a big, tall
white man with flowing white hair in a business suit – he kind of looked like a
judge, and it turned out that he had been a judge in Arizona, but he was a
member of the faculty. He came in and said, “Well, Ms. Broderick, you look
like you could use a drink.” And I thought, ‘what a wonderful idea.’ He said,
“Sherry?” And I think my face may have dropped. “Or scotch?” My face may
have lifted. And he said, “Come with me.” Next thing I know, we got into an
elevator and went up to his apartment. He had an apartment in the law school
somehow. It was a mansion. It was an H.H. Richardson mansion. So we walk
into his apartment. He pours me a water glass full of scotch, launches into a
long diatribe, and I remember he came around at some point to say to me, “I’ll
bet you have a strong mother.” And I guess I told him about my mother, and
then I remember – his name was Ed Morgan, he had ended the death penalty in
Arizona, he was a great activist lawyer, and had been a judge – and he said to
me, “Wow, I think you’re great. Too bad we just hired another Irish Catholic
girl.” “Well, I have to go,” and he handed me a book called Beautiful
Swimmers, which is about crustaceans in the Chesapeake and he raved about it
and said, “You must read this book. You will love this book.” And he left
I found myself sitting with a giant scotch in one hand and a book about
crustaceans in the other hand, sitting in this man’s apartment in the law school
thinking ‘I wonder what happens next.’ Is this some kind of test, I thought.
What’s the right thing to do? As I was ruminating there for a moment, there
was a knock on the door, and Susan Carpenter, my shepherd, came in full of
apologies. “Oh I’m so sorry, you’ve been Ed Morgan-ed. Come with me.” She
told me that everyone liked me, and she thought that I would be receiving an
offer to join the Landlord/Tenant Clinic.
I, of course, had never been in Landlord/Tenant Clinic in my entire life,
and I knew absolutely nothing about it. I was asked to have lunch with
Professor Ed Allen, who ran the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic. My next
step was to have lunch with Ed Allen, and we talked a lot about his life, which
involved being against the war and going to Vietnam as kind of a reporter or
something, and his father was a life-long military colonel, I think. He had gone
to Mt. Herman and Amherst and then Georgetown Law School and had been a
Legal Aid lawyer and now ran this clinic. He was about to fly to Portugal and
sail back. This is again 1979, before cell phones and any way to touch base at
all, and he needed someone to take over. He said to me, “Well, I really want to
hire somebody with experience.” And I leaned in and said, “Ed, if you can get
somebody with experience, then you should do that. But if you’re going to hire
a rookie, I’m your gal. I will work like a dog. I will leave no stone unturned. I
will do everything in my power, which is considerable, to represent our clients
and teach our students.” Ed being Ed agonized for days. This is a man who in
the ensuing 37 years – he just retired – used to abstain at faculty votes all the
time. “On the one hand, but on the other hand,” he just agonized over hiring
me, and as he often says to people, I hired her notwithstanding the fact she was
wholly unqualified [laughter]. So I got the job, and I started, as I said, June 9,
1979. Jean and Edgar Cahn interviewed me. They were the founding parents of
the law school. Jean said, “We’re going to put you on the Admissions
Committee, and your job is to get in 150 of the worst trouble makers you can
find who want to make social change.” I just could not believe how lucky I got.
And I feel that way to this day.
Mr. Gross: That’s amazing. Were you close, then, with the Cahns throughout their time at
Ms. Broderick: I got there June 9. They were fired in December. I wasn’t particularly close.
The clinical fellows took classes on how to be a clinical law professor, and Jean
taught some of those classes, so I remember their sons, Johnathan and Reuben,
bursting in to borrow the car keys or money. It was a little chaotic. You never
knew exactly what would be on the agenda. One class we took involved the
Lumpenproletariat and it was taught by Richard Rubenstein, who’s a Marxist. I
took bets on whether or not I could distract him during the entire two-hour class
period, and I never failed. I never failed. There’s a lot of meat in
Mr. Gross: I bet there is.
Ms. Broderick: We had Russell Cort, who ran the program and was not a lawyer. He was a
psychologist, but he had developed the 6 competencies and the 52 subcompetencies. What goes into oral advocacy competency? Well there are 8
sub-parts, so you need to have an organization, you need to have good grammar,
you need to have eye contact, all of the components that go into good oral
advocacy. So I learned a lot about that. I learned how to develop, and did
develop, the first manual ever. It was in use in the clinic for 20 years, where we
captured the rules of the road and sample materials that they would need and
tried to professionalize the clinical program. I was in court five days a week
that whole summer and the next. From then on, every day, all day in court, and
I did nothing but read and breathe cases and work like a dog, nights and
weekends, to be ready to teach the class. Ed said, “I want you to go down to
court and just sit in court and soak it in for a day or two.” And I thought what a
good idea, so I did that. I remember they kept talking about we’re going to put
that in the CPR, or something like that. Whatever it was, I kept thinking that
this was a court order to stay away. Why are they doing that? Really what it
was, was some other acronym that had to do with where you could put your rent
in an account in the court. You don’t want to give it to the landlord because he
or she isn’t making the repairs. You want to give it to the court, and the court
will decide when and if the landlord will get these funds during the course and
after the lawsuit. So I was that clueless. I had no idea. Civil Protection Order,
CPO? I kept thinking what are these CPOs? These landlords in D.C. must be
very dangerous. I just was ignorant.
Mr. Gross: Did you feel like your background in criminal law defense helped at all?
Ms. Broderick: What I told Ed Allen was I had made it my business during my last year of law
school to be in court every day. I know the judges, I know my way around the
courthouse, I know the motions, I know where to go to get things done, and I’m
not afraid to ask. I will find out what I need to find out and make it happen.
And I have to say, there was no doubt in my mind. I was foolishly fearless. I
didn’t know what I didn’t know. I had no idea. The first trial I ever had I was
the supervising attorney. The blind leading the blind. I may have forgotten to
introduce the evidence into the record, which fortunately the judge, who was
Peter Wolf, who turned out to be my neighbor years later, kindly allowed that I
should probably do that. It was a case in which we won. We did win the trial,
and we won $100. It was in October of 1979. I stayed up all night preparing
for this trial with my student, and I had tickets to the first World Series game
with the Orioles against the Pirates in 1979, and it snowed. The first game was
snowed out. In October. And so after this trial, they were going to have the
first game, and I had tickets, and I was so exhausted, having been up all night.
It was freezing cold, it might be snowed out again. I was taking my friend’s 12-
year-old kid so I had to go. I loved it. The Orioles won. It was a thrilling day
all the way around.
Mr. Gross: Let’s get back to you enter in 1979, and the Cahns were then fired. It was an
interesting time, a critical moment in the history of that institution. Did it feel
chaotic? From the perspective of a faculty member and the students and the
clinic, did everything seem normal, the day-to-day operations at the end of the
Ms. Broderick: It was wonderful. It was absolutely wonderful. It was a group of hard-charging
activists who wanted to train social justice lawyers. People just cared so deeply,
the faculty and the students. I loved the students. I thought they were fabulous.
I did not find my true people at Georgetown at all. My classmates seemed to
me to be very privileged and not my true people, I guess is the best way to say
it. Not that I didn’t have friends and get along well with people and so forth,
but when I got to Antioch, I found my true people. This is my tribe. And I was
that Catholic. I had never been to California, I had never been to Europe. I had
been kind of working my way along. But I just loved it. I loved the work. And
after work, we would all go drink beer and talk about the cases endlessly and
talk about the judges and talk about the other lawyers and learn from each other.
It was heaven.
Mr. Gross: What were the kind of students that you had? Were they all over the place?
Was there a typical Antioch student at the time?
Ms. Broderick: They tended to be a little older. Many of them were older than me. I would say
that the vast majority of them were older than me. They had lives. They had
been out in the trenches, on the battlefields of the social justice movement, so
they were fighting against the death penalty, and they wanted to change the
juvenile court. One of the students in my clinic used to miss class all the time
because he was trying to get this person, his last name was Brutus, he was the
poet laureate of South Africa, he was trying to get him out of jail and succeeded
during the semester in which he was supposed to be going to court with me. He
managed to free him from Washington, D.C. Everybody was involved and
engaged in things.
You didn’t go to Antioch thinking you were going to climb the corporate
ladder. You went to Antioch to learn how to be an advocate for justice and to
put your shoulder to the wheel literally of ending poverty and inequality. It was
an incredible group of passionate, smart people who wanted things to be
In the early years of Antioch, graduations went on for hours because, of
course, everyone was empowered to speak and they’d have what was called the
Daisy Chain, and each graduate would have a diploma and then speak and then
hand it on to the next person, and the next person would stand up and say,
“When I was 14, the sheriff broke down the door of my mother’s house and
took her to jail for failure to pay in Arizona and it was because she was
Mexican-American, and I’m going to change the world in this way and that
way.” Person after person after person, fired up and anxious to get out into the
real world and make a difference. And it sounds hackneyed and clichéd, but it
just was like that. And it was a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun to be with kindred
spirits. Some of the students were brilliant, some were weak. Pretty much like
my cohort at Georgetown. Very similar, but scruffier, for sure. Much scruffier
Mr. Gross: How long then did you work in the Landlord/Tenant Clinic?
Ms. Broderick: Eight months. I started in June and got through the summer and fall semesters,
and then in January, a tragic thing happened. The person who was running the
Misdemeanor Clinic was raped. She was really traumatized and actually quit. I
think it was the first couple of weeks of January, and I was the only person there
who had any interest and knowledge and capacity to do this. So at whatever I
was, 26 or 27, I was now the Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic. I think it
was called the Adult Misdemeanor Clinic. The very next day I had to go to
court, and I didn’t have any files because the students had been given the files to
go read their files, so I didn’t know anything about the case. I had to show up in
court, and I showed up in court the very first day, and the student arrived just at
9:02, and our case was called, and he was wearing a blue denim leisure suit.
The judge was one of the many old crusty Irish judges who used to be down
there, and he just became apoplectic and summoned us to the bench and reamed
the student out for his attire. So I had to have this delicate conversation. This
was a man who was African-American, older than me by a few years, and
shocked and appalled by the judge’s outrageous racism. I had to have that
conversation about it isn’t about you, it’s about your client, and when you’re
appearing on behalf of your client, you don’t want the judge really angry with
you because that is not going to go well for your client. I don’t care what you
wear, but in court, you have to dress in a way that does not set the judge against
you. I believe this outfit wouldn’t pass muster for anyone. I don’t think it’s just
a black/white thing. I think his view is that this outfit is too casual.
So we had to go back to court. The judge continued the case for us to
come back in two days. Silly me, I thought the message had been received. He
turned up in a pink leisure suit. The judge literally was purple with steam
coming out of his ears. He summoned us to the bench again, “I thought I told
you,” and the student was truly shocked. “But my mother made this suit, Your
Honor.” “I don’t care if God Almighty made that suit. You will not dress like
that in my courtroom.” We got continued again, and that’s when I had to put a
rule in I need to see the outfit the night before we go to court. You need to
bring the suit in, and we’re going to make sure we’re on the same page about
what you’re allowed to wear to court.
I have a student from that same time period, a woman who wore a pantsuit
to court, and I told her you can’t do that. I couldn’t care less what you wear, but
these old judges are old school. They’re offended by the fact that women are in
court at all. And women wearing pants, not acceptable. And once again, it’s
about your client. It’s not about your views of fashion or your political
statement. It’s not about that. Your client has to come first.
Mr. Gross: Did you feel that being a woman and being so young worked against you in
these kinds of settings?
Ms. Broderick: It took me some time to learn how to have a steady hand on the tiller. I think I
made every mistake you can make. I tried to be one of the gang and used all the
colloquialisms everyone else used, and had an older student take me aside and
say, “I’m offended by that language. I’m Christian, and that language really
bothers me, and I wish you wouldn’t use it.” I was mortified, but I grew up a
little that day. I had the opportunity to be shaped up by my students and clients
throughout my career and this day. But I think folks generally credited me with
having my heart in the right place and working hard. We had an excellent
win/loss. We did very well by our clients. We really did. And there’s no gain
in saying that. Our clients had wonderful results.
Mr. Gross: That’s wonderful.
Ms. Broderick: And students really learned how to be creative and thoughtful lawyers, deeply
client-centered, and they’ve gone on to do extraordinary things.
Mr. Gross: Very different from your previous law school experience. It turns out you really
did find your institution that matched, and you probably didn’t know it at the
Ms. Broderick: I didn’t at all. I was in fact a Catholic school girl. I was straight and narrow,
but I was raised by a mother who had a very open mind. My mother talked to
me all the time about politics. We used to go to mass, and after mass on
Sundays, we would have Sunday breakfast, which was always a sit-down affair
with a huge breakfast. And we had a sit-down dinner and the candles were lit
and grace was said every night of my life also. But we had these sit-down
breakfasts, and we would debate whatever the sermon was or whatever the news
of the day was. There was always a lively discussion about what was going on.
When my mother worked for HUD Model Cities, she used to rant and rave
about members of the Nixon Cabinet. Rant and rave about Casper Weinberger
and on and on, so I was politically active. I was engaged. I cared very deeply,
and at Antioch it just got deeper and deeper. I learned about the statehood
movement in D.C., and I represented people involved with ACORN who were
sneaking into houses and living there, in abandoned houses, and then they’d get
arrested, and we’d represent them. I represented Mitch Snyder for years in
many, many kinds of cases. When he was getting the pretty much extorting $5
million out of Ronald Reagan to start the first homeless shelter in Washington,
D.C. He pretty much extorted that. He went on a hunger strike and planned to
die on election eve if the President didn’t come across with money for the
homeless shelter. On the Sunday night before the Tuesday election, the
President caved on 60 Minutes and agreed to $5 million for the homeless
shelter. Those were those days. Suddenly we didn’t just walk by people living
on the streets. We stopped and talked to them to try to see if we could help out
in any way. It was a different way of seeing the world. So many people were
de-institutionalized and dumped on the streets.
Mr. Gross: You’re encountering them in court and you’re encountering them in the
Ms. Broderick: Around Antioch. There were a lot of people in the neighborhood on hard times.
I spent my senior year of high school and time thereafter in the Veterans
Hospital visiting my brother with all these guys who had their lives turned
upside down in Vietnam, horribly wounded inside and out and what they were
going through to try to rebuild a life and try to make a life and totally changed
in diminished circumstances. I saw my brother go to class. The first time we
went for his interview for college after he got out as a Captain at 22 and after he
got out of the hospital, he lost 100 pounds. He barely made it. He went for an
interview at Northeastern University, and people spit on him. He wore his dress
blues because he thought I’m an officer and that’ll help try not to pay attention
to my French grades and my high school grades. People spat on him. How to
think about that part of the world and what veterans needed and how we should
be treating veterans and weren’t treating veterans.
Oral History of Dean Broderick
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of The Historical
Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewer is Robert Gross, and the
interviewee is Dean Katherine Shelton (“Shelley”) Broderick. The interview took place at Dean
Broderick’s home in the District of Columbia on Wednesday, September 28, 2016. This is the
Mr. Gross: Shelley, when we last spoke, we were talking about your experience
running the clinic as the Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic, so I
think that we should start by hearing little bit more. You mentioned,
briefly, I think, that you had defended Mitch Snyder, so let’s just start
there. What’s the story there?
Ms. Broderick: So, when I took over the Criminal Defense Clinic, I was a complete
rookie, and I had a huge learning curve. I’m a hard worker, and I cared
very deeply to get it right, so I worked like a dog. But the fact is, it takes a
lot of practice to learn how to be a good lawyer.
Probably two years in to running the Clinic, I was asked to teach
an evidence course. Every day as I was learning evidence at the level
where I’d be able to teach it, I was realizing my failures to really know
evidence in court. So, I learned a much deeper understanding of when you
would object on relevance, and all the possible hearsay opportunities for
objections and that kind of that, and it’s humbling. It is humbling as you
learn, and you get better and better with practice. I had lots of
opportunities and a steep learning curve all the way along.
So, one of the things that happened in the Clinic is that at some
point, fairly early on, I was allowed to hire what I had started out as,
clinical instructors, to join me. And I hired clinical instructors who were
far more seasoned than I was. So, I hired John Copacino. He currently
runs the Criminal Defense Clinic at Georgetown Law School with one of
my best friends, Abbe Smith. Johnny and I ran the Clinic together, and
when Johnny came, he did a class on the Jencks Act. I didn’t know the
Jencks Act. I learned it right along with the students as Johnny was
teaching the Jencks Act. And that is a mechanism by which when a police
officer is talking to a prosecutor about the arrest he made, the defense
counsel gets to ask did you take notes, were the notes taken
contemporaneously, and if you can meet the threshold of the evidentiary
requirements under the Jencks Act, you get disclosure of the police
officer’s written notes about the arrest, which often have much more detail
than the officer has put in the police report. There are often many
discrepancies with the defendant, and so it is a wonderful, wonderful tool
for a defense attorney to have.
Imagine how humiliating it is, although we don’t mention it, that
I’m learning it along with the students and haven’t been employing it in
court. That happens to every defense lawyer. You’re not born a good
defense lawyer. It takes a lot of practice and experience. So, I benefitted
tremendously from bringing in terrific people to work with me and learn
from them. I like to think they learned some things from me, and the
students had a fabulous experience. They really did. And they’ve
represented a lot of huge numbers of people charged with drug offenses, a
wide array of drug offense. In D.C., there was crack and there was a PCP
epidemic, all sorts of robbery and theft offenses associated with drug
issues. A lot of hookers. A lot of people charged with soliciting for
prostitution, and just a host of other kinds of crimes. The wonderful kinds
of cases included the demonstration cases. So people who were charged
with offenses related to the exercise of their First Amendment rights to
I had the honor and the privilege of representing Mitch Snyder and
Carol Fennelly from time to time over the years. Mitch Snyder, a
legendary character in the District of Columbia, in effect extorted
$5 million out of President Ronald Reagan when he went on a hunger
strike, for I believe it was 56 days. Somehow there was a calculation that
if he went on a hunger strike with food, with some sort of water and
whatever, he would last 56 days. And he chose 56 days before the
election to start this on the theory that he would die on Election Day if
Reagan didn’t cough up the money to support a homeless shelter in the
District of Columbia. Reagan, in fact, caved, and coughed up that money.
It was announced on 60 Minutes the Sunday before the election, and Mitch
was literally at death’s door and started eating. But during the course of
that, and his other demonstrations around changing the world for people
who were homeless and living on the street, people who’d been let out of
mental hospitals and left without any social services or care, Mitch had a
number of demonstrations, and one of them was something he called the
Harvest of Shame. And for five weeks, he and his merry band
demonstrated in different ways around different issues, and I agreed to
take all the cases of those arrested in association, I think it was week two,
and it was an anti-nuke demonstration. The way they decided to
demonstrate was to have a whole group of people go on the White House
tour, and while on the White House tour, they released thousands of
cockroaches on the theory that the only thing that will survive a nuclear
holocaust is a cockroach. They thought that would draw attention, and it
So I’ve represented a lot of people charged with, I forget what it
was called, I’m blanking on what the crime was but disrupting things at
the White House. Disorderly conduct, maybe it was, I can’t remember
exactly. In any case, these were federal offenses. James Watt, when he
came in as Interior Secretary under Ronald Reagan, passed a whole bunch
of anti-demonstration statutes. So, if you demonstrated in front of the
White House, and the sidewalk has blocks, and the regulations were so
refined that if you were in the wrong block, you could be arrested. So I
defended a lot of people for being in the wrong block demonstrating on
the sidewalk in front of the White House. Even though we are
constitutionally afforded the opportunity to seek the redress of our
grievances in this way, the sign had to be a certain size and shape. If it
was a little bit too big or a little bit too wide or whatever, you could be
arrested. So I represented dozens of people charged with these petty
violations and got to go to Federal District Court because the government
made a federal case of it.
So here are all these earnest supporters of Mitch Snyder. I
remember my favorite client was a woman who was a potter. She made
pots. She was a housewife living in Rockville that had come in to help
Mitch Snyder demonstrate against nuclear proliferation at the White
House. And so, there was a whole group of eight or ten demonstrators
arrested that day, and I remember meeting with them in the lock-up and
talking to them. Very early on, she sort of patted my hand and said, “Oh
by the way, Ms. Broderick, I just want to let you know that when the judge
enters the courtroom, we won’t be willing to stand because that would
show respect for a system for which we do not have respect.” I was a
young kid and I blanched and said, “Well, you know these judges, they
take the job so that people will have to stand when they walk in the room.
You know, that’s the highlight. You put the dress on, you walk in, they all
have to stand. They love that, and failure to stand actually is characterized
as contempt of court and carries a bounty of up to six months in jail. And,
you know, you hit the wrong judge on the wrong day, and you know, and
I’d like to…” And she said, “Well, I’m sorry, Ms. Broderick, it’s a system
that we just can’t recognize.” In any event, I actually worked out a
scheme. I negotiated with the U.S. Marshal to bring these
demonstrator/defendants into the courtroom after the judge had taken the
bench, so everyone would already be standing when they walked in, and
then they would be in a position to take their seats with the other people in
the courtroom, thus, averting the opportunity for a judge to find them in
contempt. Representing Mitch was a thrill because he was speaking truth
to power before that was a thing. We honored him at graduation. And I
remember we honored Jo Butler, who’s a great woman activist, and part of
the statehood movement, among other things, and we honored Mitch
Snyder. Jo Butler reached out to me and asked me to write her speech.
She was very insecure about giving the speech, and she was a fabulous,
fiery advocate. I was in awe of her. It was the first political speech I ever
wrote. I was beyond thrilled and also terrified.
Mr. Gross: When was this, roughly?
Ms. Broderick: It was maybe in the early or mid-1980s. I vividly remember Mitch
Snyder’s fiery speech when he said, “Remember, the founding fathers are
the people who fled religious persecution, not those who stayed to fight.
We have to be fighters.” I carry these memories of great advocacy and
people who really made social change. I got to know them. And the irony
of me getting to be a young kid representing these legends, I didn’t miss
that irony. I loved it.
Mr. Gross: Were you defending them on First Amendment grounds?
Ms. Broderick: Yes. I remember Judge Oberdorfer, for example, sentenced one of my
clients, the potter, to a large fine. Really, quite a big fine. Because it
takes a lot of court time and therefore money to handle these cases. And,
I wrote a motion to reconsider and said, “You know, really, what you’re
doing is punishing her husband. She doesn’t work, she doesn’t earn
anything. So, you’re punishing another member of the family for her
exercise of her First Amendment rights, and I don’t think that’s
appropriate or fair to him.” And the judge agreed. I believe he eliminated
the fine. Her being locked up, it struck me, was punishment enough.
And, in fact, I thought we should be carrying her and her colleagues on
our shoulders for standing up and advocating for a better way to be as a
So I loved running the Criminal Defense Clinic. I loved
represented folks who were stealing because they had drug issues and
selling drugs because there weren’t any other jobs. They’d had a horrible
education and were let down by the District of Columbia and by the
systems then in place. They did not get an education. Their special
education needs were not addressed, and they were making a living the
only way they could. There really weren’t alternatives for folks like that,
and I was very happy to try to keep them from being locked up, which is a
stupid part of the system when, in fact, we should be offering job training
and educational support and other opportunities for people that we just
Mr. Gross: Did you feel supported at the time by the District government and the
Mayor’s office, or were they not involved?
Ms. Broderick: They were really not involved. But, the court system, it was just business
as usual. This was all part of the all day, every day slog through the court
system. I always felt that there were judges who loved to see my law
students come in all fired up and really tearing it up doing a wonderful job
and really putting the government to the test. There were judges, I have to
single out particularly the former public defenders, who just loved to see
the government put to the test. I have to say, I had countless interactions
with prosecutors and members of what was then the Corporation Council,
my students and I, where they were actually, truth be told, happy to see
someone make a good case and make an argument, and often dismissed
charges. Zealous folks, you know. The police come in and they’ve
arrested a bunch of people the night before and there’s case after case after
case and they decide to bring charges and “paper the cases,” as it’s called.
Let me give you another example. I had a student, single dad, law
student named Michael. I remember his last name but I won’t tell you.
He came in, he’d been arrested, and he was totally freaked out. Young
African American, father of two kids. Now he’s been locked up, he’s
been released on bail, he’s got a pending case, he’s a law student, his life
is at stake. He’ll never be able to practice, this huge financial and time
and heart commitment is going to be all for naught because of this case.
He was a good Samaritan. He had taken a friend to the impoundment lot
to get his car because the friend had said “My car’s been impounded, I’ve
finally raised enough money to get the car out, but I know my car, and I
know it’s going to need a jump. Can you bring your car and jump my
car?” And Michael said he’d be glad to do that, drove to the
impoundment lot, and what is known as a “rent-a-cop” dashed out and
started screaming at him, “You’re not allowed to drive a car onto the lot!”
And they got out and tried to explain to this guy who was clearly over the
top, enraged for no reason and threatened to arrest and then, in fact,
arrested Michael, trying to explain why he had driven his car. So, Michael
is arrested for unlawful entry at the impoundment lot. It’s a pending case,
and I went down and talked to the prosecutor. First I asked Michael,
“Michael, I promise you, we will get rid of this case. You are not going to
ultimately have any trouble about this case. I feel so strongly about that,
why don’t we let a law student work on the case with us, one of your
colleagues, and they’ll just do it through the Clinic. And Michael agreed.
And so, we went in to court the first day, and one of the old-fashioned,
hard-hitting judges who hated law students on the view that they were
taking money out of the pockets of the practicing lawyers who could be
paid for these cases, these law students were harming people trying to
make a living, so he threatened me. What happened was the judge
appoints lawyers every morning for people who can’t afford legal counsel,
and he hadn’t appointed us and so he assumed we had somehow solicited
this case, assumed without asking, I might add, and threatened me with
contempt and said he wanted to see the supervisor of my program in his
court by sundown Friday. And that’s how the case started. Michael
wasn’t very happy with me. At the end of the day, I researched it and, of
course, the judge doesn’t have to appoint. My name was on the case. It
was all good. At that time, the supervisor of the program was technically
a lawyer. He was a member of the bar, and so forth, but in fact he was a
Marxist who never practiced law a day in his life.
Mr. Gross: This is like the director of the clinical program?
Ms. Broderick: Yes. At that moment in time. He wasn’t exactly a practicing lawyer. And
so, I had this vision of taking this bearded Marxist down to the courthouse.
I figured he’d be bringing a camera to take pictures because it was kind of
like sightseeing for him. He’d never been in a courthouse in his life. And
I just imagined how that was going to go, with this old Irish meanie judge.
Anyway, we talked to the clerk about what the statute actually requires
and, in fact, we were well within the bounds and suddenly we were told
we didn’t actually have to come by sundown Friday. We went to visit the
prosecutor and explained to him what had happened and, in fact, it was
clear what had happened because the cop had written it up as we
described, and he dismissed the charges.
I had many, many cases where, upon reflection, the government
wisely and appropriately agreed to dismiss charges. And, it was very
empowering for law students to be able to advocate on behalf of someone
and to see the government act reasonably and responsibly in turn. So,
these are very important lessons. And we had many cases that we fought
to the death in court, most of which, almost all of which, we won. We tore
it up in the courthouse, and the students had a great experience, and our
clients loved us and would bring us things to eat.
It was a crazy time in my life. I remember a client showing up to
see me in my office and he was carrying a battery. A car battery. And I
was thinking, ‘Oh god, I hope that it isn’t my car battery.’ He appeared to
have boosted a car battery on his way to visit his lawyer. Another set of
clients I had – the Antioch law school is next door to the Howard dorm,
and, the Howard dorm was populated by people who, by virtue of being
Black, got stopped by the police every day for doing exactly what my
classmates at American and at Georgetown Law School and at Antioch
were doing, carrying pot and various other illegal substances for personal
use. So I represented countless students at Howard who would come next
door because we had a reputation for being able to help these guys with
Mr. Gross: Low-level drug offenses?
Ms. Broderick: Sure, sure. You know, pot possession, really. You’re going to ruin a
students’ – and many enlightened prosecutors would drop those cases, and
some would fight them to the death. It was always a crapshoot, but it was
a great game to be in. And I don’t mean to imply it’s a game because it’s
serious as a heart attack for people facing those charges.
Mr. Gross: While we’re on the subject, in 1986 I think you get involved with
something called the Administration of Justice for Low Income People,
testifying in front of Congress that kind of comes out of your experience
running the Criminal Defense Clinic. I wonder if you can talk about that?
Ms. Broderick: I hadn’t thought about this for many, many years. I cannot tell you how
many times this experience has influenced my life ever after. One day I
was sitting in arraignment court, that’s where a defendant hears the
charges read and the court sets status and jury trial dates and bond, and I
was sitting in court, and I realized that they introduced someone named
John King as a hearing commissioner. And next to this hearing
commissioner, which was a whole new tier of judicial officer I’d never
seen or heard of before, instead of having a judge, we had something
called a hearing commissioner. But next to him at the bench was one of
the crusty old judges who was known far and wide for locking everyone
he possibly could up. You just didn’t make bail. So you’d be locked up
until your misdemeanor case came along, which would be weeks ahead.
And so, you were given the opportunity to choose the judge if you weren’t
comfortable selecting the new hearing commissioner. Obviously, that was
sort of a no-brainer. You chose whoever the new guy is. He can’t be
worse than Judge Scott. So, I wondered about that. Well, right about that
time that these three hearing commissioners showed up on the scene in
Superior Court, I had a requirement to publish or perish. You know, the
idea was that we should be doing some scholarly writing, and I never
wanted to do any scholarly writing that wasn’t related to law reform and
actually changing the system or having some effect on the lives of poor
people. I looked at the statute, and it turned out that I became the world’s
leading expert on the statute, in fact. It turned out that the judges had been
requesting the addition of seven judges. They felt that the bench needed to
be increased by seven judges if they were going to really meet the needs of
the courthouse. And the Congress, which handles all matters related to the
judiciary to this day, for the District of Columbia, compromised and gave
them three hearing commissioners.
Mr. Gross: They did that to save money, presumably?
Ms. Broderick: In order to save money, yes. The hearing commissioners were appointed
and removed by the chief judge. They were appointed for a one-year
period. Obviously, who is going to accept this job for one year and leave
a remunerative law practice? So it didn’t auger well for getting solid,
good people. And this, of course, as research does, led me to read about
how our court system came into being anyway.
There was something called the Court Reorganization Act and it
was passed in the 1970s. I’m going to say 1973, something like that. I
read all 2,000 pages of statutory history about it, and it was absolutely
fascinating. You, as an historian, would love this because they went to
great pains to have a unified court so that all the judges would have to
have a competency level that would allow them to hear civil cases,
criminal cases, traffic, family, probate. It would be a unified court. All
the judges would be competent. They agreed on fifteen-year tenure so that
you could attract excellent people who would be willing to leave a law
firm or other law practice. The tenure would be such that they would be
able to have some confidence in their future. It established a Judicial
Nominations Committee that was a process to make sure that we didn’t
have nepotism at work, but there would be a panel of people to nominate
and uphold process. They’d be appointed by the President of the United
States. There was a judicial disabilities and tenure group that would, when
there were complaints, deal with removal of judges. Again, by a process
that it couldn’t happen that if somebody didn’t like you or you made an
unpopular ruling, there would be a whole process rather and that could
result in your removal, and so on.
This was an exhaustive statute with a huge amount of work going
in to it to make sure that we got a great court system, and in fact D.C. did
get a very, very good court system. My favorite piece of legislative
history of all time comes from this Act, where they pegged the pay for
Superior Court judges at 90% of whatever the Federal Court pay was.
And they did that, in the words of one of the people testifying, to save the
judges from the ignominious task of importuning in the halls of Congress
for their just recompense. I mean, do you love that? I can’t tell you the
number of times I’ve cited that or quoted that language. But it makes
sense, right? If you’re down there begging for a raise all the time, it’s
ignominious. And so, here we willy-nilly in the dark of night decide okay,
we did all that work, but we don’t care. We’re going to have this whole
new tier of judicial officers just suddenly appear. And we know we didn’t
follow any of the things we learning in the Court Reorganization Act by
having a neutral and dispassionate group nominate and remove pay at a
certain level, and on and on. So, I wrote about this.
Mr. Gross: Who appoints these?
Ms. Broderick: The chief judge. It’s an opportunity to reward a friend. I’m not saying
that ever happened.
Mr. Gross: They had protections against that in the Reorganization Act that seemed to
not be applied in this particular case.
Ms. Broderick: We didn’t learn from the massive amount of work we had done just a few
years before. And, in fact, Charlie Horksy, a legendary lawyer in D.C.,
had done a whole study on how the Judicial Reorganization Act had
worked. 1800 pages, with dozens of recommendations for further
strengthening the court, none of which called for the establishment of a
new tier of judicial officers. I also read the Horsky report, so I at one time
knew a tremendous amount about the workings of the court system and
how it had come into being. And so just to flash forward, I was asked to
testify in Congress, Mack Matthias’s committee, a senator from Maryland.
Mr. Gross: The Law Review article had already been published?
Ms. Broderick: In fact, I never finished it, but I did write 30 or 40 pages of it. I had done
so much research. I had met Charlie Horsky, I had connected with the
Counsel from Court Excellence, so I became known for someone who was
very knowledgeable about this. I had connected with an old classmate of
mine working in Congress, Eileen Maher, who had given me a lot of the
materials. I had done all the research. And so, I was known to be very
knowledgeable about this. What happened was the law school blew up,
and it looked like they were going to close the law school and I stopped
writing the article and started working on the Save Antioch campaign.
Mr. Gross: We’ll get to that.
Ms. Broderick: So, luckily, I never finished the article because we actually ended up with
a law school.
Mr. Gross: If it was one or the other, you’re glad it was the law school.
Ms. Broderick: It felt like it. You know, I was spending a million hours on this article. I
was a rookie author and, of course, painstakingly studying everything
there was, and probably going into far more detail than was needed. But
just to flash forward, I’m on the Norton Commission, the Federal Law
Enforcement Commission that Eleanor Holmes-Norton put in place when
she was granted, first by Clinton and later by President Obama, the
Senatorial privilege to be able to recommend to the President who should
be appointed to the court. My knowledge of the workings of the court
system has been very helpful on that commission. Another example, in
the statehood, new constitution that we’re working on, which we’ll talk
about later, I was able to inform the process on how we would think about
the court system and why a long tenure is important, and how the thinking
went in to be. We should absolutely continue the Disabilities and Tenure
Commission and the Nomination Commission and so forth. So it’s just
followed me. It’s just one of those things I learned so much. And, I also
developed the relationships with the staffers in the Senate Appropriations
Subcommittee on the District of Columbia. So when we in fact
established the statute creating the new law school and had to go before
Congress to testify about it, for various reasons I’ll get into, I had the
relationships and that’s why I was able to very, very helpful to the
grownups at the law school when that happened.
Mr. Gross: What did Congress end up doing with these hearing commissioners?
Ms. Broderick: The statute was substantially revised to have much longer tenure and
many other reforms to that statute came into being. So, when I went up to
testify, my knees were knocking, and I wondered why do I put myself in
Mr. Gross: Was this your first time testifying?
Ms. Broderick: You think? Yes.
Mr. Gross: You would go on to do it many times.
Ms. Broderick: Right. But I was so terrified. All dressed up in a suit and went down to
testify, and there I was. John Pickering came in with a woman named Gay
Gellhorn. They were Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, a legendary legal giant
in the nation’s capital. I didn’t know enough to summarize my testimony.
This was really pro forma. They had it in writing. This was just for show,
in effect. It never occurred to me that my every word wasn’t changing the
course of the judicial system in the District of Columbia, and I read the
entire fifteen pages or whatever it was. It went on and on. I was so
thrilled and delighted. My boyfriend was there cheering me on in the
audience. Of course, later, it’s yet another tremendously long and ever-
growing list of embarrassing things I’ve done. I’m sure people were dying
in that audience. Oh, God, this is never going to end. But, there I was.
Mr. Gross: Did they ask you questions?
Ms. Broderick: Yes. Not very many.
Mr. Gross: They were ready to move on.
Ms. Broderick: Yes. But, in fact, it had a big impact, and it made a great impression on
John Pickering. John Pickering was later on the law school board and
represented the law school with the Control Board. Gay Gellhorn, who
was an associate and Wilmer Cutler, came to teach at the law school. We
realized that we had met before. She had clerked for Thurgood Marshall.
And her son, in his 50s, a DC firefighter, is enrolled in the law school
now. You know, these connections follow forever. It’s incredibly neat.
Mr. Gross: Just from that one experience.
Ms. Broderick: Just from that one experience.
Mr. Gross: You mentioned in passing the Save Antioch campaign, so let’s return to
the institution. During the last session, you mentioned that Edgar and Jean
Cahn were sort of in their final months, just as you had gotten there in
Ms. Broderick: I got there on June 9, 1979.
Mr. Gross: They were gone later that year?
Ms. Broderick: Right. It was characterized as a payless payday. I didn’t quite get what is
a payless payday exactly? And it turned out that Antioch Law School
would collect tuition, send it to Yellow Springs Ohio, where Antioch
University was, with the expectation that Yellow Springs would pay the
Law School bills, and they didn’t. And as I mentioned Jean and Edgar
Cahn, in effect, sued for divorce in court to separate the law school from
Antioch, and they lost that case, and the leadership at Antioch fired them.
And so, six months after I arrived, Jean and Edgar Cahn were fired. Not
long after that, Edgar Cahn had a heart attack and very nearly died in his
40s. Joe Rauh loaned them the money because they were cut off without
any salary. It was just a disaster.
The law school was just rocked to its foundation. Lots of students
transferred, the application pool plummeted, and that has ramifications for
everything from the Bar passage rate to everything that plays out over a
long period of time. They brought in, initially, a guy who his previous job
was the head of the Culinary Institute of America. Seriously. That’s who
they hired to run the law school. He was actually very good, and he left
Antioch Law School to go onto BU where he was the Vice President of
Boston University. But the optics of it were not good. It didn’t help
fundraising or build confidence in the institution. In any case, they hired, I
think, I may not remember this correctly, but I think they ultimately
brought in Ronnie Pollack. Ronnie Pollack was a brilliantly gifted lawyer
and a public interest lawyer, ended up running Families America and has
just retired. A nationally known advocate. He came in to run it for a few
years, and we righted the ship. Very soon after he came on, he hired a guy
named Tom Mack. Tom Mack came in as Clinic Director. He had been
in the Carter Administration as the General Counsel to the Community
Service Administration. He had started a public interest-oriented law
school in California, unaccredited, but they had something there called the
“baby bar” and if you could pass the first-year Bar Exam you could
continue and you could take the California Bar. So he was a torts teacher
and had experience with law schools, and had also been a general counsel
to a major federal agency, so he had a lot of good leadership jobs, and
Ronnie Pollack hired him to run the Clinical Program. At that time,
Antioch had a $500,000 grant, which was a lot of money then, for legal
services at LSC, Legal Services Corporation. He administered that
massive grant, and so forth. As I mentioned, I was hired as a clinical
instructor, and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It was the greatest
job anybody ever had, and my dream was to never do anything but that.
After two years, the highest-paid law professor at Antioch, Bill Statsky,
retired. And he was the Torts teacher. Tom Mack was sick of
administration and decided he would teach Torts. That would save the
clinic director’s salary, and on the clinic director’s salary, he would teach
Torts and be the Clinic Director, and with the salary that they saved, they
would be able to hire two clinicians, two clinical instructors, to permanent
faculty slots. And so, I went from making $12,000 a year and then
$13,000 a year. I was kept on for a third year, and then I was hired onto
the faculty. I always say I went to Antioch in the Masters in Teaching
Clinical Legal Education Program. It was supposed to be a two-year
program but I stayed back. They kept me on for a third year, along with
Diane Brenneman, now a judge and my law school classmate and friend.
And Diane and I, she ran the Family Clinic and I ran the Criminal Clinic.
We were hired on to the full permanent faculty.
Mr. Gross: Did being hired full faculty change your duties at all?
Ms. Broderick: It didn’t change my duties at all. It just meant that I now could bring on a
clinical fellow to work with me and expand the clinic and have a
permanent faculty vote, and otherwise be one of the grown-ups, even
thought I kind of wasn’t. I was 29 at that point.
Mr. Gross: So then, how then from this moment of recovery after the Cahns, how do
we then get to, not long after that, save Antioch from abolition?
Ms. Broderick: So, after the Cahns, I had a few years running the clinic, and I tried some
major felonies on the side, using student investigators and second-chairing
or co-chairing with other seasoned lawyers.
Mr. Gross: Say more about those major felonies.
Ms. Broderick: Well, probably my favorite case, I represented a woman charged with—
well, actually I had two favorite cases. We were talking about Tom Mack.
My colleague on the faculty Lois Yankowski was a great lawyer and was
running the Appellate Clinic and I took the case on behalf of a woman
called Fern Watson. Fern Watson had killed a man. She had stabbed a
guy through the heart with a boning knife in an alley on a winter night.
We got the case, and I investigated the case. I’ll never forget investigating
the case with Lois in Anacostia on a rainy cold, cold, cold and bleak
November night. Our student research assistant, clinic member,
somebody who was in the clinic, was named Melinda Douglas, who’s
gone on to be the legendary leader of the Alexandria Public Defender
Office for decades. Just a legend. She was our student. On a Sunday
night, investigating this case. I remember it was freezing cold and
miserable, and I remember thanking her and her saying, “You know,
today’s my birthday and there’s nothing I’d rather be doing on my
birthday.” She was just a true believer like us. We loved her, still do. I
got to do it, it was my first preliminary hearing and I was, again,
absolutely terrified. And we were lucky enough to get an Italian judge,
Nick Nunzio, and our case was self-defense.
It turned out, that Fern Watson worked at the Safeway, and her job
was boning chickens. All day, every day, she boned chickens. The folks
who did that carried their own knives in a knife set to and from work
because they owned them, and there wasn’t a locker or anything, so
everyone carried their knives to and from work. She was accosted by a
drunk in an alley and dispatched him, didn’t mean to kill him, didn’t know
him. This wasn’t a grudge thing or a fighting thing. A drunk attacked her
in the alley, and she stabbed him, once, through the heart. I won my first
preliminary hearing in a self-defense case and went dancing back to the
law school, and Lois and I danced into the Dean’s office, and they said
“Oh, he’s up in the new guy’s office, Tom Mack’s office.” So we rushed
up there and burst in “We won! We won the case! She stabbed him
through the heart with a boning knife and we got her off!” And Tom
Mack, the new Clinic Director, turned around and said, “Ronnie, you said
it was going to be public interest law.” Tom’s been one of my best friends
the last 35 years, but that’s how I met him. We all went to lunch that day,
and I remember him telling us about his favorite Halloween party, which
was come as your favorite saint. He was a character. He figures in the
next part of the story. But I should tell one other felony case.
Lois and I also did this case. We represented a woman who had
been charged with robbery, assault, malicious disfigurement, and a whole
host of things, and the story was they had a regular card game and
someone came in to the card game, tied everybody up, and stole all the
money from all the people in this regular card game. The thinking was
that Alicia Washington, I remember her name, this was a long time ago,
had set them up. I think it was her brother-in-law or somebody she knew
was the one who came in, so when folks figured that out the next day, they
kidnapped her. She was a tiny, tiny little waif-like woman, and they
ripped her so fast. They literally picked her up and her shoes flew off and
threw her in the car, kidnapped her. Took her and threatened her and it
was just a big disastrous mess, and we had that case. It was a three codefendant case in front of one of the judges, a notorious judge named
Joseph M.F. Ryan. And you can see, you can test my words, there on the
courthouse wall, they had the names of all the judges in gold, and there it
is, Joseph M.F. Ryan, and clients would say “Well, what’s this judge
like?” And we would point to the initials, and say “Uhh, he’s a long ball
hitter. He’s famous for locking people up for as long as possible.” We
tried this case, and we had a very, very good defense. But in the middle of
the case, Ronald Reagan was shot. And the next day, when we walked
into the courthouse, it was just a sea change, a palpable change in the
attitude and the mood in the courthouse and on our jury, and we lost the
jury. They came back guilty on her. But I think we did such a good job.
The judge, at sentencing, gave her probation, and he never gave anybody
probation. Ever. After trial, especially. They’re morally offended if you
actually take a case to trial and don’t plead it out to get a lighter sentence.
But that was a moral victory for us because we felt that he really got that
the government didn’t make the case, and this change resulted in a
I love trying cases. I love being in the courthouse. And sometimes
it works out well. That trial was just a couple weeks after my mother died.
She died on Valentine’s Day, 1981.
Mr. Gross: How old was she?
Ms. Broderick: She was 64. The age I am now. I’ve outlived her. It was very sudden.
My mother, as I’ve told you, was really my only parent growing and it was
just heartbreaking, devastating, and shocking when she died. I can’t even
believe I did that trial. You know, that is the definition of
compartmentalization. I just had my head – I had to clear my brain and
just focus on this, and I think I really, somehow, managed to mourn
beginning like the last day of classes in May. It was just a terrible, terrible
thing to get that word. My students sent me flowers. “Our deepest
sympathy, with love from your adult misdemeanants.”
Mr. Gross: Was she in Boston then?
Ms. Broderick: She was. Yes. She was actually in the hospital having tests and she had a
heart attack and died. So, we had a big Irish wake and funeral. You think
I’m bad. My siblings are as badly behaved as I, or worse. I come from a
big Irish Catholic family, and their idea of how you do things is when
someone dies, you rent a limousine, and we were renegades. We just
weren’t going to do that, it seemed stupid. So there we were in my
brother’s bronze van following behind in the funeral cortège, going out to
the funeral. We got back to my Aunt Helen’s house, and my siblings and I
caucused, and we decided that as the lawyer, I was asked, even though I’m
the third of four, I was asked to call the hospital and demand the plants
that we had sent to my mother. Demand them back because we didn’t
trust them in the care of those doctors. And they said, “Well, uhh.” And
we said, “We’re on our way. We expect you to turn over the plants that
we had sent.” And we went over and went in and got those plants back
and took them and planted them in our care.
So, now it’s 1986, and Antioch University hires a new President
called Al Guskins, and Al Guskins allowed all of the units, and there were
something like 32 Antioch units around the country, including the law
school, allowed them to all collect tuition. And in September or early
October, went around to something like 29 units and told them that they
were closing them. So, they took the tuition in knowing this was the plan,
and we were outraged. And that launched the Save Antioch period, and
we worked on trying to save Antioch.
Mr. Gross: Nobody saw this coming?
Ms. Broderick: No. We didn’t at all. It was just out of nowhere. We were horrified. The
law school was in the black, but they had blown their whole endowment at
Antioch. They’re still just coming back. This had been going on since
1986. Thirty years, wow. Damn. And so, they announced that they were
going to close it. Oh god, we did a hundred things. We flew out to
Yellow Springs and made the case in front of the board of trustees. We
just fought like tigers, and they could not be persuaded to keep the law
Joe Libertelli, who was a graduate of the class of 1985, was an
activist all the way through law school and still is to this day. Joe
Libertelli had the idea, and went down to talk to the D.C. Council Chair,
Dave Clarke, and said, “We ought to make Antioch Law School a public
law school for the District of Columbia.” And Dave Clarke, who had sent
countless cases to Antioch, the worst constituent services kinds of
nightmares, he sent to us, and we always said “Okay!” and we rolled up
our sleeves, and we took all these horribly complicated, awful cases for
people with mental problems and people with all kinds of convoluted
problems, and we would just unsort it and fix it. So Dave loved us and
said, “You’re right, we should.”
That was a long process. We drafted legislation. The plan was to
merge with the University of the District of Columbia, and they passed
legislation to have us become part of the University of the District of
Columbia, and the American Bar Association came in and did a site
inspection, and they ruled that they would transfer full accreditation. We
had retreats where we planned the transition. Meanwhile, the committee
process at UDC was happening, and it was clear early on that a lot of folks
at UDC did not want the law school. They would have a committee
meeting, and it would be clear that they were about to have a vote against,
and the law school folks, led by the aforementioned Tom Mack and others,
would show up and make the case why they should keep the law school.
And, we often did it with press there or a lot of people from the public and
some of the ministers from the Baptist churches and labor union leaders,
and community people would suddenly swarm in to the committee
meeting, and no one on the committee would then want to vote against it.
Mr. Gross: Why was there opposition within UDC do you think?
Ms. Broderick: It’s difficult to speculate, but the word then, and I was just a young kid, I
don’t know, but the word was that it was too white, too liberal. It just
wouldn’t fit with the culture. Another part of it was that UDC itself was
an amalgam of a merger of three institutions that were wildly different. So
you had WTI, Washington Technical Institute, which was a technical
school. They had a printing school, and things like that, merged with the
ultra-liberal Federal City College, which had a wonderful, robust liberal
arts school. And then there was DCTC, the D.C. Teacher’s College,
which itself was an amalgam of the Wilson Teacher’s College, which was
the white teacher’s college, and Miner Teacher’s College, which had been
Miner School for Colored Girls. So, those had merged into DCTC, and so
you had these wildly different three institutions merge together and
nobody wanted to offend anybody. So as I hear the story, they brought in
three athletic directors and just no one really wanted to be together and
those cultures live on to this day.
At that time, the thought of adding yet another culture and another
set of issues, and then ultimately, after countless positive votes, it came to
a vote of the board. We were very political and working it just as hard and
fast as we could 24/7. We could count the votes we knew we were going
to get. It was going to be a successful vote. We all showed up, ready for
the vote and to celebrate at UDC, and they voted us down. We later
learned that Marion Barry had called every member of the Board and said
to them, “If you do this, it will kill Howard Law School.” Herbert O. Reid
was Marion Barry’s General Counsel and, I think, Corporation Counsel,
but at least General Counsel. Herb had been Dean of Howard Law School
for years, and Howard had experienced a plummeting applicant pool,
because all of a sudden, African-American students finally, after all the
racist years, when Black folks couldn’t get in to law schools, all of a
sudden every law school wanted every Black person they could get. All of
a sudden they were highly desirable. Everybody finally understood, “Gee,
a diverse student body is a wonderful thing, and we ought to be doing that
and we haven’t done that and let’s see if we can get some Black folks in
our school.” So that had an insane impact on the applicant pool for
Howard. And so, the fear was if you started an affordable, public school
with the mission that we had, which was to recruit and enroll students
from racial, ethnic and other backgrounds traditionally underrepresented at
the bar, and they were literally across the street from each other, on Van
Ness, it would devastate Howard. It’s a valid concern. And people were
not willing to take that risk, so they voted it down. We were absolutely
devastated. Absolutely. There was a bar across the street called the Royal
Warrant, and the whole law school rolled into that bar and we were just
absolutely devastated, sobbing.
Mr. Gross: Because at that point it seemed like the future was entirely uncertain?
Ms. Broderick: UDC had dragged the process out for two years. We had graduated the
third-year class, but not been able to bring in a first-year class. We
graduated the next third-year class, we’re down to one class. And it was
over. But a day or two later, D.C. councilmember Hilda Mason
introduced legislation that would make the law school an independent
agency of the D.C. government. The original legislation called for us to
merge with UDC in three years. So we lived to fight another day, and it
was a fight. Because now, the legislation that was originally passed called
for Antioch to be merged with the university and for the appropriation
associated with the law school to go to the university. Now, we had to go
to Congress. Dave Clarke characterized this as a technical language
change. Marion Barry characterized this as a massively giant change that
would have to go back all the way through the whole process.
Mr. Gross: Why did Hilda Mason introduce it in the first place?
Ms. Broderick: Because otherwise we were going to die. They voted it down. If we’re
not going to have a law school, the law school ends. It’s over. And the
only way we could possibly live would be to be, okay, Council had
approved the money, we could be independent. They had approved a
budget. The original budget was $1.3 million. So she introduced that
legislation. Now, by this time, Tom Mack was the Dean. He was the last
Dean of Antioch. The new legislation called for the establishment of the
independent law school, and we needed a board. I was intimately
involved with the whole development of the independent law school.
What would that take? Because by this time, remember, Antioch was
down to one class of students. I don’t know, fifty or sixty students, so
they had almost minimal tuition revenue. But they still had the cost of the
building, and they still had all the cost of the faculty. So they were laying
off people, as many as they could, as fast as they could. So we had no
admissions dean anymore. They only had to keep those of us in the clinic
where we had a big caseload for third-year students that had the clinical
requirement. And so, we were down to just a handful of faculty. Anyway,
the legislation called for the takeover of the Antioch personnel, programs,
clients, and all of that, and alumni. It would become the personnel,
programs, and so forth and clients of the new law school.
I had gone to Boston to see family for some reason, and I
remember being on a pay phone talking to Hilda Mason’s legendary
husband, Charlie Mason, who worked for free for his wife. After he
retired from the federal government, he went to Howard law school. A
white guy, Mayflower descendent, Charles Mason, went to Howard, and
then he volunteered and worked for free in his wife’s D.C. Council office.
He was a brilliant guy, second in the class behind Jim Dyke, who’s now
on the board of UDC.
I talked to Charlie Mason, and were trying to decide who could be
on the board. We decided that it could be Joe Rauh, the legendary civil
rights lawyer who’d been on the board of Antioch, and it could be Vince
Gray. Vince Gray ran the D.C. Association for Retarded Citizens.
Antioch had brought the Forest Haven case, which resulted in the closure
of the Forest Haven Institution and the freeing of 1,800 people to go into
community placements. This happened over a million years, but Vince
Gray loved Antioch because we’d done that case, and Hilda called him at
6:00 in the morning and told him he had to be on the board, and he said
“Yes, Hilda, I will.” Tom Mack was the last Dean of Antioch, so he went
on the board. Fred Abramson was the immediate past president of the
D.C. Bar. Notwithstanding the name Abramson, Fred Abramson was
African-American and a Yale law graduate who cared very deeply about
the city and was willing to take that task on. And Virginia Morris, who
had been a Ward 8, she had been head of the school board. So it was this
great group of five board members, and, we were saying, “Yeah! How
about, you know…,” and then the rule was you couldn’t name names, you
had to name positions. So, we’re going to have a board comprised of the
immediate past president of the D.C. Bar. We basically got people we
wanted by describing their positions in life. We got it going.
We had to go up to Congress and argue before the Senate
Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on the District. It was Marion
Barry against Dave Clarke, and it was actually one of the first times I ever
had this role. So, I was sitting there. Dave Clarke’s arguing, but he didn’t
know all that much about the nitty-gritty of it, and I was scribbling notes
and handing them to him, and he was reading whatever I said, this
complete stranger to him. He was reading “another thing,” and he’d make
a point and Marion Barry would come back and he’d say, “And another
thing.” I was, you know “[gasps] what!” Anyway, and we prevailed.
And the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on the District
of Columbia recognized it as a technical language change and put it in
place. So now we had a board, but Marion Barry, as Mayor, had to
convene the board before the board could take actions, and he refused to
convene the board.
Mr. Gross: At this point, as Mayor, he continues to claim he’s opposed because of the
Howard issue? I mean, it’s a different law school, but is it the Howard
issue, or what is happening?
Ms. Broderick: I don’t think he was claiming it. I think he thought Antioch was terrific,
but if it was going to kill Howard, it wasn’t that terrific. And I don’t think
that’s an irrational or unreasonable view. I did at the time, but I’m now an
adult, and I can see that that would be a tragic loss. At the end of the day,
Howard, by then, was a completely different place. It was apples and
oranges. Very few people apply to both Howard and UDC. UDC is a
public interest, social justice place.
Mr. Gross: Did they applied to Howard and Antioch? Because they had coexisted,
Ms. Broderick: No, they were wildly different. Howard has a phenomenal rate of placing
people in corporate law firms. It’s a very mainstream school. Antioch,
and followed by DC School of Law, were very social justice, public
interest driven. Although Howard had a proud history of that, that wasn’t
the space it was filling after the 1960s, and by this time, in the 1980s, it
just wasn’t their role. It wasn’t how they rolled. And that’s not to take
anything away from anyone. We were just very different kinds of schools.
Antioch required three years of live client clinic, Howard had a boutique
clinic that a few people took. It was just different. Both wonderful. But
if you have an affordable school at a historically Black university across
the street, it changed the dynamic, and there was a fear. And at the end of
the day, it didn’t play out. We were established, and people understood
when you read the catalogue these are very different places, and you either
want that kind of a place or this kind of a place. And so it hasn’t been an
issue. But again, it wasn’t an irrational concern.
So Hilda Mason and Dave Clarke tried to get Marion Barry to
convene the board, and he wouldn’t do it and he wouldn’t do it, so we
decided we were going to sue them. We got a bunch of plaintiffs who
were current Antioch students and current UDC students who wanted to
go to law school, and we worked like dogs for a week or a couple of
weeks to sue Marion Barry to mandamus him, have the court order him to
convene the board. And then we got a whole lawsuit written, we had all
the plaintiffs in place, we got it all set, and then Hilda Mason said, “I don’t
want to sue the Mayor. I’m not willing to sue the Mayor.”
In any event, we somehow, I don’t remember the details now, but
we managed to get the board convened otherwise. The board came
together, and at the first or second board meeting – as I said, Antioch had
laid off all the grown-ups – and Tom Mack had decided to go into private
practice and open a practice that was partially located in Boston and
partially in Washington. He was the chair of the board, but he resigned as
Dean. They had a meeting in September of 1987, and when they came
out, they told me that they had decided that I would be appointed to run
the law school, and we were going to call me the Administrator.
Mr. Gross: Okay, so you’ve been named the Director – sorry, the Administrator.
How did that happen?
Ms. Broderick: So, again, I can’t remember how many of us there were, but there were
only, I think, 29 employees left in the whole law school. That’s
maintenance, faculty, staff, the whole thing. There were only 29 of us. A
small number of faculty, and just at every stage, when we decided to
gather hundreds of signatures of important people to say Antioch is a
wonderful thing, we should save it, I went out and called everyone and
worked the system to death. I got people to get people to get people and
that kind of thing. I was an activist. Actually, I was an activist, so I was
very involved in every level. I was at the hearings. I was just a part of it,
brainstorming how to figure it out to make it happen. I don’t know. They
lost their minds, maybe the actual reason. And they were desperate.
There just weren’t a lot of choices. The regular grown-ups had to go get
jobs. They had mortgage payments. It just wasn’t clear it was going to
make it. They had kids in school. They had responsibilities, and I was a
renter living in Adams Morgan and walking to work, I had my old Volvo,
and I could do this. I was free to do this. And I didn’t know what I didn’t
know, and I didn’t know better.
Mr. Gross: So the Administrator role, was it clear what it entailed? Is it the
equivalent of being the dean of the law school?
Ms. Broderick: Yes, it was. So, I literally was running the law school. There was a guy
from Antioch, Lou Feldstein. Antioch had put in place an administrator in
the Antioch close-out. But in terms of someone to run the law school, as it
transitioned that year from Antioch to the D.C. School of Law, I became
the Administrator for the D.C. School of Law. I moved my office into the
Dean’s Office. I was the person allowed to park out front. My old beatup swimming-pool blue/robin’s-egg blue Volvo, parked out front. I was
Mr. Gross: This is all happening in the old Antioch Law School?
Ms. Broderick: In the old H. H. Richardson mansion, yes. Which half the people who
walked in thought wow, this is a fabulous old mansion with all these
terrific appointments, and the other half walked in saying wow, he rug is
torn and this is so funky. I was in the former half. And so I became the
Administrator for a year.
Mr. Gross: The last class of Antioch graduated in 1988?
Ms. Broderick: I became the administrator in September. The last class of Antioch
graduated the following May. We were recruiting the founding class of
the DC School of Law, which would start September 6, 1988, and that was
the day my successor, Bill Robinson, started. So I ran it from September
Mr. Gross: There’s a lot going on.
Ms. Broderick: The first thing I did is, Antioch had laid off the Registrar, Ann O’Shazley,
and I called her up and said, “They tell me you’re a really good typist, and
I can’t type. Do you want a job?” And she said yes, and so she came to
work for me and with me and would stay there until midnight. I had a
drawer full of toys and crayons and stuff for her little girl who would
come over with a friend. “Who’s that? Is she the principal of this
school?” Kind of. And they’d sit on the floor of my office, coloring and
playing with toys while we worked out the budget and did all kinds of
So I remember sitting in that office, trying to figure out – when
you start a new agency of the D.C. government, which is what the Council
had done, they had established a new agency of the D.C. government –
how do you get the money? Do they come over and give you the
checkbook? I mean how do you get the money? The money had been
appropriated. There was money, how do I get the money? And how do I
spend it? And I literally sat there in that office just scratching my head.
You’ve got to understand, I ran the Criminal Defense Clinic. I had no idea
how to do anything. So I called Information. This is maybe something
you’ve never heard of, but you could call a number and someone would
answer the phone and they would give you phone numbers for people. So
I called Information, and I said, “Is there an Office of Management and
Budget for the District of Columbia? Like an OMB like the federal
government has?” And they said, “Uh, no.” I said, “Okay, is there a
controller? Is there like a comptroller’s office?” And they said “yes” and
they gave me that number and I called, and I said “I’d like to speak to
whoever the comptroller is in charge of the University of District of
Columbia, or the D.C. Public Schools.” Some education person. And
they put me through to Charles Simpson. And I said “Hi, my name is
Shelley Broderick, and I’m the Administrator for the new D.C. School of
Law, and I have 29 employees, and they’re amazing employees. A lot of
them are lawyers working on cases on behalf of some of the poorest
people in the District of Columbia and others are teaching a class of
students who are now part of the D.C. School of Law and others are
working to make the systems run, and I have to pay them at the end of the
month, and I need to know how to do that.” And he said, “Well that
legislation didn’t pass.” And I said, “I assure you, it did pass. I promise.”
He said, “Well, I guess you better come over. Bring a copy of that
legislation.” So I got a copy of the legislation, and I went down to the
Comptroller’s Office, and I met Mr. Simpson. He’s an unsung hero. He’s
passed away now, but he’s really a founding father, because without him.
And so he gave me my marching orders. He handed me the 150-page
D.C. Personnel Statute, and I went home that weekend and read the 150-
page D.C. Personnel Statute.
Mr. Gross: What are some of the relevant highlights of the Personnel Statute?
Ms. Broderick: I had to write contracts. I had to write contracts for 29 employees
pursuant to the statute so that they could get paid. You can’t pay anybody
if they don’t have a contract, and then we had to have them classified. So
he introduced me to someone called Mary Noi Gu, who’s also passed
away. She was a young Nigerian woman who worked in the
Comptroller’s Office, and he told me she’s not well-liked. “I’m going to
detail her to you. I’m going to give you a free employee. She’s very
smart and very good, and she will develop the system for you to make sure
that everybody gets paid, but you’ve got to understand what has to be in
the contract. You’ve got to write the contracts, and you’ve got to do it
immediately because otherwise they won’t get paid.”
Most of the people were paid. We figured out the cost
arrangement that Antioch would have to pay these people 50% and these
people 40%, or whatever it was, and D.C. School of Law should be
responsible because part of what they did was graduate the last Antioch
class, which was Antioch’s responsibility. So part of what they had to do
would be to establish the new D.C. School of Law. So some were all D.C.
School of Law, some were part, and I had to write consultant contracts for
everyone. The Personnel Statute government consultants had to be in
play. But others were full-time new employees, so another part governed
them. And some were at-will, and some were not at-will. And I had to
learn all that. And Ann O’Shazley had to type it all up.
There was a Antioch grad who had been working the paralegal
program, and her name was Stephanie Brown. Tom Mack, who was chair
of the board now, suggested that we invite Stephanie Brown to come work
with me and be kind of second-in-command getting this thing going. So
we hired Stephanie to work on it all, and then the next piece of business
we had to do was Antioch was threatening to sue us if we didn’t get out of
the building. They wanted to sell the building, so I had to find a building
that could be used as a law school. Did I mention I’m a renter? I had to
hire a lawyer, because you can’t hire or procure unless you do so pursuant
to procurement and personnel rules and regulations published through the
D.C. Register. So Hilda and Charlie suggested that we talk to David Split
who had written the personnel and procurement regulations for UDC. So,
there were three independent agencies at the D.C. government in the
education group: UDC, DC Public Schools, and the DC School of Law.
So we were this teeny-tiny little agency, but we could learn from how the
others operated. So I hired David Split, who drove over in, I believe, a
Corvette and came in wearing cowboy boots. A big, tall guy, a great
lawyer. He had started the Office of Documents, which is where in the
D.C. government you actually get such rules published, and they’re deep
sticklers. So David knew exactly how to do it and he had started it and
rejected tons of them and written the rules of what it took to get new
regulations published in the D.C. Municipal Regulations. So he did the
procurement and personnel regulations, pursuant to which we could hire
and procure. So I had to find a building.
Mr. Gross: Did you also need to hire for the next year?
Ms. Broderick: I had to hire an admission dean. So I reached out to the person who had
been the Antioch Admission Director. She had been laid off a year or two
before. Her name is Vivian Canty, and she just retired last December.
She was my first hire. Actually, I think that’s not true. I think our first
hire was Jean and Edgar Cahn to come back and recruit a class to the new
Mr. Gross: It sounds like we want to recreate Antioch to the extent that we can. It’s a
new law school, but if we can get the same people, that would be
Ms. Broderick: Well, it’s a great question, and that’s partially right. There were lots of
things about Antioch we wanted to massively have nothing to do with, and
there were lots about Antioch to replicate immediately. And so we did
things very much the same way and very differently, depending on the
thing. So, for example, Antioch was ungraded. We wanted to have
grades. We thought that it hindered students’ ability to get jobs if they
didn’t have grades. Antioch had rules that meant you could always retake
finals, so there was never any finality and you never, sort of, got to that
do-or-die point. You know it was “Eh, if I blow this exam I can retake it.”
Oh my god, people would be retaking finals for years. And so on and so
forth. It was pass/fail. We just wanted to do a lot of things very
differently, but Vivian had brought it extraordinary classes of passionate
advocates for justice and we wanted her back immediately. I met with her
at lunch. I had worked very closely with her. She and I had actually
admitted one entire class at Antioch because the chair of the committee
had gone on sabbatical, and no one was convening the committee and no
class was being admitted. My research assistant was working with her and
told me that and I said tell her I’d be willing to help, and the next thing I
knew, I was reading hundreds of application files. Vivian and I were
making the decisions on who was coming in. She and I never disagreed
about anyone, and I thought she was great. So she said “Well, how much
will you pay?” and I asked Stephanie Brown how much can we pay?
Stephanie Brown said “Well, this is the range,” and I said well whatever
the top of the range was, which I think it was $39,000 or maybe it was
$36,000, some pathetically low salary, but I hired her at the highest
amount I could. I brought in Jean and Edgar Kahn, who I thought I’d buy
the candy store, I’d buy the bridge from them. I thought if anybody can
convince future advocates for justice to come, it would be them. They
sent their son Jonathan in, who was a brilliant, Harvard-trained lawyer to
negotiate salary and I said, “Jonathan, there’s no negotiation. Here’s what
I have and they’re getting every penny of it.” “Okay.” We’ve been
friends ever since.
Mr. Gross: They were excited about coming back?
Ms. Broderick: Thrilled. Yes. Just on that piece, so let’s keep going. So, I had to find a
building, and I didn’t know how to find a building. Some guy contacted
me. His name was Jack, I can’t remember his last name now, and he was
at some real estate firm, and he showed me some buildings. And other
people showed me buildings, and I’d hear about buildings, and I went and
looked at, I don’t know, thirty buildings. I looked at the car barn, and I
met with O. Roy Chark. So the one thing I knew was that law libraries are
very, very heavy, and they require 150 pounds per square foot floor
loading, so you needed a place that could sustain that kind of floor load. I
knew that because of all the stories around Library of Congress. They had
to start over. They built something that didn’t have sufficient floor load.
Someone had told me that, so I knew that. But I was petrified that what
else don’t I know? I mean, I happened to know that, but what are the
other million things?
Mr. Gross: Other minutia.
Ms. Broderick: Yes. Do you have to have a sprinkler system? What are the ADA
requirements? Well they didn’t have an ADA yet, come to think of it. I
got a call from Louie Clark, who ran the Government Accountability
Project, which was one of our clinics, and he said “You know, we just
hired Coldwell Banker, a guy named Randy Levitt, to find us a building
and we had various specific requests. We wanted windows that opened,
we wanted an environmentally safe building. They were absolutely
wonderful to work with, and you should talk to them.” And that was
literally a gift from God. I called Randy Levitt. He came over, and he
devoted thousands of hours to holding my hand. Again, this 35-year-old
kid who has to find a building and move us into it and sign a multi-million
dollar lease. So one day he showed me buildings, and we narrowed it
down very quickly to two buildings, right at Metro Center, both of which
were available. D.C. had tremendously overbuilt at that point, and so
there was all this old stock available. We couldn’t afford new stock. All
this old stock that was going to be torn down, it was a recession, there
wasn’t any money. And so, they were willing to rent out fairly cheaply.
And I said “I don’t know what I don’t know.” And so Randy suggested
that we do an RFP, Request for Proposal, and have architectural firms
come in a do a feasibility study on these building options. And I said
“Yes, good idea. That’s a great idea.” And so we wrote a request for
proposal, we issued it, and about ten or twelve architectural firms replied.
Randy helped me work through a device by which to measure what was
the best firm for this process. We followed the process that he laid out. I
cannot begin to tell you how calm and cool and collected he was every
day. I knew this guy as well as I’ve ever know anybody in my life. We
were joined at the hip for months. From looking at buildings, through this,
it was determined, and thank God we did this because it was determined
we would need a zoning variation for the library, and we would have to
spread the floor load and we could only have stacks that were three feet
high and they had to be much farther apart than they would normally be,
which would mean we required much more space to house the library, and
so on and so forth. But we learned what we needed for bathrooms and
what we needed for sprinklers, and all the other stuff. We selected the
building, and it was just a brilliant choice because it was on the corner of
13th and G, right next to where Macy’s is, right at Metro Center. Three
blocks from the DC Council, two subway stops to the courts. I mean, it
was the most perfect location you could have. David Split helped me to
negotiate the lease, which was seventy pages long, and I’m saying “We
need bicycle racks,” and he says “Bicycle racks? Shelley, focus. Focus.”
And I’m like “No, no. We have to have bicycle racks.” So we negotiated
this lease. By that time, there was no phone system at Antioch. Antioch
had threatened to sue us, they were on the brink of suing us to get out the
building. We had to move, and we had to move fast because they wanted
to sell the building.
Mr. Gross: You were up against the clock.
Ms. Broderick: We’re up against the clock. I’m negotiating this lease from the payphone
in the lobby at Antioch because I had no phone. This was, of course,
before cell phones and everything. I’m in the payphone putting dimes in,
negotiating this lease. It was discovered that the building had asbestos.
The building had to be draped. The whole building had to be draped while
they worked around the clock to remove every ceiling tile in the building
because they had asbestos. All 6 floors, 56,000 square feet.
The day they finished, they took the drape off, and we moved in to
the sixth floor, as lawyers say, “as is; with all faults.” The building had no
air conditioning, it had no ceiling tiles. There were wires hanging out of
the ceiling and out of walls. There were holes in the wall where the last
move had taken place. Nothing was painted. Did I mention no A/C? It
was the hottest summer, it was 1988, it was the hottest summer on record
since 1942. And I know that because Joe Rauh, member of the board and
a legendary civil rights lawyer, was reminiscing about being interviewed
by The Washington Post about the previous hottest summer on record as
his son Michael was born that summer in July. Why do I remember that, I
don’t know. In any case it was just blistering hot on the top floor of this
I had to find a place to house 70,000 volumes because Antioch’s
library, which was owned originally by Catherine Graham’s family. It
was the Meyer mansion and is now part of Meridian House. We had to be
out and we didn’t have a building. So Hilda Mason found a Metro
warehouse. She was on the Metro board, as part of the council, and we
found a Metro warehouse and we got the D.C. public schools’ trucks to
come in and move 70,000 volumes into the Metro warehouse and house
them for us.
We had to hire a librarian. In came a guy George Strait. My
theory was we needed either an old lion that the ABA couldn’t challenge
or some Young Turk who’s going to work like a dog and make it all
happen. An older guy who had been forced to retire I think at age 70,
from the University of Iowa, who had been the founding librarian at
Antioch. He’d been at Harvard, he and his wife were going through a
divorce, he needed to kind of get out of Dodge, came down to Antioch for
a year or two and was the founding librarian for the library. He was ready
to come back from Iowa, where he’d been ever since, and be our founding
library. He was an African-American guy, a real wonderful guy. I adored
him, with a thick Boston accent. He said “Shelley, I’m going to tell you
my acquisitions policy.” I said, “What’s your acquisitions policy,
George?” He said, “Beg, Borrow, Steal, Barter, and Purchase. In that
order.” I said “You’re hired!” I actually think he was hired when Bill was
on board. I might have hired. I forget if I hired him or Bill Robinson.
I had to hire a dean. So we found a dean. He was a good friend of
Tom Mack’s named Frank Jones. We hired him, and the board was
thrilled with him. He was wonderful. He was a tall, handsome AfricanAmerican man with an eye patch. He was like a model. He was a
gorgeous guy. Very smart, lovely guy. Frank Jones started, and I forget if
it was two weeks or four weeks later, he was moving down from Boston.
He had been part of Tom Mack’s law practice. He’d been moving down
from Boston, only he just really wasn’t moving. I was supposed to be
turning over the reins, but it wasn’t happening. One day he took me for a
walk in what is now Trump Hotel, the Old Post Office, and we sat there
and he burst into tears. I thought what the hell? He said he actually had
not cleared his accepting of this position with his wife. He hadn’t
mentioned it to her. He had been waiting for the right time. He had
finally mentioned it to her and she said, “Hell no, I won’t go.” And so, he
had to resign. Meanwhile, we had had a huge welcoming party at the D.C.
Council for him. And I’m back in charge. I had never not been able to be
in charge because he had never actually come. So we had to start back at
the drawing board and find a dean. Meanwhile, we had just graduated the
last class of Antioch, we’re moving in to the new building, and Edgar
Cahn said, “You know who’d be good? Bill Robinson. He’s the head of
the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. I talked to him not long ago,
and it’s clear to me he’s ready for the next chapter, and the Academy
might be something that he would consider and we should talk to him.”
Meanwhile, I had felt that it was very important to have an AfricanAmerican dean. At that time in the District of Columbia, it was known as
“Chocolate City.” It was something like 73% African-American. It was
just the right thing to do to have this school be led by a man or a woman of
color, and I think that view was shared by the board. I had reached out to
Charles Ogletree to talk to him about thinking about it. He came down
and interviewed, and I took him to Joe Rauh’s house. Joe had terrible
health issues and very nearly died, but he was so game to make this law
school happen that he did the interviews right in his home. I took Charles
Ogletree to his home. I interviewed Frank Carter from the Public
Defender Service and other people. I talked to a lot of people about this.
We got so lucky to get Bill Robinson. He was head of the American Bar
Association’s Section on Individual Rights and Liberties, the Civil Rights
Section of the American Bar Association. He was a civil rights champion
who’d argued the two biggest labor law cases in the Supreme Court. He
had run an organization for ten years. He had worked before that at the
NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and before that at the EEOC. He was
perfect. It was like central casting sent him to us. He was a graduate of
Oberlin and of Columbia Law School. And he wanted to do it. Stephanie
and I took him to lunch, and he agreed to come on board. He was hired,
and his first day was the first day of classes, September 6, 1988.
Mr. Gross: The building at this point has classrooms?
Ms. Broderick: We moved in in May, in as-is, with all faults. The reason we started
September 6 was because it was the last possible day. If we have the last
final exam Christmas Eve, we could meet the ABA time requirements for
offering a class. So we wanted to give the builders as long as possible.
We moved in. It still reeked of paint, and we moved in to floors 1-5, or
maybe even 1-4. We had recruited fifty-six extraordinary risk-taking
pioneers. Eighteen of them had master’s degrees, six had PhDs. They
were extraordinarily diverse. They were cowboys. They just believed.
They believed Jean and Edgar,, they believed me and others. And in they
came September 6.
Mr. Gross: What was tuition? Do you remember?
Ms. Broderick: About $2,000 for D.C. residents, $4,000 for out-of-state. I remember the
first day, the very first student I met said, “Hi! I’m Oma Walliad-Bonna,”
and I thought this is going to be harder than I thought. Of course, I don’t
remember any of the Johns or the Bills, but I’ll never forget Oma WalliadBonna. We had an amazing group and they’ve gone on to do
Mr. Gross: That inaugural class?
Ms. Broderick: That inaugural class. And this is the 25th anniversary of their graduation.
They graduated in 1991, which was 25 years ago, and we’re going be
celebrating that this year.
Oral History of Dean Broderick
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of The Historical
Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewer is Robert Gross, and the
interviewee is Dean Katherine Shelton (“Shelley”) Broderick. The interview took place on
November 28, 2016. This is the third interview.
MR. GROSS: Okay, Shelley, it’s November 28, 2016. When we last left off, it was
September 1988. You purchased the new building, the new law school
class had come in, you had been the Administrator for a year of the new
D.C. School of Law, and you had already hired a Dean of the law school.
I believe your next role was Associate Dean? Or Academic Dean?
MS. BRODERICK: Bill Robinson, our founding Dean, said he would not accept the job unless
the two of us who had been running it, Stephanie Brown and me, agreed to
stay on. He said, “You could be special assistants.” Bill was not of the
Academy, and I said, “You know, they don’t really have special assistants,
we could be associate deans. You’re going to need an academic team.
You’re going to need an associate dean for administration. I actually tried
to get him to make us Vice Deans. I thought that would be more fun, but
he rejected that opportunity. So the idea was to do it for at least six
months, and I ended up doing it for four years. I became an Academic
Dean, something that in my wildest dreams I never imagined doing. And,
in fact, one of my close friends in law school, who’s now a judge, Diane
Berman, and I both started teaching at Antioch in 1979, and after a few
years she told me she wanted to be academic dean, and I remonstrated
with her for hours. I think it was the worst job on the planet. You do
exam schedules, you make faculty serve on committees they don’t want to
serve on, you make them teach at times they don’t want to teach. It’s a
horrible job. Anyway, flash forward, and the next thing you know, I’m
Academic Dean. And pretty quickly, I also became the Clinical Director.
So I was the Associate Dean for the Academic Program, or something like
that, and I was Clinical Director, and then I also was teaching Professional
Responsibility. So I was a very busy person for four years.
During that time, I also got married and had a baby, which is the
only way I got out of it at the end of four years. I stepped down the day
Isabella was born. In any case, I became Academic Dean, and I had no
idea what academic deans really do. So one of the very first things I did is
email – actually, I guess it was probably pre-email, come to think of it – I
called the academic deans at the area law schools and invited them to
lunch to kind of find out what they did. They had never done that before,
and it actually was enormously helpful. We became a support group for
each other. I’ve often said this. No one ever goes to the academic dean
with good news, right? They go to the academic dean when they’ve been
caught cheating or when their family member is dying, when they have a
health crisis, or when they are flunking out. And they go for
accommodations when they need extra help. There are a lot of tears in the
academic dean’s office. I would come back from lunch sometimes, and
I’d see a line of three or four people lined up to see me. “Oh God, maybe
I can just sneak back out,” you know? But it’s also an enormously
We had rules that said we didn’t want to flunk anyone out until
they’d at least had a year to see if the light bulb goes on. But if they had
done very poorly in the first semester—below a 2.0, say, GPA—they had
to see the academic dean, who would counsel them. If you do the math,
and get straight A’s in the second semester, you still would not have a
grade point average that would allow you to continue, so financially it
makes sense to leave now. Or, you know, all the panoply of possible
counseling you might give.
MR. GROSS: You had decided, right, that you would make the D.C. School of Law
academic curriculum and standard—that it would be much more sort of
traditional versus that old Antioch model you did have grades and exams
and everything was not pass/fail. So, it must have been a different kind of
academic environment from an administrative experience?
MS. BRODERICK: Well, we tried to learn from our mistakes. It was different, but, I’ll give
you an example. We decided to have grades instead of pass/fail, and we
did that because students with pass/fail had trouble getting jobs because
employers didn’t know what that meant. “Pass plus? What is that?”
Students really, really wanted actual, concrete grades. And so we agreed
to do that, but we decided we would never reveal them so we don’t rank.
We just did not want a competitive culture. We wanted a collaborative
and cooperative culture where people wanted to help each other. And that
is really true still today. We have an incredible, incredibly close family
feeling at the Law School to this day, and students cite that. And I know
this because we have a community outreach guy named Jordan Uhl, a very
talented guy. For graduation last year, he interviewed about 15 third-and
fourth-year graduating students, and he asked them what was special about
the law school. This was to be a video for the actual graduation ceremony.
He came to us in the administrative team and said, “You won’t believe it,
they all said the exact same thing. It’s just bizarre. I mean, I didn’t tell
anybody what I was going to ask. They didn’t have a chance to tell each
other what was going to be asked. They just all said, “It’s a family
atmosphere. We’re not competitive.” It’s probably because we’re not
ranked, and people help each other. There’s none of this dog-eat-dog and,
you know, I need to come out better than you kind of thing. We’re not –
what’s the word? We’ve never done it, so it doesn’t loom large for me,
but some schools require that there have to be 10% A’s and 10% F’s, and
there has to be a curve. We don’t do that. If lots of people earn A’s, that’s
a wonderful thing. We were good with that. If lots of people earn really
poor grades, we’re good with that, too. Because we want to actually give
you the real message. This is working for you or it isn’t.
In any case, as Academic Dean, you have a wonderful opportunity
to really work with people to help them try to diagnose what went wrong.
I learned a huge amount from the students in those sessions. There were
grownups who came in and said, “I’ve been a cop for a long time and I’ve
always been the smartest cop around, and I didn’t think I had to work very
hard, and I was wrong.” And a guy like that who turned it around and did
very, very well ultimately, but the first semester was just a crash and burn.
You have people going through terrible personal crises. Illness and death
and divorce and, you know, everything that happens to people, only it’s
happening while you’re in law school, and so law school doesn’t work for
you. People decide pretty quickly, “I hate this. I don’t like this. I don’t
want to do this after all.” And people who desperately want to do it and
can’t. They can’t, they just can’t get the hang of it. It’s deep. It’s very
real. It’s where people live and their hearts and souls are on the table. So
for four years, I had that wonderful opportunity to help counsel students
and help them to diagnose what had gone wrong and to think about
employing some time management strategies and taking advantage of
academic support systems, of seeing the professor, and you know, this
professor has his or her former exams on file in the library. Did you take a
sample exam so you had the practice of what it’s like to write a law school
essay? Because everybody tells you, “Oh, that’s totally different.” But,
what is it? You don’t know until you’ve tried it. So it’s a really good idea
to try it before you’re actually performing for a grade.
MR. GROSS: As you’ve said, a lot of these students, it may have been a long time since
they had – they may have taken a lot of time off since they were in
MS. BRODERICK: That’s right. And what the successful strategies for college are completely
different from what you do in law school. I tell people it’s like learning
how to drive. Intellectually, you know that all these people can drive, and
so you’re going to be able to drive too. But those first few opportunities to
drive are terrifying. You’re supposed to be reading signs and seeing
traffic coming at you from three or four different directions, including
behind you. And you’re supposed to be reading the lights and the signals
and operating a wheel and pedals, and people are in the car and the radio is
going on and it’s terrifying. Then there’s weather. And you know
intellectually you’re going to get there, but it’s like your mind is changing
gears in law school. It’s the same kind of thing. You’re using these tools
you’ve never used. In college, you’re supposed read everything there is to
know about something and think about it and regurgitate it, to a large
extent. You don’t do that at all in law school. You never have a test that
says “what’s the rule on x?” You have to apply a whole new set of facts.
You have to apply how would this rule work or this law work with regard
to this set of facts. And it ain’t easy. It’s a lot of skills. I remember
sitting in my class at Georgetown, 125 people in my class, and a 119 of us
got C or below on the first Contracts task. There were 119 people who’d
never seen grades like that before, there were a lot of us who were
absolutely horrified. It’s humbling.
MR. GROSS: How were those first few years of the new law school, of the new
building, the new student classes? It was the same admissions director, so
were the students substantially similar to the Antioch students? Was there
a different feel? I’m kind of curious what your impressions were of being
in the new place.
MS. BRODERICK: That’s a great question. I would say the students were very similar. The
founding class had 54 pioneers who – and don’t forget, it was an
unaccredited school. You would be fine as long as the school got
provisional accreditation prior to graduation of the first class, and we did
that. But you had to decide to go to an unaccredited law school and trust.
The founding class had eighteen people with master’s degrees and six
PhDs. It was deeply diverse in every conceivable way. They were
pioneers, and they’re still close. It’s an amazing group of people and
they’re doing wonderful things. They’re public defenders, and they work
at the Office of the Attorney General and in Legal Aid offices and the
D.C. General Counsel’s Office. All kinds of things, all over the place.
MR. GROSS: Did the subsequent entering classes grow? Did they shrink? What
happened after the first class?
MS. BRODERICK: They grew every year, and by the sixth year, we were turning away eight
students for every one accepted. We were just thriving. We had an
excellent bar passage rate for a provisionally-approved school. They were
getting great jobs, and it was wonderful.
MR. GROSS: Let’s go back and talk about some of the personal stuff, because you
mentioned that in these years, between 1988 and 1992 when you’re the
Academic Dean, you had gotten married.
MS. BRODERICK: Well, first I met John Clegg in 1989 at Dan’s Café and Pool Hall in
Adams Morgan on a Friday afternoon after a faculty meeting. Some of us
were thirsty, so we went out for a couple of beers at Milly & Al’s, and it
turned out to be one of those breathtakingly beautiful September nights.
We sat outside for a long time. My nieces were at a wedding party, a
bridal party, and ended up in Adams Morgan for a couple of beers, and at
Dan’s Café and Pool Hall. They dragged me in with them, and there was
this guy I had met vaguely before, but chatted with him. He called me and
said, “Ever since I ran into you at Dan’s Café and Pool Hall, I’ve been
wondering if I asked you out, would you go? I have fourth-row center
Rolling Stones tickets.” I said “John, I’m going to tell you right up front.
I would go with your mother or your dog, but yeah, I’ll go.” I had no
interest in him at all. We had a great time at the concert, we went to hear
music afterwards in Adams Morgan, at – there was a famous guy named
John A. who tap danced on the bar in one of the bars in Adams Morgan. It
turns out John went there often, I went there often, and we both knew John
A., and that was kind of fun. I went to dinner with him a couple weeks
later, kind of as a mercy thing, and I was on that second date for 25 years.
So, I met John. Our first date was September 25, 1989. I had quit
smoking on September 21, which was a good thing because that wouldn’t
have worked. He hated smoking. I vowed that I would quit smoking on
September 21, and the date was selected because our application for
provisional ABA accreditation was due the 15th
. I certainly couldn’t
smoke while that was in the works. I had to smoke while that was in the
works, and then I’d have a week to celebrate. And on the autumnal
equinox, I would clean up my act and never smoke again, and I’ve never
had another cigarette since September 21, 1989, and I had my first date
with John September 25
MR. GROSS: He was not a lawyer, and had nothing to do with law?
MS. BRODERICK: Nothing to do with law, not a college grad. He was a businessman. I
thought he was this big, tall, nerdy business guy. Ugh, no interest in him
at all. But it turns out he was really cool.
MR. GROSS: Sounds like it.
MS. BRODERICK: He was really cool. He had described his mother as “if the car is leaving
the driveway, she’s in it.” And he was just like that. Raring to go, always
up for an adventure, hop in the car, go anywhere, do anything, go hear
music, a ballgame, out to dinner, different kinds of food, but loved
political debate around the dining room table more than anything else in
life. And loved my hometown of Maine and learned, taught himself, how
to sail, or I taught him how to sail initially.
MR. GROSS: Was he from there?
MS. BRODERICK: No, he was a northwestern Pennsylvania farm boy. He grew up on a 650-
acre farm, 20 miles south of Erie. He was a really smart guy, bored in
school and joined the Navy in his senior year. Got a GED and saw the
MR. GROSS: Your daughter was born in 1992?
MS. BRODERICK: Isabella Sophia Clegg. I felt with a last name like Clegg, she needed some
music in her name. She was six days shy of being a first wedding
anniversary present when she arrived. I took a sabbatical, the only
sabbatical I’ve ever had since, literally, 1979. I’ve had one. A total
failure on my part to take advantage of the glories of the academy. I was
on sabbatical. I left the Dean’s office and had the summer off and then
had a fall sabbatical, went back the following spring and taught just one
class and then had the next summer off. So I really had fifteen months
with her, and that was the best decision I ever made. It does take two fulltime people, a full-time job, with raising a child, as you may have noticed.
She was just perfect in every way. Just an utter delight. A happy,
tractable, cheerful, raring to go, went with us everywhere.
MR. GROSS: You guys had an active lifestyle, it sounds like to me.
MS. BRODERICK: We certainly did.
MR. GROSS: Don’t let the child affect that.
MS. BRODERICK: “Come on, let’s go.” She was a character. She was just always surprising
us. We’d be driving along, and in the back of the car, you’d all of a
sudden realize she’s singing “Lucy in the sky with diamonds.” She’s two!
How does she know the lyrics to that song? She was a character.
By the way, we had a fabulous wedding.
MR. GROSS: Tell about that.
MS. BRODERICK: Well, we did it entirely by committee.
MR. GROSS: Did you get married here?
MS. BRODERICK: We got married at the Mott House, across from the Supreme Court, in a
beautiful garden. My sister ran the Mott House for many, many years, and
her successor was actually an old boyfriend of mine, Conrad Martin. A lot
of weddings take place there, and so we had a lot of committees. So, my
close, close lifelong friends, almost my brothers, the Nabb brothers.
Christopher Nabb lives in Washington and is Isabella’s godfather. His
wife made my wedding dress. She was a fashion design major at Pratt,
and her neighbor turned up with the hat. We had the rock and roll band
committee. We went to hear some bands to hire a band for the postwedding party, which took place in the basement of the Irish Times Bar on
Capitol Hill. We had a tasteful string quartet at the wedding in the garden.
My brother had been a chef. He had been the chef at the Tabard Inn, and
my brothers and sisters and I all owned a restaurant together for years, and
my brother was the chef.
MR. GROSS: Where was the restaurant?
MS. BRODERICK: In Cape Cod. It was called the First Edition. He catered this. We had 220
people, and so all of us chipped in. We had dinner for 75 the night before
the wedding here at our house. All the out-of-town guests and family
came to the night-before-the-wedding dinner party. Note to self, don’t do
that again. That was a lot of work. I had to go the next morning first thing
for a fitting, the final fitting of the wedding dress, on the wedding day. It
wasn’t quite finished yet. She was actually sewing the sleeve up on the
way to the wedding, in the Jeep, bouncing along. So we had wonderful,
fabulous hors d’oeuvres. My future sister-in-law is a baker, so she made
the wedding cake for 220 people, which was a gorgeous chocolate cake
with basket-weave buttercream frosting and a raspberry layer. Oh god,
MR. GROSS: How convenient is it for a wedding when half your family’s in the food
industry. That’s great.
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. Dave Carp was there, and Fred Abramson was the chair of the board.
Joe Rauh and his wife Olie were there. A friend from California who’s a
labor organizer said, “You know, I regard myself to the left of left, but
your wedding, it was liberal heaven.”
MR. GROSS: What year was that? When did you get married?
MS. BRODERICK: We got married April 6, 1991, and we honeymooned in Buenos Aires and
Rio de Janeiro and also in Uruguay. We had a blast. John’s dowry was
over 300,000 frequent flier miles, so we went first class.
MR. GROSS: So those were busy years. And exciting years.
MS. BRODERICK: I’ll say. Busy as can be.
MR. GROSS: So the school gets accreditation in 1991. That must have been exciting
and thrilling and relieving.
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. February. In the nick of time. And we were thrilled, not surprised at
all, that the law school was thriving. It was just great. We really did it
right. It’s wonderful to have a law school with a lot of great features, and
then get to start over and sort of take all the great features but also kind of
Antioch had three required clinics, plus a required ten-credit
internship. And at Antioch, in the early years, you went year-round the
first year. The first and only time you got any time off was the second
summer. And they had required something like 95 credits or something,
and that’s just a lot. Too many. The average law school is 88 credits. So,
88 seems good. We have 90. We figure we have a lot of clinic, which is
instead of what would otherwise be electives. Ninety is good. It’s is an
average of 15 every semester for six semesters, right? So that’s doable
without being too oppressive. If you take a summer here and there, you
can have a little bit of a lighter load from time to time, that kind of thing.
And that’s what most people do. So it works. But we were very
intentional about everything we did. We brought in a lot of very
renowned legal educators, including Gary Bellow and others from
Harvard, Jay Feinman from Rutgers, and some very, very thoughtful and
innovative people to talk about curricular matters.
MR. GROSS: When did you start directing the clinical program?
MS. BRODERICK: I was clinic director roughly 1988 or 1989.
MR. GROSS: And what did that mean? As a non-law school person, what does it mean
to be the Clinical Director?
MS. BRODERICK: I forget exactly how many clinics we had then, probably six or so. It
meant that I held a Clinical Affairs Committee meeting weekly and made
sure that everyone was doing their student evaluations and knew how to
do them. We had a very elaborate competency-based legal education
system, so we wanted to make sure that everyone was teaching the
competencies and the 52-some competencies. You know, what is oral
advocacy? When you break that down, it has a lot of components that you
have to get right, right? You have to be well-organized, it has to be an
oral advocate, it provides a road map. Here’s where we’re going and then
you go there and then here’s where we went. You have to have good
grammar. You have to make eye contact and otherwise engage the
listener. You know, all of those things go into a good oral advocacy
performance. So, if you’re going to teach someone to be a good oral
advocate, you have to let them know what it takes, what you’ll be looking
for. You have to provide them multiple opportunities to perform in
gradually more difficult scenarios. And then you have to give them
prompt feedback so that they know where they didn’t make the grade and
where they were successful. And then at the end, you actually evaluate
them. So you assess them going along, and in the end there’s an
evaluation. And so that’s all very focused. There are six competencies.
There’s oral advocacy, written advocacy, problem solving, professional
responsibility, and so on.
MR. GROSS: Where do these competencies come from? Did you guys come up with
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. Russ Cort and Jack Sammons did it at Antioch. So when I was hired
at Antioch, I was hired as a graduate student, and I took a course on the
competencies so I got really fluent in them. So if you decide these are the
competencies you’re going to be teaching, that helps drive the
development of your syllabus. So, I’m going to want to sprinkle
opportunities for problem solving. I’m going to want to make sure that the
students have written advocacy opportunities.
MR. GROSS: That helps you know what you’re trying to assess, as well, I guess, at the
end of the day.
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. And then we spend a lot of time – we did things like, when I was
Academic Dean, let’s have everyone, clinic and non-clinic faculty, talk
about the ways in which they teach the competencies. So everyone come
to a – we used to call them APs, Assessment and Planning sessions. We’d
have a two-hour lunch, and everyone would come with the way in which
they teach Professional Responsibility in a clinic or a classroom. Do you
have a set class where you go over the rules that are most relevant? How
do you bring up ethical issues as they arise in cases? How are they
discussed? How are students evaluated or assessed in their developing,
what it takes to be an ethical lawyer? So we shared those across the
curriculum, and that was really helpful. It was a very exciting time in
developing law schools. Thrilling, actually.
MR. GROSS: That’s really neat. And tell me about the internship program as well. You
just never stop directing different programs. So, in 1993, you take over
that as well.
MS. BRODERICK: So, Isabella’s born in 1992. On March 31, 1992, and I went back in 1993.
And I guess I was asked to take over the internship program, I can’t
remember quite why. And the Legislation Clinic. So the internship
program, as I recall, the person who’d been running it – so the American
Bar Association has very strict rules, because they see internships as a
farm-out. You pay us tuition, and we send you to the Public Defender
Service and they teach you. How is this a good deal for the student?
What safeguards do you have in place to make sure that there’s a good
learning experience happening? Well, one of the things you teach is, you
know, I would tell students, “You’re paying us a lot of tuition dollars to go
work for free for an organization, so it’s in your benefit to make sure that
works for you.” So one thing you need to do is make sure you get good
supervision. Let’s look at what goes in to good supervision. I always
have students talk about what’s an example of good supervision that
you’ve received, what works for you? It’s important to know what works
for you and what doesn’t work. So I have them write down an example of
good supervision and of bad supervision. And you always get the same
supervisory sins. Micromanaging. “I was micromanaged. I hated it.
They made me report in every five minutes.” Okay, so you want to be
clear that while you welcome guidance, you don’t welcome
micromanagement. And so, you know what you’re on the lookout for.
Well, what are strategies you might employ if you feel that you’re being
micromanaged? What are some of the things you can do and how do you
escalate up the scale? Okay, we haven’t solved the micromanaging
problem, what do I try next? Or you’ve got the supervising attorney
who’s your hero but too busy or never available to give you any feedback.
So you can request a weekly meeting, even if its thirty minutes. Lots of
strategies you can employ to improve the supervisory relationship. But
remember we’re going to be judging you on your problem solving, and it’s
not gonna be okay to come to me at the end of the semester and say “I
didn’t get good supervision.” You’ve got to try to get good supervision.
Escalate your efforts. And then you got to bring it to me so that I can get
into it to make sure you get good supervision and we’ll make a change.
That’s problem solving. It’s not okay to not get what you need. You have
to ensure that you do get what you need.
MR. GROSS: Did you have to find any of the internships?
MS. BRODERICK: A combination. Some students came and said I’ve got this connection to
this congressman, and I’ve got an opportunity to work there, and I want to
do that. Others were I’d like to work at doing civil liberties work, but I
have no idea how to go about making that happen. I’ve been in D.C. for a
long time and know lots of people, and so it’s not hard for me to arrange
for people to get internships in lots of places.
MR. GROSS: And, were you teaching during these years as well?
MS. BRODERICK: We had a seminar component, and I taught something called Perspectives
on Social Justice. We would read law review articles about critical race
theory, feminist theory, labor union perspective, and many, many other
topics. And I would actually have the students teach the class. They
would take turns teaching the class, often. People did amazing things.
They would arrange debates, they would do a talk show. Fascinating. I
loved it. It was a great, great course.
MR. GROSS: So that was not connected with the internship?
MS. BRODERICK: It was. If you have more than six credits, there has to be a seminar. And
so some schools have an internship where it’s all judicial and everybody
clerks for a judge. We wanted to let people do whatever they wanted to
do, so that meant a more generalized seminar component. And they all
had to write a 25-page paper. So I had up to 20 students in the internship
program at a time, and I had to grade multiple drafts of 25-page research
papers. That was torture.
MR. GROSS: I know the pain well. And then you’re also continuing to represent
MS. BRODERICK: So at this time, I was teaching I think Professional Responsibility. And I
taught Professional Responsibility by, I would have them actually do a
take-home exam because I wanted them to roam through all of the Rules
of Professional Responsibility and to find the right answer. I always had
wonderful do-gooder lawyers making terrible mistakes. Do-gooders like
me think that do-gooders are the angels and the saints and they always get
it right, but they don’t. And so I always have some wonderful crusader
lawyers screwing up conflicts of interest and so forth, and they have to
find and root out what the rules are and apply to these contexts. I loved
teaching Professional Responsibility.
Then I got into the Legislation Clinic. At this time, we were
downtown at 13th and G, and there was a guy who played keyboards at the
Metro station every morning. Everybody called him the music man. Dave
Clarke hired him to play at his birthday party. He was great. You’d be
coming up and you’d hear him play and “All right!” you know? He’d play
great soul stuff and wonderful uplifting, upbeat music. And one day,
Louise Helms, a member of the faculty, came in and said, “They’ve
arrested the music man!” It turned out he was arrested under this new
statute that criminalized panhandling. They had taken him to jail for
panhandling, when in fact, he just played music and had a bucket for tips.
So the next day, I saw him, and I said, “I understand that you were
arrested yesterday. I’m a lawyer, and I work right up the street, but I get
paid by the D.C. government, so I don’t have to charge people when I take
cases, and if you wanted to talk to me about maybe representing you, I’d
welcome the chance to do that.” And he dashed into my office, picked up
his keyboards and his buckets and all that stuff. And Phillip Smallwood
became a client of mine for years. I represented him in countless cases. It
turned out that we challenged the statute as unconstitutional and
overbroad. It characterized saying “alms for the poor, alms for the poor.”
If you say it a second time, that’s aggressive panhandling. It was just an
outrageous statute, and it was used really to harass people. So I prepared
to go to trial over and over again, and every time it went to trial, the
government would dismiss the case. It was wonderful, and I got interested
in challenging the statute and ended up writing a Law Review article about
I had just been working on a case, a piece of legislation around the
death penalty, with Dave Clarke. And through Dave had been introduced
to Art Spitzer, who was the Legal Director of the ACLU in Washington,
D.C., and I had gotten to be friendly with him. He was wearing a very
handsome fish tie, a tie with fish on it for some reason, I’m sure why. I
was writing this first Law Review article, and when I first looked into
panhandling, I thought, okay, that must be commercial speech, and I was
completely ignorant. Wrong. It was actually protected speech. Saying
“alms for the poor,” you’re allowed to say that in the public forum. So I
learned a huge amount about the First Amendment, and Art was kind
enough to critique the article, the draft, and he loved it and wanted to send
it around to other jurisdictions that were challenging these overbroad,
quality of life statutes. Many of them criminalizing panhandling all over
the place. And as a result of that, I was asked to actually join the
Litigation Screening Committee of the ACLU and then ultimately, the
Board and became the President and Vice President on the Board for a
million years. I’m still on the Litigation Screening Committee and the
MR. GROSS: What happened to the statute?
MS. BRODERICK: It was upheld. It was a 2 to 1 vote.
MR. GROSS: In what court?
MS. BRODERICK: In D.C. Court of Appeals. But in the end of the day, there were a lot of
amendments made to clean it up a little bit. It was awful. It was these
Rudy Giuliani, quality-of-life statutes that were passed, thousands of them
all over the country.
MR. GROSS: Was your client locked up?
MS. BRODERICK: He was locked up many times overnight, and they would seize his
keyboard as an instrumentality of the crime of panhandling. He used to
say to me, “Panhandling? Begging? I hate beggars. I’d rather rob you,
and I know how.” He had been a career criminal, and he was so smart that
he became kind of a jailhouse lawyer, and he found the proverbial
loophole and got himself out of jail when he was about 50. He said,
“Begging? I don’t beg. I work two shifts a day.” Which he did. Every
day. He was there every day, morning and evening shifts.
MR. GROSS: What happened to him? He kept playing and everything was fine? They
stopped harassing him?
MS. BRODERICK: He kept playing for many years. He would move his buckets a little
further away. He actually died of sickle cell anemia, and a lot of us
contributed to try to help him at the end. He was a lovely, lovely guy.
Wonderful guy. I have a wonderful picture of Isabella with him when she
was a little girl. I loved doing that work with him.
MR. GROSS: I just want to close the loop on the Legislation Clinic because it was
around the same time. You’re teaching in that capacity?
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. In December, the Dean said to me, “Shelley, I want you to run the
Legislation Clinic.” Bob Bergdorf, who then ran it – It was founded by
Bob Bergdorf and David A. Clarke, and Bob Bergdorf was the principal
author of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He did supervise the
federal portion of the clinic. And Dave Clark, the immediate past chair of
the D.C. Council, supervised the local part. Dave ran for mayor in 1990
and lost very badly. When he ran for mayor, he had to give up his Council
seat. So he came to teach at the law school and co-direct our Legislation
Clinic and did that until 1993 when his successor, Johnny Wilson,
committed suicide. Dave ran for the seat again and won handily. And so I
all of a sudden, having worked closely with Dave to get the law school
established, I became his boss as Academic Dean. I made him put up all
his plaques and his memorabilia on the wall. “Oh, I don’t want to do all
that.” And I said, “Yes. The students need to know who you are and the
chops that you have. I want that up.” So we had a big unveiling of his
gorgeous office with all of his amazing things.
MR. GROSS: You first met him when he was on the Council, then?
MS. BRODERICK: I did. Well, I met him first when he was a Ward One council member
because my first client, when I was a third-year law student, he had been
represented by him previously. They wanted to revoke his parole, and so I
sought Dave Clarke out and talked to him about that.
MR. GROSS: And there he is then working at the law school, so then he leaves the law
MS. BRODERICK: He goes back onto the Council. But when he was at the law school he
said, “Look, you need to place students in the offices of the D.C.
Councilmembers because the D.C. Council writes the check, writes the
appropriation for the law school, and they need to know and love the
students. They need the help, and the students then will get jobs, and one
day it will be the graduates of the public law school for the District of
Columbia who become members of the D.C. Council and who work in the
agencies and become the mayor and become the local judges. And that’s
all true. We currently have a member of the D.C. Council is an alum. We
have two brand new judges who graduated from the D.C. School of Law,
Nakia Waggoner and Shana Frost Matini. So proud of them I can hardly
MR. GROSS: Who is the Councilmember?
MS. BRODERICK: LaRuby May, Ward One. She replaced Marion Barry for whom she
interned when she was in the Legislative Clinic. And if you look in the
D.C. Council, Chiefs of Staff, and Legislative Council, and so on, all over,
countless members of the Council, are our graduates.
MR. GROSS: And that’s Dave Clarke’s legacy?
MS. BRODERICK: One of his many legacies, yes.
MR. GROSS: So then you took over that program?
MS. BRODERICK: Well, I said to the Dean, “You want me to direct the Legislation Clinic? I
know legislators, I know nothing about legislation.” “You’ll be fine,
you’ll be fine.”
MR. GROSS: Following up a guy that was the chair?
MS. BRODERICK: Chair of the Council, yes. Well, one of the things Dave did, is he
inveigled the general counsel to the Council to actually come and do three
sessions teaching the students statutory drafting. So I picked right up on
that, and Charlotte Brookins-Hudson, for years, guest-lectured and taught
in the Legislation Clinic, the legislation drafting, and then when she
retired from the Council, she actually came and co-directed the clinic for a
few years and was fabulous. She just retired, and we just started a
wonderful new clinic with a federal focus. They actually just drafted a
piece of legislation, and that was approved this semester in the D.C.
Council, that would eliminate the tax on feminine hygiene products. They
don’t tax Viagra, but they do tax Tampax. Why is that, exactly? They
shouldn’t. Our client was a group that supplies homeless shelters, and one
of the biggest expenses is feminine hygiene products. And so if you
eliminated the tax on those, it would be really helpful.
MR. GROSS: And the students did that?
MS. BRODERICK: The students did that.
MR. GROSS: Wrote the legislation? Very cool.
MS. BRODERICK: Really cool. The beat goes on.
MR. GROSS: Okay. So, a few other points here in the early 1990s. Because there’s a
lot going on, so I want you to help take me through this. There seem to be
a number of battles over funding for the law school.
MS. BRODERICK: Yes.
MR. GROSS: First, in 1991, this is under Mayor Sheila Pratt-Dixon and then in 1994.
Was it serious? I mean, these were times when there’s at least threats of
“We’re gonna defund the law school” so why was that happening and
what was that experience like?
MS. BRODERICK: Sharon Pratt-Kelly, Sharon Pratt-Dixon-Kelly, was her name actually.
Sharon Pratt-Dixon, then, zero-budgeted the law school two years in a
row. Marion Barry zero-budgeted the law school. So there were various
reasons, I’ve talked to you previously about Barry. Sharon Pratt-Kelly
just rubber-stamped the previous budget, so we ended up having all kinds
of organizing efforts and, actually, John Wilson and John Ray – So the
mayor proposes a budget to the Council, and we were zero-budgeted in
that. And then the Council comes up with, they have to use the same total
number, but they can move the money around. “Oh, we’re gonna take it
from this committee and give it to that.” And so, John Wilson and John
Ray came up with the money to restore the funding for the law school by
moving it from other areas.
MR. GROSS: Did you think the mayor was driven by the same concerns that Marion
Barry was driven by?
MS. BRODERICK: No. She rubber-stamped it. She just wasn’t careful. There wasn’t some
initiative she wanted to do. It wasn’t a meaningful thing to her. She
didn’t cry herself to sleep when it got reversed. But it was annoying
because, if you recall, it made me work a lot. Sharon Pratt-Dixon-Kelly
came in with a clean sweep. We’re gonna do things right. We’re going to
build a budget. That didn’t happen. That didn’t happen. It was sort of
So Dave Clark becomes Chair again and so the law school had
provisional accreditation, and in those days the ABA required that you
owned your own building, and the law school at that time was leasing a
building. And so Dave wanted to help us help to fund securing a building
for the law school. So he added a million dollars a year to the budget so
that the law school could enter into a lease-purchase arrangement and
lease to purchase a building.
MR. GROSS: The same building you were in, or a new building?
MS. BRODERICK: No. We would identify a new building. And we were thrilled. Finally,
we’re going to own our own building, we’ll have full accreditation. When
you have provisional accreditation, the American Bar Association sends a
site team in, a seven-person team, for three days. You have to submit a
full-cell study and 2,000 pages of accompanying documents. It’s an
MR. GROSS: Every year?
MS. BRODERICK: Every year. It’s an enormous time suck. And, of course, when we finally
got full accreditation, my stock line was, “Now that we got the ABA boot
off our neck, we can turn our attention to ending poverty and inequality.”
It was an exhausting enterprise, but a worthy enterprise. The ABA had
some silly rules, like why do you have to own your building? Why
wouldn’t a 20-year lease suffice? What’s up with that? But, in any case,
he announced the addition of a million dollars. And, right at that time,
The Washington Post picked us out as the poster child for poor budgeting.
The Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on the District of
Columbia announced that they were going cut a hundred million dollars
from the D.C. budget and close the D.C. School of Law. This was
announced on Bastille Day in 1994, and the front page of The Washington
Post, and students transferred in droves and students made the decision not
to come and attend. They attended other law schools as a result which had
a terrible impact on us. We launched a battle, and at the end of the day,
Carol Moseley-Braun wrote a “Dear Colleague” letter that we drafted for
her and got members of the Black Caucus and others to sign on saying,
“As a matter of Home Rule, it’s fine for us to cut the budget, but it’s not
okay for us to say what items in the budget the District of Columbia has to
cut. That’s up to D.C., and D.C. should do that.” So at that time, we won
that battle, but, oh boy, was that devastating.
MR. GROSS: So that entering class in 1994, the people that had already accepted in the
summer, some of them declined to come? Others decided to transfer?
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. Half the seat deposits didn’t come. Half the people who had put
their money down to hold the seat.
MR. GROSS: They didn’t show up in August or September of that year?
MS. BRODERICK: They didn’t come. Yes. And lots of people transferred. So it was
devastating because that plays out over who comes and who passes or
does not pass the bar three years hence, and so on. So, meanwhile, the
writing was on the wall. The city had announced a $722 million deficit.
MR. GROSS: Right. These were the times of the budget control mess.
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. Congress announced a financial control board, and Alice Rivlin
came in and did the Rivlin Report, called for the closure of the law school.
I’ve been teasing Alice about that ever since. Because we fought that
back. It was every week, there was another extraordinary life-or-death
struggle. Congressman Charles Taylor tried to get the law school closed.
There were nineteen negative editorials about the law school. “We have
plenty of law schools. We just don’t need another law school.” Alice
Rivlin’s report said, “It’s a good law school, and it’s got an important
mission and it’s meeting its mission, but we can’t afford it.” It was
MR. GROSS: So what ended that spiral? Because it’s hard to attract students and faculty
in that environment.
MS. BRODERICK: What happened was the writing was on the wall that we would be
defunded, because with slashing the budget, every member of the D.C.
Council was looking for money and here we were, the tiniest agency.
Here was this $4.5 million delicious dollop that everyone was lusting
after. So Bill Robinson, our Dean, asked us to put together a taskforce, on
which I served, to come up with a plan to survive.
MR. GROSS: This would have been in 1994?
MS. BRODERICK: And going over into 1995. It was a five-part plan we developed. It was to
cut our budget in half, merge with the University of the District of
Columbia, eliminate the million dollar annual rent cost, double tuition,
start a part-time program to increase enrollment, and go after every grant
there is, and we put that plan in force. Dave Clarke, as Chair of the
Council, told UDC, “You’re taking a law school” and UDC fought it.
Dave Clarke called the Chair of the Board of UDC Law School into his
office and read him the Riot Act. “Make this happen.” Michele Hagans
was the UDC Chair of the Board, and she is a major donor to the law
school annually for years since because she regarded it as one of the great
legacies that she had. She was a founding mother, because without her
making that happen. She insisted that UDC do this important thing.
MR. GROSS: Why?
MS. BRODERICK: She got that public universities ought to have a public law school. You’re
training your people to run your own city. Law’s a huge part of that. She
just got it.
MR. GROSS: The Council was behind it?
MS. BRODERICK: The Council was behind it. Once our budget disappeared into the UDC
budget, nobody was going to get their hands on it anyway. We cut it in
half. It was another example of real leadership, and I give Bill a lot of
credit. Everybody was slashing and burning everything. It’s a miracle
that we survived. We moved up to UDC, so we made plans to move
MR. GROSS: This is 1996?
MS. BRODERICK: No. This is 1995. And we were gonna move July 1 to UDC, and classes
would start later in August. Our absolute drop-dead date was August 23rd
and I know this because I negotiated the lease with the help of David Split,
our general counsel. There were huge penalties that would come into play
if we overstayed August 23rd as the lease day. And July 1, we were all
packed up and ready to move.
MR. GROSS: Are you having déjà vu as this is happening.
MS. BRODERICK: Oh, god. Traumatic. At least I wasn’t negotiating this lease from a
payphone. It could have been worse. So, the plans are made to move us
to UDC, but UDC “we’re not ready, we’re not ready, we’re not ready,”
and we go through the month of July, we’re all sitting on the boxes in our
office all packed up. Guess what day we moved? I bet you can guess.
August 23, 1995. We moved on the last possible day. We arrived, and
there wasn’t a working elevator on campus. They had no cleaning
contract. The city had cut $18.6 million from the University’s budget,
mid-year. That doesn’t work for an academic program. We had the only
working copier, because we still had a copier contract, we were still
paying our copier contract. The whole university’s lined up to use our
MR. GROSS: What building did you move into?
MS. BRODERICK: We moved into what is now Fannie Mae. It was called Building 49, and it
was a lease building right over by where the Metro is. It was a horrible,
horrible building. My office was down this long hall in a windowless
cave. It was just awful. They had us on the second floor, the third floor,
and the sixth floor, or something like that, so we were not connected all
together. You had to walk a million miles to get to a copier. It was just
horrible. None of us had windowed offices except the Dean and the
Associate Deans. Everybody else was in windowless offices. Many of
them empty. All the windowed offices were empty, but they gave us the
windowless offices. The HIV/AIDS Clinic files, suddenly that file cabinet
was on the trash dock. We had to retrieve that. And people said awful
things to us in elevators, and they assigned us one classroom. You had to
walk all the way across campus, and because there wasn’t a working
elevator, you walked up four flights to get to your classroom, and half the
time it was locked and you couldn’t get in to hold the class. And when
you did get in, there were roaches. But we persevered.
The ABA came in for the annual visit. We had provisional
accreditation, but when you merge with a university, you have to start
over. So once again, as long as you have it prior to the graduation of the
class, and so the old folks were grandfathered in from the D.C. School of
Law. We’d now become UDC School of Law. And we had to get
provisional accreditation. We moved in August of 1995 and we had to
have in by 1998. And sure enough we got it in February of 1998, but that
was a miracle too.
MR. GROSS: I wanted to ask you about that. First, did students end up transferring as
well that didn’t want to move from the DC School of Law to UDC?
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. I had inveigled my niece into coming to the law school. She was a
Tufts graduate and came to the law school when we were downtown,
thriving, and everything was wonderful, and next thing we know we’re
broke and we’re moving to UDC in what felt like the dead of night. She
actually graduated from UDC and had a wonderful experience. A
wonderful, wonderful experience. Went to work for the Justice
Department Honors Program and had a great career. But, boy, that was
very difficult times. Very, very difficult times.
MR. GROSS: You continued to supervise the internship program?
MS. BRODERICK: I did the internship program and the Legislation Clinic.
MR. GROSS: And still doing it? When you transferred over to UDC, the academic
program largely remained the same?
MS. BRODERICK: Totally. Yes.
MR. GROSS: Did all the faculty come over as well?
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. Well, actually, we laid off two faculty members and some staff. It
was horrible times.
MR. GROSS: Did you think about leaving?
MS. BRODERICK: No. I was a true believer. I just was. I thought it was the greatest
experiment in legal education and such important work, and we just had to
keep going, make this happen. So we moved up to UDC and it was very
lean times. So it was an adjustment in a lot of ways. We had been an
independent law school for years, even while we were Antioch. Antioch
was in Ohio, so we didn’t salute anybody. We were used to running our
own show. Well we get to UDC, and there’s this Board. I had nothing to
do with the merger agreement, but Bill and the team crafted a merger
agreement that said whatever laws are in place for the law school will stay
in place unless or until the Board of UDC changes them, so the faculty
handbook was grandfathered in, and it’s still in place. The institutions
were very different, so UDC didn’t have tenure. We had tenure. We had
different leave and benefits. UDC’s were much better than ours. It took
me years to get UDC to let us have the same leave and benefits as our
colleagues down the hall. We were in this awful leased building that was
never going to work, and in fact, the university gave that building up. It
made provision for all of the university programs to move onto campus.
The university owned buildings on campus, except the law school. They
said we just don’t have money for you. This is the space you can have,
but there’s no money. That was 1998 when I first became Dean. It was
about the first thing I had to do. On our Board was John Pickering of
Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, a legendary lawyer, and he looked the part.
He looked like Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. Tall and imposing, white
hair and a cane. He went down to the control board with me because
when the law school was independent, we had had a capital budget, and
suddenly that capital budget, when we moved to UDC, just disappeared.
It was there, and with John Pickering, I was on his arm, they found that
money and suddenly we had a capital budget that we could use to build
out space for us. So suddenly we had space like everybody else had that
actually had offices and looked like a law school.
The first year, no cleaning contract, it was horrible. The second
year, they started classes for the rest of the university on October 1. The
law school said no, we can’t do that. That will violate ABA accreditation
standards, so we started in August, and the rest of the campus didn’t start
until October 1. And some ridiculous notion that there would be money
for the new fiscal year. It made no sense. It’s just not how academic programs run. It was awful. So we were at the mercy of the Board. The
Board had to agree to tenure people, and the Board had to agree to
approve things that we needed. It’s interesting, the university to their
credit never required us to put our academic programs through a process
that didn’t work.
MR. GROSS: You kept the tenure system?
MS. BRODERICK: We kept the tenure system. The thing was no one at UDC really had any
experience with ABA accreditation, so they were very deferential about
that. And that was a good thing because we actually knew what we were
doing with regard to accreditation, and we were in compliance and knew
how to stay in compliance. We appreciated the hands off on that part of it.
But boy, some very tough times.
So in 1997, things got a little better. There was a little more
stability, and, of course, again we had to go for accreditation in this
MR. GROSS: How were admissions? Were you bringing in new students?
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. Not in huge numbers. In 1997, we had to apply for provisional
accreditation as UDC.
MR. GROSS: To make sure that those first graduates that came in in 1995 could take the
MS. BRODERICK: That’s right. So in 1997, we had to apply, and the decision was actually
made in February of 1998. We had to put together the case.
MR. GROSS: Were you involved in that?
MS. BRODERICK: I was totally and completely involved. I wrote the testimony for the
Chairman of the Law School Board, the President, and the Dean. Because
you really need one person to do that so they each cover the appropriate
bases and not the same territory. Our Dean was down in Tennessee for the
hearing, and I was drafting testimony and hand-delivering it to the
President’s house and the Board Chair’s house and faxing it to the Dean. I
had always been the draftsperson for the testimony through the years. The
morning of the hearing, The Washington Post front page said the District
of Columbia balanced its budget for the first time in years, and I faxed that
headline down to the Dean.
MR. GROSS: Dewey defeats Truman [laughter].
MS. BRODERICK: And we got the vote by one vote. I had a dear friend on the ABA council
named John Kramer who had been my professor at Georgetown and had
gone on to become the Dean at Tulane. He was a family friend and a very
close friend of my sister’s. I had known him for years, and I knew him,
and he had been enormously helpful in counseling how to approach
various aspects of it. Our Dean, Bill Robinson, was wired too and knew a
lot of the members of the council and was really working on building the
vote. That night, John Kramer called me from the airport, and he said,
“I’m absolutely not allowed to tell you, but you got it.” That day, I had
gone to church. My husband, daughter, and I went to church and we went
out to brunch afterwards, and I remember weeping. I remember weeping.
I was morally outraged that we were going to go down and this wonderful,
bold and important experiment was going to fail because of stupid politics.
MR. GROSS: Why were you pessimistic?
MS. BRODERICK: Because the ABA teams would come in and put their arms around our
shoulders and pat us, saying I’m so sorry you have to go through this.
There wasn’t enough money, the facilities were terrible, bar passage rate
wasn’t good. We knew how to do it. We were turning it around, but it’s
like turning a ship. It doesn’t turn on a dime. A lot goes into it. But I
really think that the fact that we had been doing so well and knew how to
do it. We had the stable leadership. Little did they know, within a week
of receiving provisional accreditation that February, Bill announced that
he was stepping down. He was never so relieved.
Really, Bill was able to make the case that this is the public law
school for the nation’s capital, which is now a solvent city. Every
jurisdiction has a law school. There are only a couple that don’t. That
was pretty compelling.
So we got it, and there was a big party. Everybody flooded over
here. The students had been advised not to go. The president of the
Student Bar Association was a great guy named Joe Askew, and Joe
Askew rented a band and I encouraged him all the way, as did Professor
Edgar Cahn, who was the founding Dean of Antioch with his late wife,
Jean Camper Cahn. We both said, “Hell, we’ve got nothing to lose.
Absolutely. This is your law school.” They rented a van, and they drove
through the snow through the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee, and
they convinced the ABA to allow them to make a presentation, and they
did, and they lobbied. The ABA never let another student body speak
because it’s sort of like what are you going to do, ruin their lives? They
did a wonderful job. They were brave advocates. Joe is the government
relations head of Verizon. Good advocate then, good advocate now.
MR. GROSS: You deserved that party.
MS. BRODERICK: It was a hell of a party.
MR. GROSS: You still had provisional space, you still get the visiting team, each year.
MS. BRODERICK: Bill announced that he was going to step down in February, and he and I
put together a draft plan for the University to have a search committee and
who would be on the search committee, and it would be Judge Pryor, who
was a member of the faculty, and I would be on it to do the grunt work.
That was always my role.
MR. GROSS: I’m sensing a pattern.
MS. BRODERICK: We did the advertisement that the University would need to publish for the
Dean. We did the notification to the ABA. We put together a package of
everything that was needed to have a smooth and quick transition, and
then the Provost just didn’t act on it. She didn’t appoint the committee.
UDC had a culture of interims, and that year, there were three deans, and
all three were interim deans. It was just crazy. They just weren’t acting. I
was in New Jersey, at the Jersey Shore, at my sister-in-law’s for Memorial
Day weekend, and it occurred to me, oh my God, I’m going to be Interim.
I have to buy some suits. I went out to Lord & Taylor and bought five
suits because I knew I was going to be Interim. Bill said to me the
following week, we were going up escalator, and he said, “You know
you’re going to be Interim,” and I said, Yes, I bought suits.” So I had to
apply, and I applied, and I was the unanimous choice of the faculty, I’m
proud to say. I was not a candidate for the Deanship. I had absolutely
zero interest in being Dean.
MR. GROSS: But you had a lot of experience. When you think about going even back
to 1988, you were kind of running a law school in some sense. So why
weren’t you interested?
MS. BRODERICK: I saw myself as an activist lawyer, not an administrator. Who wants to be
the administrator? I still scratch my head. I had absolutely no interest. Joe
Libertelli was a vital role player. He was a Class of 1985 Princeton grad,
first in his family to go to college, ran track at Princeton, and then went to
Antioch Law School and was a radical student leader, very involved every
day in the law school. It was his idea to go to Dave Clarke and say, “The
law school ought to be part of UDC, you ought to take over Antioch.” Joe
led a sit-in. We moved the whole law library down to the Freedom Plaza
to capture the attention of the press and get people excited about the
notion of having a public law school. Joe was the alumni member of the
Board of the D.C. School of Law. Always a fabulous activist. When I
became Dean, what had been the independent board of the law school had
become the board of the D.C. School of Law, which was a fundraising
board. They had been the operational board, but they became the
fundraising board. The first thing I said to them was, “I need another pair
of hands,” and I was allowed to hire Joe for $20 an hour, and he’s been
there for eighteen years. We eventually got him on in Career Services,
now he’s been the Alumni Director for years. He’s just a valiant soldier in
the cause. I’m just about to nominate him for a Founder’s Day award for
most giving to the University, the most stalwart. So I’ve been thinking
MR. GROSS: You found out you’re going to be Interim Dean, so let’s hear about that.
MS. BRODERICK: I remembered why I brought up Joe. Joe was my right arm as interim.
What happened was UDC, the Provost was named Beverly Anderson, and
she named Alice Thomas, a member of the faculty, as the Chair of the
Search Committee. Poor Alice Thomas was an untenured faculty member.
That’s not how you have search committees. There were all these tenured
people, why would you not have a tenured person chair the Search
Committee? So she came to me. There was a candidate that we all
thought would be really good, and none of the other candidates we thought
were good. They begged me to apply because if we didn’t get the person
we wanted, it’ll be horrible. We could get some totally horrible person.
Joe really convinced me to do it. He said, “You can do this. You’re the
only person who knows it and cares about the mission. It’s like trying to
tell a stranger about rock and roll for anybody else to come in and know
the politics. You have to do it.” It was spring break, and I forget what
exact date the application was due, but I was driving to Florida. I was
riding along in the back of my mother-in-law’s motor home on the way to
Florida to take my mother-in-law camping, my daughter, my husband and
I, and I was handwriting out my application. In the application to become
Dean, I talked about the five initiatives I had launched as Interim, and it
was really the process of writing the application that fired me up because
it just really hit me. I know how to do this. I will get us accreditation. I
know what to do, and I know how to make this happen. And then they
offered it to the first person. The faculty sent up three names. The person
everybody wanted, me, and then somebody who they felt was totally
unqualified. So the Provost offered it to the first person, and the day she
sent the letter offering the Deanship to the first person, she sent a letter to
the rest of us candidates saying, “Thank you very much, we’ve selected
so-and-so. So-and-so a month later said no, and so they offered it to the
third person who we felt was had – let me just put it this way. He had no
administration experience, no fundraising, no ABA accreditation
experience. The Provost then went to Alice Thomas and said, “I want to
open it up to the fourth candidate.” She came down shaking in her boots
to tell me that on a night in August. She asked to meet with the faculty the
next day, and I called the chairman of the board, who said, “Sorry. I can’t
talk now.” Nobody was around. I was sort of shell-shocked. I had been
invited by a member of the board to go to a D.C. vote event at the Mott
House, the place where I was married, that night. Joe was going to go,
and the member of the board had said there’s a funder I really want you to
meet, so come to the D.C. vote thing. He’s going to love you. He’s a
major funder, and it’s going to mean real bucks for the law school, so you
have to come. I was disconsolate. I got into Joe’s truck, and we drove in
his Toyota truck, and we drove over to the Mott House, and I was just
disconsolate because the Provost was going to subvert the process the very
next day, and we weren’t doing anything about it. I got there, and it was a
surprise party for me. They thought we were going to have this other
dean, so they planned this surprise party to thank me for being Interim for
a year, and they had Joe Telman dressed up as me with his hairy legs and
all in a dress, and they had written songs and skits. They had family and
friends. My whole world was there. Board members, the whole faculty
and staff were there. What they had all realized is we’ll just organize at
the party. The Chairman of the Board was there, everybody was there.
MR. GROSS: So they all knew at this point what had happened?
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. And they were all organizing, so the next day, a posse of civil rights
lawyers, Wade Henderson and Bill Robinson, went to see the President
and said, “So your directive was that the search committee should send
you three names, and three names and have been sent, and two offers
made, and there’s a third offer. What’s going on?” Suddenly, I got the
offer from the Provost. Boy, you never want to see sausage made, you
don’t want to see how legislation is made, and you don’t want to see how
my Deanship was made.
MR. GROSS: What a great ending.
MS. BRODERICK: She was having an orientation, because the entire two new Deans, and I
suddenly became the third Dean. Two of us had been Interim the year
before. They were having that orientation that day, and she called me up
to go and took me into another room and said, “I’m offering you the job as
Dean.” So I went into orientation for the new Deans.
MR. GROSS: Very cool.
Oral History of Dean Broderick
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of The Historical
Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewer is Robert Gross, and the
interviewee is Dean Katherine Shelton (“Shelley”) Broderick. The interview took place on
Tuesday, March 21, 2016. This is the fourth interview.
Mr. Gross: It’s Tuesday, March 21. When we last left off, you had just been named Dean
of the law school. What was on your plate in those first years?
Ms. Broderick: Happy Spring, Robbie. I would characterize this deanship as having three
chapters. The first was seeking and securing ABA accreditation. The second
included undertaking a major process of strategic planning that was communitywide and developing a strategic plan, arriving at consensus around it, and then
implementing it very successfully. And then the third chapter has really
involved a new strategic plan, which is looking inward because the world
changed. It changed in legal education radically, with a 40% decline in
applications. A whole new set of business plans for how law firms work and so
forth, and how do we negotiate that new world.
So those would be the three chapters. Beginning with the first chapter, as
I may have said in our last session, the process of applying for the deanship
reluctantly helped me to think very clearly about what it would take to secure
ABA accreditation. I had been so immersed in it that I knew with real clear
vision what it would take and how to go about it.
Mr. Gross: I’m just trying to think of how many of these accreditation processes you’ve
been through at that point. You had just done one four or five years earlier?
Ms. Broderick: Antioch Law School was constantly under scrutiny by the ABA, so American
Bar Association teams of inspectors came in regularly. When we started the
new school in 1988, you’re required to operate your program for a year before
you are eligible to launch your application for accreditation. So in 1989, on
September 15 of 1989, we submitted our ABA accreditation application, and I
remember that day because I vowed the prior May at my niece’s graduation
from Berkeley, as I looked around and saw my three fabulous nieces smoking,
following my evil lead, I vowed that I would quit smoking and not be that bad
role model for them. But I knew I couldn’t do it until we completed the
application for accreditation because I’m weak. So I vowed in May in
Berkeley, California, that I would quit. I said September 15, and a friend
advised that I might want to enjoy having submitted the application, and
perhaps I should pick the autumnal equinox, and in fact, the last cigarette I had
was on the 20th of September 1989, prior to the autumnal equinox. I met my
husband that week, and it’s a good thing because he’s a non-smoker and very
opposed to smoking. So it never would have worked out had I not made that
In any case, that’s how I happen to remember applying September 15,
1989. So it’s a vast process. You submit 2,000 pages worth of documents.
You produce a self-study of where you are with regard to compliance. You
have to demonstrate that you are in substantial compliance with every ABA
standard, and there are 56 pages of them, and that you have a reliable plan for
coming into full compliance with every standard within three years. The ABA
gives you five. So the standard says you have a reliable plan for coming into
compliance within three years, but in fact they give you five.
So we spent that first year hiring faculty and staff, recruiting the second
class, because we had recruited the first class to start in 1988. We had to recruit
the second class to start. You’re looking for the strongest possible class you
can. We had only had to operate a first year of law school, now we had to
operate a first year and a second year, so we needed additional faculty members.
You’re not eligible for federal financial aid until you have provisional
accreditation, so we didn’t have to have a financial aid operation yet. That was
the single biggest problem we had, so we talked to Charlie and Hilda Mason
who gave us the first $100,000 for scholarships so that we could help the people
we most wanted to educate and couldn’t afford to come to law school without
aid with scholarships. In any case, we had secured provisional accreditation.
When you apply, they send an ABA team in. So the first team came in in 1990,
and when you’re provisionally approved, the ABA, in those days, sent a full
team for a full inspection and required the submission of a full self-study and all
2,000 pages of documents annually until you secure full accreditation. So let’s
walk through this.
We had a full ABA site visit in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996,
1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005. That’s seventeen. I
had seventeen full ABA inspections, and there is no one on the planet who has
more experience with ABA inspections and preparing for site visits than yours
truly. I do that because of the pain. It was a painful period of my life.
Once you secure provisional accreditation, we had this provisional and
then we moved to UDC and we had to secure it again, and as I said, my
predecessor stepped down. I became Dean, and we had to go through it every
year. I had been a laboring oar all of those years as Academic Dean, Clinic
Director, always part of the management team, and a leader in the faculty, so I
had been a real part of it. Other people took on leadership roles various years,
various people stepped up to the plate, but I always worked very closely and
had significant involvement in it. Now we were at UDC, as you will recall
when last we left off, the District had balanced its budget in February of 1998.
We secured provisional accreditation by one vote.
Mr. Gross: You were pessimistic about that, as I recall.
Ms. Broderick: I’ve never been pessimistic in my life, and I’d get many affidavits to
demonstrate that [laughter]. I was scared. I remember being tearful and angry,
but we got it. So now we had to keep it. Again, you’re supposed to have three
years in which to be in full compliance with all the standards. That meant being
very intentional about what it’s going to take to improve your bar passage. At
that time, we had a very low bar passage and very small classes, so literally,
your percentage of bar passage moved four points with every passer or failer. I
literally had to make the argument had one person taking the California bar not
had a migraine, we’d have had four points higher. It’s hard to say this is the law
school’s failure, and I refused to say that.
Setting that course and building consensus around it, I had some good
ideas about what to do, and I was handed, or brow beat, or otherwise given
many good ideas. For example, Professor Tom Mack was the chair of the
Admissions Committee, and he came in and yelled at me. He had been the last
Dean of Antioch. He had been a Clinic Director. He was a real leader, and he
chaired and still chairs the Admissions Committee. He came in and said we’re
admitting everyone. Everyone wants to admit everyone and give everyone a
chance, and I teach in the first year. It’s not a good strategy. We’re admitting
people who will not pass the bar. You have to step up and exercise leadership
and come up with a plan that takes us forward in the direction we have to go.
I did an analysis with others of our bar passage, and our statistics showed,
having crunched the numbers on everyone who had ever come to the law
school, what their entering academic indicators were for LSAT and GPA. This
is a little confusing. The American Bar Association looks at what your bottom
25th percentile is, what your bottom quartile is, what your top 75th quartile is,
and then what your median is for LSAT and GPA. So when I started as Dean,
our bottom 25th percentile was below a 139, or a 390 on the old scale of 200 to
800, and it’s an extreme rarity that someone in that neighborhood passes the
bar. It’s highly unusual. Our 75th percentile was a 143, which is a 430 on a 200
to 800 scale. It’s very rare for those folks to pass either. We had something
like three above a 500. So your bar passage rate, it was very highly likely to be
poor, and it was clear to me that we were taking too many risks, and we needed
to have a plan.
So we made a plan that we would move the bottom quartile to 140, then
the next year to 141, and the next year 142, then 143, and that we would stop at
144. Why did we choose 144, which is a 440 on the old 200 to 800 scale? We
chose 144 because at that time, the average African-American LSAT taker had
a 144, and I was not willing, and our faculty was not willing, to say that half of
the African-American takers won’t be eligible to come. We had to look more
deeply than that.
When the group of us originally looked at the data, the original
recommendation was 146. We went back and looked at what that would do to
minority enrollment, and it would decimate minority enrollment for the reasons
I just stated, so we looked at what if it was 144, what would the GPA have to be
in order to have a reasonable bar passage rate. Our analysis showed that if you
had between a 144 and a 147, and at least a 2.6 GPA, you had a 75% chance of
passing the bar, and that seemed like a reasonable risk. So that was our goal.
We incrementally worked toward that goal, and then for years, that has been our
standard. Now, there has always been a rule that the Admissions Committee
can bring me candidates who fall outside of that parameter, and originally I
think we said I could take up to five dean’s admits who fell outside of that
parameter. So you’ve got a 143 but a 3.2. Why not do that. You’ve a got a 155
but a 2.1, and there’s a reason. You look, and maybe working full time, three
kids, and it has nothing to do with intelligence. This has been kind of a working
Mr. Gross: Have you tracked those kids that you admit from the “dean’s admit” over time?
Ms. Broderick: Of course we have.
Mr. Gross: How has it worked?
Ms. Broderick: It’s complicated. I will tell you this. Last year, we took six dean’s admits. One
was academically dismissed, one transferred to Georgetown because the student
did so well in the first year of law school that the student was accepted by
Georgetown Law School, and four are in good academic standing and in fact
above a 3.0.
Mr. Gross: That’s wonderful.
Ms. Broderick: I’m very proud of that because it demonstrates that we have a good eye for
talent and that we have very solid academic support. Now, this year, it wasn’t
as good. There were three dean’s admits, and their first year academic
performance was much weaker, so we’re looking into what are the variables that
come into that. I’m a deeply data-driven person. I pay very close attention to
all of this, and our team is all over it, really trying to understand. Did we have a
high-scoring civil procedure course, were the grades inflated somewhere, or
were the grades deflated somewhere. Our grades are typically lower than other
schools. There are a couple of reasons for that. If American University’s
average grade is a B+, and ours is a B-, is that because we’re harder graders, or
is that because our students are more at risk and it takes longer to get their arms
around the material. What are the factors? And we look at all of that. It’s
Mr. Gross: These are the kinds of reforms that you’re looking at to get those bar passage
Ms. Broderick: That’s right.
Mr. Gross: So admissions is one thing.
Ms. Broderick: We looked – and I by no means take the credit for this, other than being a leader
and having an incredibly strong team in place – we looked at every single thing
top to bottom, and we came to understand that at that period, we had a culture of
a C equals J.D. So students are really not working as hard as they needed to
work to be successful and just trying to graduate, and if you graduate, it’s all
good, without realizing you have to work really hard and get to a level of
comprehension that will enable you to pass the bar. You can’t learn all of it for
So we set about changing the culture top to bottom. We looked at every
syllabus to make sure that every faculty member was actually currently teaching
what is now tested on the bar because faculty members have to have their
culture change too. Sometimes they get a little slack. The same old syllabus,
change the dates, slap a new date on it, pass it out. No, no, no. We looked to
see what students were taking, and the bar passers were taking bar courses.
Some of the people not passing the bar were taking too many electives and not
participating in the more rigorous courses because they wanted to have a better
GPA thinking that would be helpful getting a job. Short sighted. Not a good
plan. So we started scheduling bar courses in clusters. Students after the first
year they don’t want to be in the law school all day every day. They want to
cram everything into two days or two-and-a-half days and be able to work the
rest of the time. Well that’s not necessarily a good idea. So we started
clustering bar courses so that you have to take Property. We’re going to cluster
the other non-required but important bar courses around Property, and the next
day, cluster around Evidence, et cetera. We used to have four credits of Torts,
and we realized we were not covering in required courses a big section of Torts,
so we made it into a 6-credit course all year long. The same thing with
Contracts, and the same thing with Civil Procedure. Not every school does that.
Some schools have four credits, some have five, some have six. We felt like we
wanted the stronger, more thorough coverage of the materials so people would
be introduced to all of it.
We had experts come in to help us learn to draft better, stronger exam
questions, both on multiple choice and on essay. We had workshops on that,
and on and on. I could really bore you to death. We really took it as seriously
as you possibly can. We had regular meetings with students about what it takes.
We raised a bunch of money to help those students who weren’t able to afford
to take the bar review course to help get scholarships. We learned that
Remedies is a really important course because it’s a review of a lot of contract
theories, which is very heavily tested. We said if you take the Remedies course
in third year, we’ll give you a scholarship for the bar review course.
Mr. Gross: Good incentive.
Ms. Broderick: We started an in-house bar review course to get students practicing writing
essays early because it’s an art. Anyway, we just took many, many intentional
steps to strengthen the core, and our students’ bar pass rate, it went from the
lowest in the country to the 30%, and the 40%, the 50s, the 60s, and we have a
65% roughly every year for several years. In recent years, it’s dipped. It’s
dipped because the applicant pool has dipped, and students are coming in with
lower indicators at our school and every school across the country virtually. It’s
dipped because, we think, there may be a millennial attitude of show up and I
get a gold star as opposed to show up, work my tail off, and I get to pass the bar.
Mr. Gross: They’re in for a rude awakening.
Ms. Broderick: They get a rude awakening when they don’t pass the bar. This is not something
you want to do twice. The opportunity class is brutal. So in any case, we set off
on this path as an institution-wide commitment. We brought in a full-time,
tenure-track Director of Academic Success so that if we felt that you were at
risk but we thought you had the stuff, if you were given the academic support
structure you needed to be successful, we brought you in for the summer for a
one-month intensive course to learn briefing and how to think about cases and
to take it more slowly. This is for folks who have been out of school for a
Mr. Gross: Before their 1A year? A transition program?
Ms. Broderick: Before their 1A year. That’s right. We called it the Mason Enhancement
Program of Academic Success, named after Hilda and Charlie Mason. So they
had that, and then in the first semester, if they had below a certain GPA, they
were required in the spring semester to take one fewer course and to take a legal
reasoning course. Slow it down and really work on legal reasoning. If they
were still on probation after that semester, they were required to take a fall 2L
Legal Reasoning II course. We implemented a number of workshops around
time management. It was a very thorough, and it continues to be. We tweak it
every year. Now what we do is we decided – so there’s this terrible dilemma.
Currently, our analysis shows that if you have a 2.8 or better, you’re very likely
to pass the bar. A 2.8 in the first year of law school. So it behooves us to help
people be successful in their first year of law school. It means they’ve wrapped
their brain around it and can perform on a test sufficiently and that holds them
in good step down the road on the bar. Okay. Hmmmm.
Mr. Gross: Having never been to law school, I hear the first year of law school is generally
Ms. Broderick: It’s a bear. I’m still actually experiencing post-traumatic stress from my first
year of law school in 1975-76. I’m trying to let go of it.
Mr. Gross: This is the talking cure. Talking this over will help you [laughter].
Ms. Broderick: So we now allow students to start early with what we call the Jump Start
Program, and two groups of people take the Jump Start Program. People who
are superstars and dying to get started and knock it out of the park and graduate
early can do the Jump Start Program and then those who we think are
potentially at risk and should start sooner and more slowly and prepare
themselves for law school, get a jump start that way. So we have a group of
people who take a course for credit, Criminal Law or Contracts, a first-year
required course for credit over the summer. A lot of academic success
strategies are built into the curriculum. There’s a lab, you do a lot of writing,
you meet in small groups, et cetera, and really focus. And then when you’re
successful on that, it builds your confidence as you start the fall. You can start
the fall, and if you want, take one less course because you’re ahead of the game
so you can go a little more slowly through the fall. We devote more time on
fewer topics, and we think that that’s going to be very successful. So we started
the Jump Start Program. The faculty approved that two years ago.
Then we have a Fresh Start Program. It used to be that we never flunked
anyone out until they’ve completed a year. The way the program used to work,
if you had a GPA below a 2.0 and above a 1.85, you would have to be on
probation, and you would have to drop a course, and you would have to
participate in Legal Reasoning, but you wouldn’t flunk out. Actually, even
below that, you could stay, but you had to do those things. You had to meet
with the Academic Dean, and the Academic Dean would talk to you and ask
you to reflect on what went wrong, and sometimes that’s personal decisions.
Well you thought you’d get divorced the first year of law school. Never a good
plan. Or you thought you’d build a house or have a baby or you didn’t
recognize how hard it was soon enough. You never went to your faculty
advisor, you didn’t take advantage of the writing lab, you didn’t attend the time
management and academic support workshops that are in place. Want to
rethink that? But we didn’t flunk you out because the lightbulb does go on at
different times for different people, and we wanted to give you the option to
stick with it and redouble your efforts. Well our thinking has somewhat
changed. We now know you’re in real trouble if you’re below a 2.3, and so
1.85 to 2.3, you have to do these extra measures. But below that, you have to
start over. So you’re out in the spring semester. And it’s heartbreaking.
Actually this year, every faculty member got their grades in for the first year by
the first day of classes so that those who would have to leave would not have
their financial aid dispersed and now they have a ton of student debt and they’re
not here. And you sit out, and then you come back in the summer if you want
and you have a fresh start. You can start over. We don’t charge you for that
course. Start over. Maybe life happened and you figured some things out, and
maybe you’ve taken some steps so that you’re not working as many hours or
you’ve helped your family to understand that you are and have to be the center
of the universe right now. You cannot do some of the things you’re accustomed
to doing. We’ve done pretty well with Fresh Start. We’ve done it now for two
years, and for the most part, it seems to be effective. So if you come back and
you start over, now you’re getting that 2.8, you’re much more likely to pass the
Mr. Gross: And you’ve seen people do that?
Ms. Broderick: We’ve only done it two years so they haven’t taken the bar yet, but their grades
have significantly improved. As horrible as first-year law school is everywhere
because you’re taking courses that may or may not be the most exciting, it’s not
the civil rights curriculum, it’s contracts. It’s civil procedure, which is a
mystery to many of us to this day. It’s hard. And to do it twice, you have to
want it badly. And to do it twice, you need to put your pedal to the metal.
Mr. Gross: So the support programs that you’re describing, it’s not like these all came in
the early 2000s. You’ve been building up these over time. So they kind of
began in response to the accreditation kind of push, and since then, you’ve been
tweaking it to have as much academic student success as possible.
Ms. Broderick: That’s right. We pay a lot of attention to it every year, and we’ve had terrific
people working on it, putting their shoulder to the wheel. It’s really academic
support across the curriculum. So it can’t just be admission. If you take
stronger people, they’ll all pass. No. That’s just not true. Our analysis shows
that some of the worse grades are some of the higher LSATs. You have to want
it badly and work very, very hard. We are about to really work on changing the
culture again. We’ve surveyed students on how many hours they spend
preparing for each hour of class, and it’s not a high enough number. It has a lot
to do with grades not being what they should be. Students get the wrong idea.
The teachers are nice, they’re not mean like they were in my day, they don’t
scare you to death. They try to work with you and students just kind of, not
everybody gets how seriously they have to take this and how much work it
Mr. Gross: So in terms of that first chapter, you’re putting all these pieces into place.
Ms. Broderick: A lot of time, and meeting with faculty members to try to devise strategies to
help our students to be more successful, and a lot of important input from
terrific, really caring faculty members. People embraced it. They gave it
everything they had. It was a very cohesive group of people. At the same time,
there are a lot of people who come to the law school who are academic stars and
who don’t need or care about all of these academic support structures and who
want to come to the law school because of the outstanding clinical programs.
So it’s challenging teaching when you have such a wide range of academic
experience and capacity in the classroom. So it’s a challenge, which makes it
kind of cool.
One of the things that really excites people and gets them engaged is the
actual opportunity to work with clients. In the very first year, we had a program
called Community Service, and as I’ve told you, the students come and they
take Law and Justice and then they do forty hours of community service,
actually in the Public Defender Service or at the ACLU or at the Office of the
Attorney General or at the Children’s Law Center. That fires them up. Every
year I have a lunch, I invite all the people who have a 3.0 or above to lunch, and
they become Dean’s fellows and they get a scholarship for the second year
because they’ve demonstrated their capacity. I call them together, and I say
you’re going to be the leaders. You’re going to be the president of the SBA, the
editor of the Law Review. We want to hear from you, and we want to help you
realize your dreams. So what brought you here, what kind of law do you want
to practice? How can we help you with a summer public interest fellowship on
the pathway that you plan to follow toward your career? So if you want to be a
criminal defense lawyer, as you should, maybe you want to do that forty hours
at the Public Defender Service, and then that first summer, we raise funds to
support a summer public interest fellowship. We pay for you to work for them
for free. Then the next year, you’re in the Criminal Clinic, and the next year
after that, you’re in the Juvenile Clinic, helping people in the delinquency
people, and meanwhile you’ve done an externship in the Maryland Public
Defender or doing legislative work around criminal issues or whatever it might
be. You might be in the family law pathway, and so that’s a whole different set
of placements, courses, clinics, externships, community service that you might
take, and we can help guide you.
We assign you to a faculty advisor in your pathway. So if you know you
want to be a criminal lawyer, I or one of the other people in the criminal law
arena, might be your faculty advisor and help set you up and guide you going
forward. If you want to be an immigration lawyer, it may be that you will have
Christina Campbell or Lindsay Harris, who run our Immigration and Human
Rights Clinic, they might be your faculty advisor, and they’ll help you get a
place at CARECEN or at CARE. You get the idea.
Mr. Gross: In terms of where you were seeking the full accreditation, the visiting teams
keep coming in, and so at what point does that ….?
Ms. Broderick: You get provisional, you have three years, but they give you five. So in 1998,
we got provisional. But remember, we had just barely moved to UDC, no
working elevators or escalators, and there were no cleaning contracts. The five
years were up in 2003, and we applied in 2003. Our bar passage rate had gone
up ten points a year for the last few years, we were building the faculty. We
were just soaring, and we were fluent in the accreditation standards having had
a lot of practice. So we were really humming along in full compliance. We
applied in 2003. The accreditation committee voted yes. I was as happy as a
human being can be. This happened in Florida, and I remember flying back
with the then-president of the University and the chair of our Foundation Board
and getting a call and just being euphoric. The ACLU honored us at their
luncheon because of who we are and what we stand for.
Six months later, we went the final step to go before the council of the
section on accreditation, and we were denied. It was the most heartbreaking
moment in the world. We were denied because, while our bar passage
trajectory was straight up, another school was denied by the accreditation
committee and appealed saying their bar passage rate was in fact stronger than
ours. The problem was their trajectory was straight down. The accreditation
committee wisely said you’re going in the wrong direction, you’re doing
everything right, we’re going to have different results for you two. It’s not
about the bar passage rate. The other school sued, and the ABA caved. That’s
just what happened. Again, the rule was that you have to be in full compliance
with a reliable plan for coming into full compliance within three years, but they
give you five. In extraordinary circumstances, they can give you an additional
two years, and they chose to say because of the bankruptcy of the District of
Columbia, there were extraordinary circumstances and we’ll give you another
two years. People couldn’t even look me in the eye. They felt so bad, so guilty,
for doing this to us. It was devastating. The front page of The Washington
Times said, “Broderick Failing” in banner headline. One of my best friends,
Abbe Smith, who runs the Prettyman program at Georgetown, called up. It was
a hideous picture where it looked like I had some sort of henna hair. She said
I’m writing a letter to the editor, “Broderick, not a redhead.” Which was sort of
comforting, but not very. “Broderick Failing.” It was the most heartbreaking
for our students and for the whole community. It just was a stab in the back.
But we labored on, and two years later applied.
Mr. Gross: They wanted two years later for your rates not only the trajectory to be higher,
you could keep on the same trajectory, they just wanted you to come back with
the actual rate higher?
Ms. Broderick: Exactly.
Mr. Gross: So in some sense, if all things were equal, you were heading in a better
direction. You would meet that standard two years later. Is that what
Ms. Broderick: Absolutely. We were in full compliance, but we were still in full compliance
two years later. It was just such a waste of time. I want you to remember,
you’re developing 2,000 pages of material. You’re going through a six-person
site visit. You’re spending a fortune flying these teams in from all over the
country and feeding them.
So anyway, 2005, in August, the final accreditation was voted by the
House of Delegates. My position was, and I’ve said this many times, now that
we’ve got the ABA boot off our neck, we can turn our attention to ending
poverty and inequality. To celebrate this achievement, we convened a two-day
symposium on developing local and national strategies for ending poverty and
inequality. We had some of the most important legal thinkers and actors come
together to work on this project. I secured a grant to pay for someone to help us
manage this effort. Jess Rosenbaum, an absolutely fabulous young lawyer,
came to help us. We brought in Peter Edelman, who is now head of the Access
to Justice Commission, and countless others. Alan Houseman, and we had the
heads of the NAACP, Legal Defense Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil
Rights, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. We had the president of
Legal Services Corporation and of the National Legal Aid and Defender. We
had those five leaders of the civil and criminal legal services world here at the
law school. It was a very compelling time. It really brought people together to
be thinking about how we move forward in these areas.
Mr. Gross: So then that closed that chapter in a very successful way. Did anything come
out of that conference?
Ms. Broderick: We’d been very, very influential in developing strategies and structures in the
District of Columbia across a host of disciplines, so yes.
So Chapter Two. In 2006, I could not get anyone to even attend a
meeting. People were so burned out and just so exhausted from that ridiculous
amount of work. Seriously, I couldn’t do anything. But in 2007, we needed a
new organizing principle. We had been working so long and so hard on
accreditation, we needed to sort of learn how to think about how to march
forward. Where do we go from here really was the question. So I talked to a
number of people about strategic planning facilitators. Who could come in and
help us develop our strategic plan, facilitate a process by which by consensus
we determined what we wanted to do going forward? I hired some people who
had worked with the Leadership Conference, and they came in and met with the
faculty, and the faculty liked them very much. They were enormously helpful.
We didn’t want to call it a strategic planning committee because that seemed so
powerful, so we called it the internal facilitation team, and it was administrators
and faculty members, and there were seven of us, and an alum. We developed
surveys for faculty, staff, students, and alumni. We developed interview
questions for each of those groups. We did focus groups. We had a retreat. We
convened working groups to come up with ideas. And part of it, you know
when you have one goal and one goal only, and you’re going to be successful,
you put away, put aside, the hard questions otherwise, and it was time to deal
with some of the hard questions. We went from being Antioch to being the
D.C. School of Law, and now we’re UDC, actually the UDC – David Clarke
School of Law. We went from being this clinical law school with a really
diverse student body, now we’re the public law school, and that means we
should be accessible and worthy of educating people who don’t want to be
necessarily public interest lawyers. What if you’re just somebody who wants an
affordable legal education? What does that mean for our curriculum? What
does that mean for how we are?
Mr. Gross: Would that be in line with students who want to go to a more traditional route to
go to a law firm, or would these still be students who would do the same kind of
public interest law?
Ms. Broderick: If you graduate from law school, you don’t sign something. So what does it
look like? And it was interesting. We had a very powerful convening, coming
together over a couple of days, and there were tears. I remember someone
saying we’re at UDC, which is an HBCU. I remember an alum who was part of
this process saying I didn’t even know we were an HBCU, and I remember
saying actually, when you graduated in 1999, we weren’t an HBCU.
Eleanor Holmes Norton got through the TAG program, Tuition Assistance
Grant, our member of Congress, developed a program where there would be
federal funds available to the graduates at every D.C. high school to go to public
schools across the country. You get $10,000 a year for up to five years. If you
graduate from a D.C. high school and you go to a public school anywhere in the
country, that’s the TAG program. My daughter went to a public school and was
a beneficiary of the TAG program. She felt so guilty about why we were
identifying and funding the leadership of the next generation and paying them to
go away to public schools elsewhere instead of investing in our own local
university. Why in the world would we do that? She, in order to get more
funds for UDC, had us legislatively designated an HBCU, a historically black
college or university. Historically black colleges and universities receive Title
III funding, and that got UDC $5 million a year.
Mr. Gross: I never knew that story.
Ms. Broderick: Few people do. So yes, we’re an HBCU, but it’s kind of odd to become a
historically black college or university. Having said that, the law school was
founded by an interracial couple deeply committed to having an open door and
having a population of law students that looks like America and had always had
among the most diverse student bodies in the country. UDC was never very
diverse. UDC was itself an amalgam of three schools. D.C. Teacher’s College,
which itself was an amalgam of the Black Teachers College and the White
Teachers College until the Miner and Wilson Teachers. So it had a white school
and black school, and they combined to be one teachers college and they
merged with UDC. Washington Technical Institute and also Federal City
College. Matilda Miner. So one of those four predecessor schools, or if you
count the law school, five, was actually an HBCU, so it was kind of a boot strap
argument that here’s how we get to you can be designated an HBCU. But it was
never an HBCU for decades until about the year 2000 when it was legislatively
designated an HBCU.
So now we’re an HBCU, and that means certain things. HBCUs are
where the most successful African-American students go. The most doctors
went to HBCUs. It’s known for having a wrap-around support system that
helps you get where you want to go and realize your dreams. Well that
resonated with us. That was a really important part of our culture, but what we
came to thrash out was that we are an urban land grant, the only urban land
grant in the country. We are public. We are an HBCU, and we are dedicated to
training public interest, public service, and public policy lawyers through an
aggressive and outstanding and pervasive program of clinical legal education.
We’re all of those things, so we really talked about can you be five things like
that? Can you be all of those things? And where we came out was that we all
by consensus believe in each of those things and embrace them. One or another
of us may have a stronger affinity to the HBCU piece or to the public interest
piece or to the public piece, but we all agree that we are all of those things and
work toward all of those things. So it’s an imperfect balance. We revisit the
discussion regularly. Some wish we’d visit it much more often and change and
just be one or the other. It’s interesting, I’ve heard faculty say I don’t want to
market us an access school. I’m African-American, I would never had wanted
to go to a school marketing itself as an access school. I want to go to law
school, and I want to have access, but I don’t want to have to be seen as that
place you go when you can’t go anyplace else. And we’re not that. We take
some at-risk students, but we have a plan for them, and that’s a very rigorous
and supportive environment to help them be successful.
Anyway, I’m ranting.
Mr. Gross: No, no. What does it mean to hold a mission that sometimes works coherently
together and sometimes is in tension with one another? So those meetings came
out of the strategic planning process. Were there discussions about facilities or
these kinds of things? Did that enter into the strategic planning?
Ms. Broderick: An excellent question. So, we looked at a host of different things. When you
secure full accreditation they come back three years later for a site visit and then
you go to a regular seven-year cycle. Knowing they were going to be back in
three years, we knew that we needed to still be thinking about our progress and
our position in each of the accreditation standard areas, so we really worked on
it from each of those categories. There were nine categories, and they are
admission, faculty, curriculum, library and facilities, technology, budget,
et cetera. And so we really tried to see what we wanted to do in each of those
We came up with a number of initiatives, but the four most critical ones
were that we wanted to set a part-time program because we believed that we
should be accessible to people who had to work and had kids and had mortgage
payments, but wanted to go to law school, and a part-time program was the only
way to do that.
We decided that we wanted an LLM program. At that time, we were
growing, we wanted to expand the capacity of our clinical programs. We
wanted all of our faculty members to be treated equally, which means summers
are a time when you can reflect and do scholarship, but if you’ve got a big case
load of cases, you can’t. If we had clinical instructors in the LLM program,
they could be in charge of the cases primarily in the summer. There are twelve
months students. We came up with a plan to start an LLM program, and it’s
called Clinical Legal Education: Social Justice and Systems Change. Because
we really wanted to change broken systems and to be agents of that change
through the law school and through a clinical program. So, we wanted a part
time program, we wanted an LLM program, we wanted to recapture our long
lost Antioch immigration clinic. We wanted to start an immigration human
rights clinic. We had launched something a few years before called CILP, the
Center for Immigration Law and Policy, and we wanted to morph that into a
clinical program. And then we wanted our own building. We were still in this
jerry-rigged, ridiculous partially on that floor and in another building and in the
Mr. Gross: The library was there too, right? Everything was there?
Ms. Broderick: Yes. So we were between two different buildings. It was crazy. And over the
next seven years, we accomplished all of those things. We hired a consultant to
come in and help us develop a part-time program. It turned out the University
of Hawaii is a public school of just about exactly our size, and they had just
designed a new curriculum for it. Their dean is a good friend of mine, and I
called him up and he was more than happy, he and his staff, were more than
happy to help us develop ours, we hired a consultant to help us put that together
and the faculty worked through all of the components, the curriculum and the
budget and so forth. Financial aid, clinical program.
We wanted to start the LLM program. You have to get ABA
accreditation, so we put together the application. We submitted it, we got it
through the university’s approval process, we got it to the ABA. They came in
and did a site visit and approved it. We hired a consultant, developed the LLM
program, put that together, came to consensus around it, approved it internally,
got the university approval, got the ABA approval, acquiescence. We convened
all of the immigration clinical and operations and legal services provider
operations in town and had a day-long session to sort of see where the unmet
needs and how can we work collaboratively with the others doing this work and
developed a plan for an immigration human rights clinic, and secured the
funding for it, and launched that. And then I worked very, very diligently to try
to shake loose a building.
My vision, which I told everyone who would stop still long enough to hear
it, was that we locate downtown near the court systems and that we co-locate
with other legal services providers with whom we could share the library and
community meeting space and where our students would be able to walk down
the hall to their internships and summer public interest fellowships, and could
work collaboratively to end poverty and inequality with other legal services
providers, where they would naturally morph into their post-graduate jobs.
Mr. Gross: Had you felt that there had been a loss, because you were, briefly, at least at
Metro Center. So then when you then moved out to Van Ness, did you feel
farther away from the action?
Ms. Broderick: Losses and gains. So being part of a university is a wonderful thing. There are
speakers and there’s a swimming pool and there’s a giant library and you can
take movies out. There are colleagues who have other disciplines. There were
people who speak literature. It’s a wonderful thing. There’s a cafeteria.
There’s a parking garage. There’s a building owned by the city, and it’s a
wonderful thing. But in fact it’s extremely expensive to live in upper
Northwest. It’s a huge commute or housing expense for our students and our
clients. There are very few poor people living in upper Northwest Washington.
Very few poor people. So to get to us is hugely and unreasonably burdensome
on our clients. And so it made the most sense to be down near the courthouse
because that’s where our clients are, that’s where people have their internships,
We had a new president come in, Allen Sessoms. I was on the search
committee. We interviewed a number of people, and when each candidate came
in, they went around the room and shook our hands, and I said what I always
say, “Hi, I’m Shelley Broderick. I’m the proud Dean of the UDC David A.
Clarke School of Law, your tax dollars at work.” He said, “Oh, I know who
you are, and if I come to UDC, it will be because the law school has
demonstrated that it’s possible to be successful at UDC.” As you can image,
my heart went pitter-patter.
Mr. Gross: Music to my ears.
Ms. Broderick: Yes. I like this man. He came in, and he started off by saying, “Look, I am
going to direct our budget toward our centers of excellence and build around
them, and the law school is one of them. You submit your budget to me of what
you need to be successful, and I will support it.”
At that time we had the lowest-paid law faculty in the country and
horribly-paid administrators, and I wanted to get us to somewhere in the
neighborhood of market rates so that we could attract and retain top talent. Not
that we didn’t have good people, but it was an issue for everyone. And we
wanted a building. He tried like hell to make those things happen. He was not
able to change the budget initially for the salaries, although he tried. But what
happened when we started the part-time program and we increased our tuition
revenue, we were permitted to use the new revenue to enhance the faculty
salaries. So the faculty salaries went up to within 5% of market rate for public
schools. We’re still waiting for that to happen on the administrative salaries,
unfortunately. I remain the lowest-paid law school dean in America, and it’s
just going on nineteen years.
Mr. Gross: Not funny.
Ms. Broderick: It’s sort of funny.
Mr. Gross: Sort of funny.
Ms. Broderick: I mean, I’d hate to be the second-lowest paid.
Mr. Gross: That’s true, at least you can claim a claim to fame.
Ms. Broderick: A building became a very core important matter for him. He identified a
building in NoMa, North Massachusetts Avenue, that was a brand new highrise. It looked as if we were poised on the brink of leasing this incredibly fancy,
brand-new building where we’d be on the top floor with this breathtaking view
of the whole District of Columbia, and it was actually very odd. It felt wrong
because it was so fancy. It did not feel like a very community-oriented place.
But I believe that the perfect is the enemy of the good, and we did everything in
our power to work out how we could make this building work for us.
In the meantime, I had spent a couple of years working with Jonathan
Smith who then led the Legal Aid Society. He and I had gone looking at
another law school that is co-located, Touro, in New York, is located with some
other legal services providers. I met with a board committee of the Legal Aid
Society to talk about what it would take to co-locate. It was a wonderful idea. I
think we would have really had some takers who could have shared rent and
shared the cost and made it work.
Allen Sessoms was hell-bent to stand up the community college and he
spent all the building money on that. He stood up the community college, and
that was the right call. It was just the right call. And one day, his head of
facilities and real estate called me in and said, “What would you think about the
law school staying on campus but moving into the current business school?”
which was offline, having asbestos removed and coming into compliance with
ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. I said, “Is the dean of the
business school going to find me in an alley and beat me to death because I’m
not seeing how she’s going to be good with this.” No. This is going to be our
call. The question is…” I said, “Look, I believe that the perfect is the enemy of
the good, and a building for the law school at a time when we’re growing, we
cannot take any larger class, we have no signature place for our wonderful legal
clinics, our clients can’t find us. Yes, I’ll take any building you can give me,
but swear to me that you will find the solution to where the business school will
be so that you announce both at once.” They didn’t do that. The business
school went berserk, and I don’t blame them. We had hearings, we had
weeping and gnashing of teeth, mean things were said, and I was right there
with them. But it was good because they made a very solid case, and they
actually did get wonderful space in the building we had been in, completely
redone. In some ways, we were relegated two blocks away into this space
where they had still not been able to renovate all of it. They’ve renovated now
two floors. This summer they’re going to renovate two more floors. They’re
going to start that process in the next year, and eventually it’ll be done.
Mr. Gross: How many floors are there?
Ms. Broderick: Six.
Mr. Gross: So they’re only a third of the way.
Ms. Broderick: The business school actually got up and running nicely. They really had been
abused. When their building had to be taken offline, they were moved into
leased space in Tulstadt, where you had to have an ID to get in. They couldn’t
teach any of their classes there. They had to come back on campus to teach
classes, up and down the hill. Students couldn’t meet with them. It was
terrible. It was just awful, and it went on for two years. And then, just as they
were poised to move back in, the university had a chance to lease it to Wilson
High School for a year while Wilson High School was redone. And all of a
sudden, they were relegated back to Tulstadt for a third year, and Wilson High
School took over. You can only imagine 1,500 kids in this building. And then,
finally, after three years, just as they’re poised to come back, the law school gets
Mr. Gross: Your third move. There aren’t many law school deans who have had to do that.
Ms. Broderick: No. We convened a whole team to do the planning. My husband was not well
at that time. He had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and I made the
commitment to him that I would spend July in Maine. I called it working with a
view. I worked on the initial plans for the move.
Mr. Gross: This was what year? 2010?
Ms. Broderick: He was diagnosed ten years ago now, so he was diagnosed in 2007, but this was
2010 that we were actually doing the planning for the move. I remember sitting
in my car, because we had no cell phone coverage, sitting in my car with these
giant set of plans and having big conference call meetings to work through
where the library would be and where the classrooms would be. It went on for
many, many months, but part of that was from Maine in my car.
Anyway, we developed how we wanted it, and we wanted to have
Admission on the first floor so the community could walk in and learn about the
law school. We wanted to have our clinics, actually, on the first floor. We
wanted it to be open to the community. So we did this whole plan, and the idea
was that we would move in as is. Literally the day after Wilson High School
vacated, we would move in, and we would move into the lower level, first,
second, and third floors while they built out four and five. Or maybe lower
level, first and second it was. We moved into these partitioned-off offices. We
moved in, we didn’t yet have keys, there was no security system set up, none of
the cameras had been working, and Wilson left with the code or something. It
was weeks with the faculty demanding we have security guards. Sorry, we
don’t have any money for that. There’s no police force for that. And by the
way, it’s pretty safe up here in tony upper Northwest.
We went out to the GSA warehouse and got truckloads full of used
furniture from various government agencies to fill the new building. There we
were in August in Washington, D.C., sweating like pigs, moving. But we did a
lovely plan, and we all moved in. It was bumpy. It wasn’t easy, but we settled
in, and they built out floors four and five into gorgeous space. It was a lovely
The next year we moved again into four and five while they renovated, or
were supposed to renovate the rest of it, only they ran out of money. The city
cut the capital budget, so they didn’t do any more. So now we were on floors
four and five for the most part. We put Admissions on the first floor in a nice
space but not renovated. This year, they’re finally going to do the next phase.
They did then renovate the garage, so we have a garage in the building, and
they’ll renovate the library, move the library into the lower level, also known as
the basement, and the third floor clinical floor will be built out, and it will be
Mr. Gross: That’s wonderful. So that’s sort of a successful strategic plan.
Ms. Broderick: I would have to say so.
Mr. Gross: Did the accreditation, they came back then, number three?
Ms. Broderick: They came back. The biggest issue was the building. We didn’t have a good,
decent facility, so that satisfied them. They were very happy with the new
building. They came back for the part-time program visit and then they
acquiesced, and the LLM program, and those are up and running and very
successful. Imperfect, like everything in life, but wonderful, and some amazing
people have come through. We’re tweaking and working on improving it and
Mr. Gross: So that’s the second chapter.
Ms. Broderick: That’s the second chapter.
Mr. Gross: You said there are three.
Ms. Broderick: So then the world changed. The crash hit in 2008.
Mr. Gross: It’s interesting because all of this is happening at the same time, so the new
building is being built, but as you’re moving forward, the reality is finances are
shifting at your feet and the admissions pool lowers.
Ms. Broderick: It plummets nationally. We made the decision we really have to look inward.
Admission is totally different now. We’re seeking millennials, and it’s all done
virtually, and it’s a very different world. Last year we adopted a new strategic
plan, and it calls for micro-targeting admissions recruiting. So who are our
most desired applicants? Well, we want graduates of HBCUs, UDC, and other
area schools. We want activists who want to change the world and end poverty
and inequality, put a shoulder to that wheel and be part of our clinical program.
We want people for whom a public education is right. Veterans. We think
there’s a huge market for people on Capitol Hill who want to stay in public
You can go to Georgetown. It costs $57,000 a year, or you can go to our
law school and it costs $12,000 a year for a D.C. resident. If you’re going to go
to a big firm and have a lot of money to pay that back, that makes sense. But it
doesn’t necessarily make sense unless you have well-off parents or spouses.
It’s an economic question in a way that it wasn’t in the past, so we’ve developed
a host of micro-targeted recruitment efforts on Capitol Hill, Veterans, UDC.
We’re Firebird friendly. We have a poster of all the currently enrolled UDC
grads, and it’s the most delicious poster. Every age and ethnicity, race, gender.
It’s wonderful. Gay, straight. How cool is this? Send us your top talent.
What else? We wanted to look at our clinical programs. How do we get
out of our silos in each individual clinic and make sure that our students get the
breadth and depth of access and opportunity to work across these areas where
they’re going to practice. If you look and you know that nearly half of your
students go into private practice at small firms, it behooves you to graduate
them practice-ready. Do we have all of the knowledge about technology in the
curriculum that we should have?
Mr. Gross: In terms of practice areas, you mean?
Ms. Broderick: E-Discovery. Law practice has just changed. We need to make sure we’re
replenishing the faculty with people who come out of current practice with
those techniques and that we bring in people who can help train us to make sure
we’re preparing our students for what they’re going to do. You can’t start an
appellate clinic and a veterans clinic and an elder law clinic and a this and that.
How do we build the capacity to serve those populations within our existing
clinics or reimagine our clinics in a way where there’s opportunity across the
clinics? How do we do that? I don’t know, but I know we’re going to find that
Mr. Gross: So that began last year?
Ms. Broderick: Yes. We had a very robust set of conversations about where we’re going. We
need to do a better job with retention. Law schools have totally changed with
transfers. It used to be one or two students transferred a year, now there’s a
robust group. Georgetown took 100 fewer law students three years ago in order
to keep the same LSAT and GPA and keep their U.S. News & World Report
rankings. Then they took 122 transfers, wiping out the Law Reviews in the
region, at all the law schools in the region, 122. Now, is it smart for these kids
to transfer to Georgetown? Well, they have that big fancy name, but they’re not
on Law Review, they have a lot of student debt, and it’s unclear whether that’s
going to be a wise decision. It will be for some. Some of our students transfer
because they really want to go into international law, they want ten electives,
and we can’t offer that. But some are trading up for the name, and it may or
may not be a wise decision.
We’ve got to figure out how to retain more students and let them know
what the benefits are and that kind of thing. We want to make sure we reduce
student debt. Students are not wise. They come to law school, they get student
loans, and you see students who don’t come from any money at all sitting at
Starbucks, and you’re thinking why are you spending that kind of money on
coffee. So we’re talking about doing videos that do the math. If you have four
Starbucks a week over three years of law school, at an average cost of X, this is
how much it’s going to cost you to pay that back on your student loans.
Mr. Gross: Probably a semester’s tuition.
Ms. Broderick: If you go to the Barristers Ball and you buy a new gown, shoes, hair, makeup,
and all of that, how much is that going to cost? Maybe you should, while in law
school, live like a law student so that when you’re a lawyer, you can live like a
Mr. Gross: You should trademark that.
Ms. Broderick: It’s not mine, but I’ve acquired it, and I think it’s just exactly right.
Mr. Gross: Do you want to say something about the relationship with Cuba, because that
was a big deal.
Ms. Broderick: There are some new initiatives.
Mr. Gross: We’re coming to the present almost. We’ll circle back. So you were saying
about some of these newer initiatives that are quite recent.
Ms. Broderick: As part of the strategic plan, we wanted to look with fresh eyes at some of the
possibilities that will make us very attractive to applicants, and we wanted to
build our capacity in countless ways. Some years ago, about seven or eight
years ago, Eldon “Took” Crowell, of Crowell & Moring, died. Crowell &
Moring partnered with us to launch something called the Took Crowell Institute
for At-Risk Youth. It funded two clinical fellows a year. It was $100,000 a
year for six years, and it allowed us to add two of these LLM candidates in the
Juvenile Clinic every year to expand our capacity to serve at-risk youth.
At the time we received that funding, one of our legendary professors, Joe
Tulman, who has a national reputation for outstanding juvenile justice, who’s
won the national ABA award, the Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award, he’s
spoken all over the country for years, very renowned. He wanted to have the
Institute fund him to do trainings around the country to change how we do
juvenile justice. A vast majority of people in the juvenile system have unmet
special education needs. What if we met those needs early on and kept kids out
of jail, out of detention, and got them the education they needed to allow them
to be productive citizens, and let’s spread the word that we’ve done that in D.C.
We have more hearings in D.C. than the rest of the country because of his
pioneering work. Let’s get kids out of facilities and into the community with
the supports they need to be successful. He wanted to take that word around the
country. He was kind of tired of teaching year after year, he liked a break. I
said, “Joe, how does that help our students? You doing training around the
country is good, but how is that good for D.C., and you’re a professor at the
public school?” I actually over time was persuaded that we should have a
national impact in policy development and implementation and that if we create
institutes where there’s funding available to do that, we can make sure that
we’re doing both.
So we brought in a wonderful new clinic director, Jonathan Smith, who for
a year was one of the leaders in the strategic planning process and who was
really eloquent and able to help the faculty think differently about some things.
It was lovely to have those fresh eyes. One of the things was the notion of
getting out of the silos and working across the clinics and another was to
develop institutes. The strategic plan calls for developing institutes, but we
don’t quite know what that looks like. Ariel Levinson-Waldman approached
me with something called Tzedek. In L.A. Jewish philanthropists fund legal
services, direct legal services, and have grown the pie financially of money
available to provide more legal services to people in poverty, which moves the
needle on ending poverty. What a good idea. He has launched Tzedek to do
that here and is using a couple of our offices in the building which are soon to
be renovated. Nobody else was using them. And our students have the chance
to go work with Tzedek for their community service hours, for their summer
public interest fellowships, and they’re doing three thing: direct legal services,
but also education. So they’re educating students in the community college, in
the flagship and the law school about consumer debt and how to avoid it and
what to do if you get into it. They’re developing know your rights materials
around consumer debt, which is a huge problem, particularly for students, and
they’re also doing policy, legislative work. So these dovetail very nicely with
everything that we do. There may be faculty who want to work on legislative
projects and have Tzedek as a client. They’re going to do a symposium
annually, and we may want to work with them to develop symposia. We’re
I’ve been approached about a racial justice institute. What might that look
like? Well keep your eye peeled on this channel. I don’t know what it will look
like. It’s whatever we figure out. The faculty will decide. So that’s an
I am hell-bent to bring the community to the campus, and we have
countless public forums, symposia, book readings, and events to bring the
community to the campus to learn about what we’re doing and to work with us.
One of the things we did is two or three Cuba Five programs. There were these
Cubans who were locked up for treason in this country and a lot of people felt
they were wrongly locked up and should be released, and we did some
programs around that. We had Danny Glover, the legendary actor, come for
some of those programs. Then the thaw with Cuba happened in 2014, and I
read in the paper that Tim Rieser was the Senate staffer who made that happen,
and he’s at Antioch Law School alum. I didn’t know, but I called him up and
said you have to come over here and tell us the story, and he said okay. Two
hundred people came. The room was packed with students and people from the
community and people from what became Cuban embassy. It was called the
Cuban Interests Section, and they asked to meet with me afterward. They said,
would you like to develop a relationship with the University of Havana, and I
said yes, and they said we think you should probably do it sooner rather than
later while President Obama is in place. And I said I’m actually packed. I’ll
meet you at the airport right now. In no time, the president of the University
was thrilled and felt that he should come with. A faculty member, one of our
spectacular faculty members, a guy named Rafael Cox Alamore, is a Marshall
fellow Ph.D. from Oxford in the Caribbean region. He’s a historian. He knows
more about José Martí than they do. He came with us, and then Mary Cheh,
council member from Ward 3. She’s a dear friend, paid her own way, and came
with. The four of us went and spent several days in intensive lectures by the
faculty at the University of Havana Law School learning about legal education
in Cuba, about the new constitution, and how we might develop a relationship.
I signed the first MOU of any law school with the Cuba, the University of
Havana, and we formed a faculty committee to decide how we would proceed.
Last year, three faculty members and sixteen students went to Cuba over
Christmas intersession and attended classes and got to be there and part of all of
that. This year, just over spring break, twelve students and four faculty
members went to Cuba to learn about housing law. They have no mortgages
there. They have a right to housing. What does that look like? It’s actually
most people living with their parents, and a huge segment of the population has
come to the United States because of housing and the lack thereof. But they
have a right to housing, and how might we learn from them and how might we
collaborate going forward.
Mr. Gross: That’s fascinating.
Ms. Broderick: It has been a fascinating opportunity.
Mr. Gross: Do they speak in Spanish? Are the lectures all in Spanish?
Ms. Broderick: Some are in Spanish, some are in English, Rafael, or we’ve hired translators. I
invited the deans of the Cuba Law School, a woman dean and her associate dean
came the first time in this country, spent a week. I took them to the White
House and the Supreme Court. It happened that Judge Rick Urbina, from the
Federal District Court, a Hispanic judge, was having his portrait unveiling. He
is an enormously popular dear old friend of mine, and I called him up and said
I’m coming to your portrait unveiling but I’d like to bring the dean of the
University of Havana law school and her associate dean. Sonia Sotomayor was
there, Attorney General Eric Holder was there, and these deans thought that
everyone in the United States speaks Spanish because every Spanish-speaking
judge in any court in the nation’s capitol packed that courtroom. I had a
reception with Spanish-speaking alumni here at my house, faculty came, and
alumni came, and it was just a glorious visit. They loved it. And of course
every law school in American is trying to beat our territory but they’re not
Mr. Gross: Very cool.
Ms. Broderick: The third initiative I’ll speak to. This is the kind of being open to possibilities
and being somewhat entrepreneurial. For somebody who hated business
classes, it turns out I’m pretty entrepreneurial. I got a call two summers ago
from Brandon Todd, a Ward 4 councilmember who said he was running on
increasing services for seniors, and he wanted to fund a legal clinic for elder
law, and I said no. It’s inappropriate for the government to drive curriculum
choices, but you can give us money to enhance our capacity to do what we
already do. We serve a lot of seniors and a lot of juniors, but enhancing our
capacity to serve seniors across the clinics and across the District of Columbia is
something that is very attractive to us. So funding has come for that, and now
we’re staffing up, hiring, and building that capacity and what that will look like
will be decided by the faculty, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like. Our
general practice clinic is about 85% elder law already, so growing that and so
forth, it’s good for the District, it’s good for the law school, it’s great for our
students and our clients.
Oral History of Dean Broderick
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of The Historical
Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewer is Robert Gross, and the
interviewee is Dean Katherine Shelton (“Shelley”) Broderick. The interview took place on May
3, 2016. This is the fifth interview.
Mr. Gross: Good afternoon, Shelley. It’s May 3rd
Ms. Broderick: Amazing.
Mr. Gross: Amazing. We kind of went through your career, and now there’s some
loose ends we need to tie up, some of which began in periods we’ve
already talked about but are kind of set pieces in and of themselves. These
would be some of your extracurricular activities. You’ve been involved
with a lot of stuff, legal advocacy, outside of the university, so, let’s just
start there. How did you get involved in some of this legal advocacy
work, and where is it now?
Ms. Broderick: Well, I love talking about it because it has been a great part of my life.
Robert Frost said, “I want to unite my vocation with my avocation as two
eyes make one in sight.” I’ve had the luxury and the pleasure of doing
that throughout my life. So, I have my vocation, which is law and
teaching, but my avocation is social justice more broadly around poverty
and civil rights and civil liberties, and I’ve gotten to unite them as two
eyes make one in sight, throughout my career.
In 1989, I was invited by MaryEva Candon, then the executive
director of the Legal Aid Society, to a morning meeting at her office. At
that meeting was Jan May, who was the executive director of Legal
Counsel for the Elderly and Lynn Cunningham, who was the former
managing attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services Program. He had, I
think by then, moved on to George Washington University in the Legal
Clinical Program. These are all androgynous names, if you’re realizing,
Jan is a guy, Lynn is a guy, Shelley is a woman, but could be a guy, and I
believe someone else was there, but I can’t remember who it was. We
gathered to talk about just how very bad things were and just how we
tortured our clients. A client would come to me with a family law issue,
and I would say, “Gee, we’d love to take it, but we’re closed in the
summer, we’re not accepting new cases. You need to go to Neighborhood
Legal Services.” And they would go to Neighborhood Legal Services, and
Neighborhood Legal Services would say, “The attorney who does that is
on maternity leave, you need to go to the Legal Aid Society.” And they’d
get to the Legal Aid Society and, “Oh, we’ve just had a budget cut.”
There was no coordination at all, and we really didn’t know what each of
the organizations did or what the other resources were. The more we
talked about it, we focused on just the serious problems with the delivery
of legal services in the District of Columbia, and we recognized that if we
came together, it would be a wonderful thing because it would allow us to
get to know each other better, refer more closely and appropriately, and
potentially work together to notice trends. We came together and we
launched something called the Consortium of Legal Services Providers,
and we invited those folks who we knew, and there were probably about
ten of us when we began. It has still met the third Thursday of every
month at 9:30 since 1989, which is a good long period of time. I’m still an
active member. I’d say this year I’ve gone less than I always have before,
but hope to get back in because I think it’s an incredibly important
organization. The meetings begin by going around the room, and I say
“I’m Shelley Broderick, proud Dean of the UDC David A. Clarke School
of Law, your tax dollars at work.” And I say, “We’re doing a symposium
on D.C. democracy issues, and here are the speakers, and we have opened
a new clinic, or we’ve changed the focus of our Legislation Clinic, and so
instead of sending our students out to work in the D.C. Council, we’re
now taking on in-house clients, and working on policy change. So if you
know of policy changes that you and your organization would like to see
happen, or of others in the community who could use legislative counsel,
let us know.” Just an example. And then the next person might be from
the Legal Aid Society or the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil
Rights, et cetera, and we go around the room and talk about what big
things we’re doing. “Our gala is…” or “We’re doing a big report on
predatory lending,” whatever it is. So everybody understands what the
organizations are doing, puts a face to the name, and gets to know each
other and think about, “Oh wow, we’re seeing a huge increase in
bankruptcies or foreclosures, so we think we need some legislative policy
change around that,” et cetera.
Mr. Gross: There could then be a lobbying dimension to it?
Ms. Broderick: There absolutely could and has been. This was so important to changing
the whole culture around the delivery of legal services in D.C. We grew
and grew. We always had co-chairs, and I was a co-chair for more than
five years. I think I was co-chair longer than anybody else has been.
Judith Sandalow, from the Children’s Law Center, may have been close.
Jonathan Smith may have been close. I think I was there longer. Under
Jan May’s leadership, Jan May being an alum of the law school, he went
to Antioch, he helped us with the process to actually come up with our
mission. The mission of the consortium is to improve the quality, increase
the quantity, and coordinate the delivery of legal services for low-income
people and organizations in the District of Columbia. When I was leading
it, I suggested that we do a retreat and really try to think through, as a
group, what the biggest gaps in the delivery system are and come up with
recommendations for how we might fill those gaps. My sister used to run
something call the Stewart Mott Home, it’s a house between the Supreme
Court and Hart Office building. Public interest groups could use the
rooms or host receptions there. We came together and we spent a day
thinking through what the biggest gaps were, and there were four. One of
them was we don’t coordinate well enough, and if we had a common
intake, if there was one place for people to call in, then we could then refer
to the appropriate place where they were up and running, et cetera. A
second big gap was people don’t know what legal issues are or where to
go to get help for legal issues. One of the recommendations that came
around how we address that was a television show where we interview
legal services providers and bring in learned people who know about
particular issues, from predatory lending to domestic violence to
foreclosures, or whatever it might be. And that, of course, is why we
developed the television show Sound Advice, which I will talk more about
in a little while. I believe we’ve hosted the show Sound Advice for more
than sixty years, interviewing legal services providers primarily, but also,
judges and clients.
Another gap was training and how about if we pooled our
resources and made sure that all the poverty lawyers really had good and
ongoing training. In any case, I wrote a little grant to the Meyer
Foundation and got $10,000. We hired one of my alums, a recent alum, to
help us put together a serious symposium, and we had countless planning
sessions for this symposium. We hosted the symposium in 1999 at UDC
Law School. Leading up to the symposium over a several-month period,
we had working groups on each of the four biggest gaps in legal services,
and the working groups developed draft recommendations for how we fill
that gap, and then we sent out all of that information and brought people
together. We brought the chief judges, we brought big law firm partners,
many of whom were former presidents of the D.C. Bar, and the former
presidents of the D.C. Bar comprised the board of the D.C. Bar
Foundation, so money primarily coming from IOLTA funds, something
you may know about or may not. IOLLTA stands for Interest on
Lawyers’ Trust Accounts. So let’s say you get a million dollar settlement,
and the legal party sends the lawyer that settlement, and it sits in that
lawyer’s account for four days while they figure out writing all the checks
and who gets all of it and how it’s all going to be disbursed. Well that
four days, it earns interest. Well, whose interest is that? Well, years ago
someone figured out, if you pool all that money, that’s a lot of money, and
it really isn’t owned by anyone. It’s not appropriately someone’s, and
how about if we use that to provide legal services for people in poverty.
So the IOLTA funds, here and elsewhere around the country, have been
used to fund legal services programs.
For years, we loved getting D.C. Bar Foundation funds because the
great thing about this group of bar presidents giving out that money, which
amounted to many, many thousands of dollars a year, was that, for
whatever reason early on, the culture was we want to fund ongoing regular
old legal services. We don’t you to write a grant to add bells and whistles
and now you’re doing the hottest, coolest things. No. This is for people
representing hardcore people in poverty with landlord-tenant matters. It
doesn’t have to be sexy, it has to be done. We need lawyers to do this
work. We don’t have anywhere nearly enough funds. We’re going to
fund just the real work. So we loved those funds. We wanted those
important people, the chief judges and the major firm partners and the bar
presidents, to understand the breadth and depth of the problem that people
in poverty have in securing access to justice. This symposium changed
the world. It really changed the world. It went on for a couple of days.
We had a reception on a Friday night, we gave plaques to them all, and
they all felt great about it. We invited Peter Edelman to give the keynote.
He had, I think, just recently quit Bill Clinton and the Welfare HEW
because he was offended by the rules going from welfare to work. He was
a national scholar and lawyer around poverty issues, and he had real clout,
and people listened when Peter Edelman talked.
We also learned of someone called Ada Shen-Jaffe. Ada ShenJaffe, during the worst of the fiscal crisis in the late 1990s, in the state of
Washington, in utter despair at the complete breakdown in the system and
the complete inability to address the millions of people in poverty around
access to justice issues, convened poverty lawyers from across the state,
and they wore buttons that said “No turf.” We have to come together and
we have to decide how we work together to make sure we can address the
needs of the largest number of people in the best possible way, and if there
are two groups doing the same thing, they shouldn’t be doing the same
thing, and we’ve got to figure that out and make sure we’re providing the
best coverage we can. People are just going to have to come together with
this mission, and they did. They established something called the Access
to Justice Commission, and I believe it was the first one. They worked
together, and they were smart enough. “Okay, poverty lawyers, don’t
have any money, they don’t have any clout, they don’t have power, and
they don’t have a voice. They don’t have a bully pulpit, so how do we get
the word out and capture the attention of those who do have power and
money and clout and a bully pulpit? So, the Access to Justice
Commission is comprised of the chief judges and big firm partners and the
Bar Foundation leaders, as well as the poverty lawyers. And if we come
together, imagine what can happen.
This retreat was just profoundly successful, and it’s one of the
things I’m proudest of in my life, having been deeply involved in planning
and the execution. We published a Law Review. Lynn Cunningham did
the first real needs assessment. What are the biggest needs in D.C.? Jan
May, from Legal Counsel for the Elderly, looked at all the innovations that
had been tried in D.C. by various organizations. The earliest stages of
technology and collaborations addressing particular problems, and so on.
He collected all the innovation, because there wasn’t the kind of
communication that there is now. People didn’t know. “Wow, I could do
that. We should be doing that, we should be working with them on this
issue.” So the articles were very important and useful, and that Law
Review was well-funded by many, many, many people. It was great. And
we called for the establishment of an Access to Justice Commission in the
District of Columbia. And this is one of the biggest disappointments in
my life because we failed miserably.
Mr. Gross: What happened?
Ms. Broderick: Well, the two biggest legal services providers were the Neighborhood
Legal Services Program, which was run by the legendary Willy Cook,
who was a warrior for social justice, but did not play well with others. He
would not participate. He insisted that he wouldn’t participate in the
Consortium of Legal Services Providers because we didn’t have client
members. We all felt that theoretically that’s a good idea, but we’re
talking about the delivery of legal services by the lawyers, and it was hard
for people to see how clients could really add to that conversation
particularly. We all talked to our clients all the time and are aware of
many concerns, and some of the organizations had tried having client
members unsuccessfully. Some had client members. But in any case, for
whatever reason, despite it seeming like a good idea, we never went that
route, and Willy Cook would not participate. And a lot of people pointed
to the Neighborhood Legal Services program and said they’ve had the
same former client on their board for thirty years, and it’s really not
helping. So it sort of seems like a good idea, but not moving the
The second and biggest legal services provider was the Legal Aid
Society. The Legal Aid Society was run then by a guy who also didn’t
play well with others and had some disdain, really, for these others. The
Legal Aid Society was more tony. They had a funded attorney from
Covington and Burling. A paid associate from Covington would go work
at the Legal Aid Society, and he’d be some fancy Harvard graduate who
would spend a semester. It was much fancier, very different kind of
In any case, if the two biggest providers wouldn’t participate, it
didn’t make a lot of sense and it wouldn’t work. Many of us were just
heartbroken because we knew the benefits that would derive from having
an Access to Justice Commission. Well, flash forward. I will augment
this for you with the date. I believe it was 2006, we founded the Access to
Justice Commission. Because by then, other leadership in both
organizations came into place. Critically important, Jonathan Smith, an
Antioch Law School alum and wonderful leader, took on the Legal Aid
Society. Jonathan worked very closely with the then-chief judge of the
DC Court of Appeals Annice Wagner and others, and the Access to Justice
Commission was established. It had 12 or 15 members. Peter Edelman
was the chair, so we were prescient in knowing that he was the right guy
for leadership in this area. Patty Mullahy-Fugere, who was one of the
UDC symposium years before and runs Washington Legal Clinic for the
Homeless, was a founding member, and Jonathan Smith, then of the Legal
Aid Society, was a founding member, and many others. Judge Inez Smith
Reid from the DC Court of Appeals, who’s also on the board of our law
school, was a founding member, and other terrific people. Well didn’t
they look around at best practices from the small number of other Access
to Justice Commissions nationally and figure out probably the single, most
important thing we could do is to conduct a needs assessment really
professionally. They got DL Piper and others to agree to fund a very wellmanaged and thought-out legal needs assessment, where all the providers
were surveyed, and so on, and see where the greatest needs were. They
conducted a study to see where the lawyers for people in poverty were.
It’ll shock you to hear there were almost no lawyers east of the river. Just
a tiny, tiny number where the greatest poverty and need was. Having this
information enabled the leaders to go to the D.C. Council and say – I don’t
recall now off the top of my head the number of states that had decide to
fund legal services delivery, but many, and DC should do that. And in the
first year, the D.C. Council funded three and a half million dollars and
added 29 lawyers, most of whom were east of the river, to serve people in
poverty. Oh, my heart soars. At graduation that year, we honored Chief
Judge Annice Wagner and Jonathan Smith for their leadership in founding
the Commission. I have been honored to be a commissioner for many,
many years. Many, many, many years.
We’ve undertaken many other efforts. There’s a courts group,
where we meet with the judges in the court and try to assess what the
greatest needs are and how can we do a better job. Well, one of the
biggest problems is we have people speaking dozens of languages and
have no language access. We need to fund language access for people in
poverty confronted by the justice system. So we’ve done that, and there is
now a translation bank where there are individuals who are on-hand or can
be brought it to translate in dozens of languages. It’s huge. Many, many
court documents and legal papers have been translated into the most
common languages so that folks can understand the proceedings against
them and what exactly they’re involved with in the court system.
We still talk about access to the court system. It’s not okay that,
for whatever reason, it takes a long time for jurors and defendants and
litigants in general to get into the courthouse, going through security. It’s
a badly-run system, it takes forever. People are stuck out in the cold and
rain. It dissuades people, people go away. You can’t even get in. Surely,
we can fix that. Well, we haven’t yet.
Right at this time, by the way, when this got going, the IOLTA
funds, which are interest on lawyers’ fund accounts. Remember interest?
It was a concept where money sitting around earned interest? When the
interest rates plummeted, the IOLTA funds available plummeted, so the
paltry amount of funds raised by IOLTA now can’t really pay for lawyers,
but it does help pay for new poverty lawyers. They can augment, if you
make I think it’s now up to $60,000 or less, there’s funding to help pay
back your student loans available. And that’s IOLTA funding used for
that. Well, that means people can take the job. If you have gone to law
school, and it costs over $50,000 a year each year for three years, plus you
ate and had a roof over your head, you’re in vast debt, and you can’t take a
poverty law job because you have to pay back these horrible student loans,
these crushing student loans. Well, receiving funding to help you with
your student loans is a wonderful thing, and that now happens. And so,
countless, countless other initiatives.
Mr. Gross: Public funding has made up for the rest of it?
Ms. Broderick: That’s right. Another effort launched by the Commission is called Raising
the Bar. We’ve gone out and asked all the big law firms to donate. We’ve
said, and I can’t remember exactly what the percentage is, but it’s some
miniscule like 1% of your net proceeds, maybe it’s even less than that, but
if you donate to direct legal services providers – and there’s a list of about
thirty of us, including our law school’s clinics – if you give money to
UDC Law School for summer public interest fellowships, for students
who are going to work at one of the other legal services providers or in our
own legal clinic, you get credit for the Raising the Bar campaign. We
publish in the Law Journal, we publish it in the D.C. Bar’s magazine.
You’re celebrated at a lovely reception where the Commission is present,
and often the Mayor, the Chief Judges come, and the Attorney General has
come, the DOJ head of civil rights has come. This year, and it was just
last week, the head of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights came and
spoke. It’s a wonderful event. People love coming together, and it makes
them want to continue. And shouldn’t the big firms, making so much
money, serve the legal needs of those in poverty. Yes, they should. What
a great idea. And so many thousands of dollars are raised to that end.
Mr. Gross: Tying up those other areas that the consortium was trying to work on, the
Ms. Broderick: No one could ever agree to do that. Spent a million hours to figure that
out and we could never agree to do that. But, the world changed. Like
everything else. The internet. And so, you can go online and find out if
an organization can take your case, and you couldn’t go online and find
out where the organization closest to you that does this work is. A lot of
that information is now more readily available. I started the Sound Advice
Mr. Gross: Let’s talk about that. That’s a very, very neat thing. And as you said, it’s
gone on a long time, and it’s watched by people that are not part of the law
school community or the legal community. How did it get started?
Ms. Broderick: It was a wonderful confluence. We were in the planning stages of how to
address the biggest gaps in the delivery of legal services in D.C. One of
them is people don’t know their rights, and they don’t know where to go
for help. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a television show that people
could see? Literally, that week, I was called by the producer in the studio
at UDC who wanted to interview me about the law school. I didn’t even
know UDC had a TV studio. I went over to the studio, I said, “You want
me to talk about the law school? Hell, yeah. What could be better than
that? You’ll be sorry you pressed that button because you’ll be blown
back.” But, anyway, I got a chance to talk about the law school, and while
I was there I said it would be wonderful if we could do a television show
on legal issues, and they said sure. It’s always amazed me that all the
other deans didn’t rush over there and say “Hey, I want a television show
in my area,” but they didn’t. Actually now there are a couple of other TV
shows they put on, but mine’s been on the longest. The producer,
Ed Jones, is spectacular, he works with Cheryl Hawkins who did the initial
interview with me, lo’ those many years ago. They’re just amazing, they
do a wonderful job.
They’ve got a state-of-the-art studio, and we do several different
formats. If we’re taking the example of a domestic violence issue, I can
have a lawyer who represents women and others who are the victim of
domestic violence, but we would also have the person who greets you at
the courthouse when you go to request a stay-away order. There’s a
person there who’s a domestic violence survivor herself, and can help you
find a place to stay where your, typically it’s a husband or boyfriend,
won’t know where you are, but where they’ll arrange to be sure that that
guy can see the kids. So you and your kids can be safe, but we’re not
breaking the whole relationship between the child and the other parent,
usually the dad. How wonderful if you know that that’s possible, because
you listen to this television show, and you find out that I can leave that
brute and not destroy the family and not destroy the kids’ relationship with
their dad. It makes it much more likely that I’ll do it. And then maybe
have a client on talking about what it was like and how she made the
decision to leave and to be safe.
Mr. Gross: Have you gotten feedback over the years? What’s your sense of once it’s
out there, are people watching?
Ms. Broderick: It goes to 200,000 households. I get stopped in the street all the time with
people who say things like “I don’t know why you wear those glasses.
You’d be so much prettier if you’d just take those ugly glasses off.” Or,
“You need to brush your hair more often.” I mean, I’ve literally had a lot
of fashion tips, and I’m not sure that’s my strong suit. But I’ve also had a
million interactions with people who’ve said, “I saw that show you did on
predatory lending. A man came and took advantage of my grandmother at
her house. She gave him money, and ended up losing the house in a
balloon payment through a predatory lending scheme, and she went to the
Attorney General’s Office and is gonna get her house back.” I’ve had
those kinds of things happen a million times, and they used to show the
TV show on the monitors all over campus, and people were always sort of
suddenly realizing, “That’s you. I see you.” Or I saw this show, or that
Ed Lazere comes on every year. He runs the D.C. Fiscal Policy
Institute and talks about the ways in which the D.C. budget should be
adjusted to provide more for people in poverty. I have done many shows
with members of the Housing Authority talking about what rights you
have and what the plusses and minuses are of living in public housing,
how do you get in, et cetera. I’ve done lots of shows with Legal Counsel
for the Elderly on the many, many community outreach efforts. If you
have a senior who can live well on his or her own with a little help,
someone to come in and pay the bills on time every month. I can get the
food, I can feed myself, I can get a little exercise, I can have a life, but my
memory’s not quite as good, and I’m not good with those bills, and so if I
just had that help, and many other kinds of simple help to keep people in
their homes. Legal Counsel does that, and countless other wonderful and
progressive programs that people can learn about on the show.
Last week I did a show with Advocates for Justice in Education.
Two lawyers who are both alums of UDC and the DC School of Law.
Rochanda Hiligh-Thomas is the executive director now. So this is a group
east of the river. Two of our students in the Juvenile Clinic came to
understand that there just aren’t enough lawyers to help all the families
with kids with special education needs to secure their rights. If you have a
lawyer, the law is great. You can really change kids’ lives if you have a
lawyer to go in and make the government do what they’re required to do
under the law. But if you don’t have a lawyer, you can’t. What do we do?
We’re never going to have enough lawyers. How about if we educate the
parents and help the parents to become advocates for their children. And
so they do that, and they do trainings of parents. A lot of times parents
have two or three kids with special education needs, and they have friends
who have kids with those needs, and they become wonderful, and more
powerful, advocates, even the lawyers. This organization has now been in
place for twenty years or so. It was begun by Kim Jones and Beth Lastow,
who are alums. Kim has just moved on to Louisiana, running a legal
services operation there, and Rochanda Hiligh-Thomas has been there, I
think, for thirteen years, and she’s now the executive director. She hired
Patrice Wedderburn, who graduated, I guess, about eight or ten years ago
and is now working there. I had them on my show last week talking about
where parents can go to get the trainings they need, where they can go to
get the help they need to get their kids’ issues met.
I’ve had a grand time with that show. I’ve had judges on talking
about jury duty. There’s a new housing court, where the housing court
will actually force landlords to make changes to the apartments that are
require. Rather than withholding your rent and being evicted, and then
going to court to fight that and putting your rent in the court register and
all of that. No. How about if we just go in and affirmatively make a
showing, and the court requires the landlord to make changes. That’s a
good idea. But people need to know that such a court is available and that
connection. So then the Legal Counsel for the Elderly and the
Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless will have those videos on their
websites. You can go on YouTube and put in Sound Advice, and look
through all of the various shows and, “Oh, my best friend needs to know
about this. She needs that kind of help.”
Mr. Gross: It’s accessible. I see it all the time.
I think the last piece then is the work you’ve done on the policy
side in D.C. Obviously you’ve mentioned that these organizations are
involved in policy work, but I know you’ve been involved with D.C.
Appleseed, and then more recently in the push for statehood, which is a
neat and, I think, historic thing. And you’ve obviously been at work
closely with D.C. government. How did all that get going?
Ms. Broderick: I actually haven’t thought about this for a long time because it was a while
ago. I think I’ve told you about being on the board of the ACLU. I think
we’ve covered that territory, and if we haven’t, we’ll come back together
to do that, but I was on the board of the ACLU for about twenty years and
on the Litigation Screening Committee, and I chaired the Legislation
Committee for the ACLU. Well, then a board member of the law school,
a legendary malpractice lawyer, Jack Olender, was President of Bar
Association of D.C., and asked me if I would be willing to serve on that
board, and I did, and I was asked to chair the Legislation Committee.
Somehow, I don’t even remember how, I was inveigled to join the D.C.
Bar D.C. Affairs Committee. I was asked to chair the Legislation
Mr. Gross: When was this? Do you have any sense, more or less?
Ms. Broderick: I’m going to say maybe the 1990s. I thought, okay, I’ll chair the
Legislation Committee, but I’ll have one meeting and I’ll invite the ACLU
Legislation Committee, the Bar Association of D.C. Legislation
Committee, and all three organizations’ legislation committees would
meet together and we could figure out what legislation to work on
affecting people in poverty and what should we be doing where we can
bring all of these organizations big guns to bear.
One of the things we started doing is thinking about who’s going to
be the next Mayor after Marion Barry. There’s going to be a new mayor.
With these poverty law organizations who cared deeply about the District
of Columbia and its future, particularly making sure that those in poverty
are heard and considered in the budget process and otherwise, let’s do a
mayoral candidates forum. I happened to have a university, and we have
an auditorium, so we hosted the first mayoral candidates forum at UDC.
We co-hosted it with the Appleseed, the Bar Association of D.C., the D.C.
Bar of DC Affairs, the ACLU. If I was on your board, you were part of
this group, the Consortium of Legal Services Providers, and so on.
Because we were this big, huge set of wonderful organizations, all of our
organizations have fancy law firm partner board members who had clout,
so we could really get a good crowd. We could recruit someone like
Colby King to be the moderator of the mayoral candidates program, and
we would be the questioners. And we would develop the questions we
wanted each candidate to respond to. The first time we did it, Adrian
Fenty was ultimately selected as mayor, but it was held at UDC and the
900-person auditorium was full, and it was televised because UDC has a
cable television show. So people really learned about the issues and they
really learned about the candidates, and we thought that that was an
important thing to do in the District.
I got to know Josh Weiner, who was then the head of D.C.
Appleseed, and I got to know of the great work Josh was doing with the
law firm partners and others who were part of the Appleseed board. We
came together and collaborated on many, many activities. Eventually Josh
moved on to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and Walter Smith came on
board. One August day, I got a call from Walter asking if I’d join his
board, and I was honored because they were doing extraordinarily
important policy. Boring municipal policy work, but incredibly important.
For example, special education. Here is a city with thousands of kids who
have unmet special education needs. Let’s look at best practices, let’s
look at who the players are in city government. Let’s look at what the
policies are. How do we make them better? We undertook a wonderful
special education project and really changed how things are done in
Another example is HIV/AIDS. D.C. had the highest incidence of
AIDS and it just wasn’t slowing down, whereas other jurisdictions had
gotten their arms around the problem and the numbers of those people
infected and affected by the HIV virus was reducing. That number was
coming down every year, and we were terrible. So we looked at D.C.’s
HIV/AIDS programming and efforts and found them to be horribly
lacking. We decided to issue a report card on how we were doing. How
are we doing on making sure that the public is educated about how to
avoid AIDS and where to get help? “F.” How are we doing with learning
what the biggest causes are? Well, people exchange needles. How about
if we provide free needles to people so they wouldn’t share them anymore
and they wouldn’t spread the virus. Duh. This is a very simple thing to
do, let’s do it. In any case, we issued a public report card. We notified the
Mayor in advance. Heads rolls. The Mayor stood with us when it was
announced and pledged to do a better job and removed the then-head of
D.C.’s HIV/AIDS services and brought in new leadership and guess what?
Our incidents of HIV/AIDS has gone down sharply. But we issued that
report card every year until they got better at it.
Lead in the water. DC voting rights. We ought to have an elected
Attorney General. And I can go on and on. Appleseed has taken on a host
of wonderful projects. I’ve been on the board now – I think you’re
supposed to have a limit of three three-year terms – I think I’m in year
twelve or like way past that. I chair the Nominations Committee. I have
been a member of the ACLU’s Nominations Committee and many other
nominations committees. I always think it’s because Shelley knows black
people, and they think yeah, Shelley knows some black people. We need
some black people on this board. It’s painful, but it’s true. I love that
work. And again, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Walter Smith and
Jon Bouker, who’s the chair of the Appleseed board, and others on
municipal policy, trying to move the needle to make things better.
Mr. Gross: Did your participation in the statehood push last year that culminated in a
new draft constitution come out of that work?
Ms. Broderick: No. So, in about 1980, Councilmember Hilda Mason, who chaired the
Education Committee, asked me to join the Statehood Party. And I did
join the Statehood Party, and I have been a card-carrying member of the
statehood party since then. I’ve been involved in a number of statehood
activities over the years, and so it’s always been important. I am morally
offended by the fact that District of Columbia residents have no voting
representation in Congress. That’s not right. That’s not how we do things
anywhere else in the country or in the world. It’s ridiculous. So I’ve been
in various statehood activities for decades. Mayor Vincent Gray was
adamant about statehood. Vince Gray was a founding board member of
the law school, he brought the Joy Evans case to Antioch Law School.
Joy Evans was someone with mental retardation, who was housed at the
Forest Haven Institution for people with mental retardation, where she
died from poor care and, it turns out, countless other people were
neglected and abused and died at the hands of folks at Forest Haven.
Antioch Law School got Forest Haven closed and got community
placements for the folks who were formerly housed at Forest Haven.
Ms. Broderick: I had a long, long friendship with Vince Gray, and he was adamant about
voting rights for the District. And of course Eleanor Holmes-Norton I
worked with for a million years, and she’s adamant about voting rights.
So when Mayor Bowser came in and decided that was going to be a big
push, Beverly Perry, her senior advisor, asked me if I would join the legal
committee, along with the interlocking director, Walter Smith from D.C.
Appleseed. Jon Bouker from Arent Fox. Jon Bouker is on the law school
board, he chairs the Appleseed Board, he’s on the Access to Justice
Commission with me, he’s on the Norton Commission, Federal Law
Enforcement Commission with me to help pick the federal judges, the
United States Attorney, and the US marshals. I see a lot of him. But Jon,
Walter, and I and other fellow travelers, Fred Cooke, former Corporation
Counsel, sat around a table for dozens and dozens of hours last spring and
summer developing a new constitution for the District of Columbia
because we really thought there’d be a Democratic Congress and
Democratic President. Hilary Clinton came out in favor of statehood, and
we thought we would be able to move the needle on voting rights for D.C.
So on Emancipation Day in 2016, we went to the Lincoln Cottage,
where he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Mayor and the
Statehood Commission, comprised of five members, the Mayor, the Chair
of City Council, Phil Mendelson, Michael Brown, Paul Strauss, and
Franklin Garcia, the three shadow members of Congress, and they issued
the new constitution. We called for public comment, and we got more
than 500 public comments. We did public fora at UDC and did every
Ward in the city. We had a constitutional convention. I was honored to
serve as parliamentarian at the first day of the three-day constitutional
convention out of Ward A in Anacostia, with the blue high school band
and great, great excitement. The D.C. Council voted to put it on the
ballot, and the electorate in the District of Columbia, 86% voted in favor
of statehood. And then President Trump was elected, and there has not
been any interest shown as yet in providing statehood for the District or
voting rights. So that was a huge disappointment, but as you’ve heard in
this commentary, I’ve had lots of disappointments. We tend to prevail in
Mr. Gross: You do. Lots of triumphs.
Ms. Broderick: And so onward and upward.
Mr. Gross: Not many people can say they’ve worked on a state constitution either,
which is a neat opportunity. You’ve been a part of conventions and things
Ms. Broderick: It was wonderful. Paul Strauss and I went on the Kojo Nnamdi show to
talk about the issues. And then, recently, in 2017, on April 14, we hosted
a symposium called “D.C. Democracy in the Time of Trump: 51 and 45,”
meaning 51st state and the 45th president. It was a symposium with
nineteen speakers. The Mayor’s senior counsel kicked it off. We had the
Office of Legal Counsel for the Mayor, Betsy Cavendish. Mark Tuohey is
the legal counsel in charge of all of the D.C. government agencies. And
then Natalie Ludaway, second in command for the office of the Attorney
General. So the three big lawyers did a panel that was moderated by
former Attorney General Bob Spagnoletti. And we had Wade Henderson,
who runs the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and is
also the Joseph L. Rauh junior chair of public interest at UDC Law, gave
the luncheon keynote. I moderated a panel with Jon Bouker, Walter
Smith, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, and Eugene Kinlow of the
Mayor’s Office of Government Relations, and Bo Shuff of D.C. Vote
talking about where the biggest threats under the Trump Administration to
D.C. democracy and what are some of the opportunities we have to move
the needle forward toward democracy. And then we had a panel of
journalists. We had Aaron Davis from The Washington Post, and we had
WAMU Martin Austermuhle, and James Wright from The Washington
Reporter. That was a very lively panel. And then Jamie Raskin was our
capstone speaker. It was a wonderful symposium. Extremely wellattended. Something like 160 people all told participated during the day,
the Friday of a three-day weekend. So I did that in cahoots with our UDC
Law Review, and we’ll be publishing the constitution and articles by many
of the speakers in the coming months. Moving the needle on D.C.
Mr. Gross: I hope it happens in my lifetime. If not, in my child’s lifetime.
Ms. Broderick: We never thought we’d have marriage equality. We never thought we’d
see a lot of the progressive changes we’ve seen. So we live in hope, and
we keep a shoulder to the wheel.
Mr. Gross: The last piece in this D.C. policy advocacy politics world is your
involvement in the creation of the Attorney General for the District of
Ms. Broderick: Well, like everything else, there’s a history to that.
Mr. Gross: And this is an oral history so it’s a good thing.
Ms. Broderick: Years ago, it used to be that the Mayor appointed the Attorney General. I
was honored to be asked by Anthony Williams, who wanted to make it a
little more democratic process. He formed a commission, the Blue Ribbon
Commission, to make recommendations to him about who should be the
next attorney general, and I was one of about fifteen commissioners. We
spent days interviewing candidates. It was going to be the first attorney
general. The city lawyer always before had been called the Corporation
Counsel. We selected, and the Mayor approved, Robert Spagnoletti as the
first attorney general. Bob Spagnoletti did a wonderful job, but we were
very unhappy because we thought that the attorney general should report
directly to the Mayor, and Anthony Williams thought the attorney general
should report directly to a deputy mayor. We thought that lowered the
visibility and was not a good plan. So I got very involved with it at that
time, with thinking about the role of the attorney general. One of the big
questions is who’s the client. So is the mayor the client of the attorney
general, or is it the city, the resident of the District of Columbia? This had
never been really addressed, and it’s interesting.
Then Adrian Fenty became mayor and he appointed Peter Nichols.
Peter Nichols was a terribly controversial attorney general. There were
people who loathed and despised him and thought that he exceeded his
power and thought that he was really the mayor calling the shots. Peter
was a former big law firm partner with balls of steel, let’s put it that way.
Peter had a swagger to him that was off-putting to a lot of people. I
remember the very first speech he made. The D.C. Bar, D.C. Affairs
Committee invited him to the D.C. Council to speak to us about how he
saw the role. Peter said, “As a private lawyer doing major pro bono
cases, I convinced the judges when we sued the District to open class
actions and to come up with consent decrees forcing the city to change the
way it did business and to spend literally millions and millions of dollars
addressing wrongs. And when I spoke, the courts did what I told them to
do, and now I’m attorney general. And the fact is the city can’t afford to
waste all the money it’s spending in addressing those consent decrees.
I’m going to speak, and the judges are going to listen.” And I remember
sitting, listening to that, thinking, “Good luck with that. That’ll be
interesting to see.” And of course it didn’t shake out that way. But folks
at D.C. Appleseed and in other advocacy organizations around the city felt
that the Peter Nichols model of attorney general was really the lawyer for
the mayor, and that that’s not how this role should be. That this should, in
fact, be the lawyer for the residents. And so, Appleseed and others started
a movement for an elected attorney general. And, again, we had public
fora to discuss this. I convened along with the usual suspects, Appleseed,
the ACLU, the D.C. Bar, the D.C. Affairs, and other organizations, cosponsored for a where we brought together Peter Nichols; Bob
Spagnoletti; Fred Cooke, Corporation Counsel under Mayor Barry; Inez
Smith-Reid, another Corporation Counsel under Mayor Barry. There may
have been another one or two. And, actually, Phil Mendelson came to
have a conversation about who is the client. How should this be, and to
hear from people who’ve held the ranks in that position and from others
who had contrary views. So it was a very lively, packed room, a very
important forum. By the time that the election happened, we got it on the
ballot and the citizen re-voted overwhelmingly to do what, I think, fortythree other jurisdictions had done, which is to have an elected attorney
general. But by that time, the mayor was Vince Gray, and he had
appointed Irv Nathan, and people were a lot happier with Irv Nathan. And
Irv Nathan thought oh no, this is terrible. We don’t want an elected
attorney general. What’s going to happen with an elected attorney general
is they’re going to want to be mayor. So you’re setting up a conflict that
the mayor’s lawyer, the lawyer for all the agencies, is in fact going to be
running against the mayor and thwarting the mayor’s will. It’s a train
wreck. All the chief lawyers for the agencies who used to report to the
attorney general under an elected attorney general would no longer do
that. And all of those agency lawyers would report to the Office of Legal
Counsel in the executive branch. They pretty much cut the job in half.
And so today Mark Tuohey is the Office of Legal Counsel for the
executive branch and is the lawyer to whom the agency lawyers report,
and Carl Racine was elected attorney general, and he handles all of those
consent decrees, many of which have ended, and handles the juvenile
cases and brings landlords – right now, there’s a huge case against a major
landlord to make huge fines and transform the housing projects that he
runs. Otherwise clean up the city.
Mr. Gross: So far you’re happy with how it’s turned out?
Ms. Broderick; Well, I think it’s very interesting we’re still on the shakedown cruise, and
seeing how this works. And there’s some speculation that Carl Racine
will run for mayor, and is that the kind of scenario we want to see going
forward? Well, I don’t think there’s any going back. I think we’re going
to continue with an elected attorney general. And I think Carl Racine’s
done a terrific job. It will be very interesting to see.
I had the honor in the most recent election of moderating the
Mayoral candidates forum, which I loved doing. Muriel Bowser
prevailed, but her opponents got the chance to do that. I also had the
opportunity to moderate a candidate’s forum with the five people who ran
for the Attorney General slot. We hosted also at UDC a big forum with all
the same usual suspects, the advocacy community. The judges came to
UDC to learn more about who the candidates were. So, I’ve had
wonderful opportunity as the Dean of the law school at the public
university to really bring parts of the community together who don’t come
together otherwise and to educate our students and the community about
the most important issues of the day.
Mr. Gross: Thank you.
Ms. Broderick: Lucky me.
Mr. Gross: Lucky you.
Oral History of Dean Broderick
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of The Historical
Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewer is Robert Gross, and the
interviewee is Dean Katherine Shelton (“Shelley”) Broderick. The interview took place on
Friday, December 7, 2018. This is the sixth interview.
MR. GROSS: Good afternoon, Shelley.
MS. BRODERICK: Hi Robbie. It’s great to see you again.
MR. GROSS: It’s been a long time. It’s December 7, 2018. We think we last spoke in
May of 2017, and because history continues to unfold, we thought we
would have another chat to talk about what’s happened, some major things
that have happened since we last spoke, including, most prominently, your
decision to step down as Dean. I think we want to use today to talk about
what went into that decision, and then maybe before then, up to you, some
of the other major things that were happening in the last couple of years at
the law school, and I’ll leave it to you to figure out where to begin this
MS. BRODERICK: That you, Robbie. It’s such a pleasure to see you and be with you today
and always. Thank you for all you’ve done to make this happen. I could
not be better served. I really am delighted.
MR. GROSS: And fun for me.
MS. BRODERICK: So I think the place to begin is in 2014. As I have mentioned, my husband
died in 2013 after six years with brain cancer. Later in 2013, as I was sort
of swimming to the surface after a long time feeling like I was below the
surface in some ways, late in the year I was diagnosed with cancer, and I
got the one you want, which is a Stage 1, easily addressed, and so in
January of 2014, I had surgery and a hysterectomy, and I was cancer-free.
That was a moment in time where I spent five weeks on my living room
couch and had time to reflect.
I did feel that was piling on, but I had surgery, and it was very
successful. It was winter, and I had a fire in the fireplace every day,
family and friends came by with meals, and I read a lot. I negotiated a
lease with Law Students in Court to bring in a fabulous criminal clinic to
the law school, from my couch, and also completed plans for our Black
Farmers project from my couch, but, otherwise, I had a chance to think.
And I realized that I was sixteen years into being Dean, and I needed an
exit strategy. So I began to think about how I could leave us in the very
best possible position for the next chapter and how I could clean up a few
things that would prove to be potentially embarrassing.
I knew that we were going to have an ABA accreditation visit in
2016. No new dean wants to come in and have to devote 100% of his or
her time to preparing the 2,000 pages of documents, to updating every
policy and procedure, to doing an internal audit of how everything is
working with regard to the 57 pages of accreditation standards. No one
wants to do that. In fact, you want to come in right after full accreditation
is reconfirmed, and now it’s time for a new vision and time to move
forward. So the visit was to be in 2016, and I knew with the ABA and
how it operates that it would be 2017 by the time we would have the final
results. So that was an organizing principle.
I also felt strongly that it was important to have an excellent
administrative team in place and begin really thinking about that in a
number of ways. I wanted very much to radically enhance our fundraising
policies and procedures and successes, and I wanted to reconceive of our
law school Foundation board and modernize the functions for the
Those were the organizing principles for the last chapter of my
deanship. So first with accreditation, as part of accreditation, you go
through a whole strategic plan. We thought long and hard about what to
focus on, and it really was the opposite of our prior strategic plan.
MR. GROSS: Can you remind us when the last accreditation was.
MS. BRODERICK: We received full accreditation in 2005. When you do that, the accreditors
come back in three years, and thereafter, every seven. So we had another
full accreditation visit in 2008. It went swimmingly. In 2007, in
preparation for the 2008 visit, we launched a strategic planning process,
and the faculty and the community came together and said we wanted to
do in effect four things. We wanted to start a part-time program, we
wanted to start an LLM program, we wanted to have our own building,
and we wanted to have an immigration and human rights clinical program.
And the fact is, in the next few years, we accomplished all of those things.
So we know how to do strategic planning, but this time, it was time to
really look inward. The whole landscape changed, the application pool to
law school nationally plummeted, the rap was that law schools are far too
expensive, and they don’t actually train you. Law firms have to train you.
We have the greatest story in the world because we actually train you to be
a lawyer, and we’re incredibly affordable. So you can graduate from our
law school and not be in hideous debt. And you can actually be a public
interest lawyer or a government service lawyer. It’s a wonderful model,
it’s just that we really haven’t been able to get the message out nationally
as well as we need to do.
Another piece of my thinking was to harness some sort of way of
going forward with a communications strategy. We just didn’t have the
person power to do it, and we really didn’t have the leadership to do it
going forward, so that was another piece of the strategy. So we did a
strategic plan. Necessarily in these days it had to focus on the spectrum
from recruiting, enrolling, retention, academic support, graduation, bar
passage, jobs. So that is the continuum, start to finish. How are we doing,
how can we enhance and improve what we’re doing, what’s it going to
take. So the community came together. Our alum and then-dean of
experiential and clinical programs, Jonathan Smith, together with our
then-academic dean, Laurie Morin, did a wonderful job leading the
strategic plan. I was intricately involved in it. And one of the focus points
that we had was we’re small and we’re caring, and we provide
individualized support for every student, and how do we think about that
as we again conduct an audit of where we are in compliance with the
accreditation. How do we think intentionally about ensuring that? We’re
doing what we do with an individualized student center approach. It was
delicious. It really was.
MR. GROSS: That’s not easy to do.
MS. BRODERICK: It’s not easy to do. It was a difficult process. Strategic planning is
necessarily difficult. It’s hard, because people have strongly-held views
and feel more strongly about one component or another of who we are.
We’re the public school. We have to be open and available to all who
come here, whether they want to be public interest lawyers or not. That’s
true. But we are by history and by statute required to have a strong
clinical program where we really train our students, and we’re an access
school. We want to be affordable. We’re a historically black law school.
So how do those three mesh, and how can we bring everyone on board to
embrace all of those together. It’s more than a notion.
So moving forward, we had the accreditation visit in 2016. It went
extremely well. I’ll tell one story. I invited the president of the University
to come meet with the faculty after the exit interview, after the ABA team
left, a week or two later, and he described how it went and closed by
saying, “I’ll have you know your Dean chased me down the school to take
me to task for not be enthusiastic enough with the ABA team.
Enthusiastic? It was a love fest. There was nothing I could say,” he said.
One of the faculty members said, “I hope you were armed when she came
But in any case, it was an excellent site visit. It went as well as it
could possibly have gone. The ABA gave us a number of nitpicky things.
They took us to the task for accepting a student who had not taken the
LSAT. And a faculty member asked how could you have done that, and I
said I can’t wait to write the response to that question. The only question
we only ever took without the LSAT was a guy named Matt Kaplan. He
was an Oberlin graduate with honors, he worked on Capitol Hill for many
years for the congresswomen who represents Oberlin. He made the
decision that he needed to go to law school because he didn’t feel that he
was sufficiently educated in the legislative process to do what he was
tasked to do, and so he decided to take the LSAT. He was denied
accommodations. He had been accommodated all of his life. He provided
all of the information needed, and the Law School Admission Counsel
denied his application for accommodations. So he sued them. In suing
them, during the course of the lawsuit, the Department of Justice came in
on his side. I really felt that given his extraordinary academic record, his
outstanding references, both academic and non-academic, and his status as
someone suing LSAT, that I was justified in providing him the opportunity
to pursue a legal education. During his law school career, he won the
case, and LSAT had to pay a lot of money and had to provide
accommodations going back five years. Matt and I did television shows
and radio shows about it, and we had a symposium about it. The
Department of Justice joined us in talking about him. He’s a hero. He, by
the way, graduated with honors, was a Law Review editor, passed the
D.C. bar immediately, clerked in the Court of Appeals, and is a wonderful
lawyer today. It was a good call, and I was very happy to write that up,
and yes, the ABA permitted that. We were still fully accredited,
notwithstanding that sin.
MR. GROSS: This is my own curiosity. They will allow you an opportunity to respond,
and then they respond to that response?
MS. BRODERICK: They take that back through their process and so forth.
MR. GROSS: It’s important that we get these things on the record because you know the
ins and outs of the accreditation process better than most [laughter].
MS. BRODERICK: And it takes months and months, back-and-forth. They’ll give you five
months to draft your response, and then that will take another five months.
So we didn’t actually get the final blessing that we were in full
accreditation until May of 2017. So the site visit was in February of 2016,
by the time they wrote the report and we responded and so forth, it was a
So that was that piece of it. The wonderful academic dean had
made the decision to step down, she agreed to do the job for two years,
gave two more years, and so after we got the accreditation, she stepped
down with loads of notice, and I invited a fabulous member of the faculty,
LaShonda Adams, to be the academic dean. Just showing the majority of
the institution, we had one academic dean for fourteen years and then
another for four. How about a model where you agree to come for three
years, and so it turns over, and lots of faculty members get to have the
chance in that leadership role, but not forever. You’re not giving up your
legal practice and your teaching, but you take on a leadership role for three
years, and anybody who has any interest in that can take a turn, but it’s not
a life sentence. So what better time than right after an accreditation visit
where we had done an audit to make sure that every policy was in
compliance, that everything was up to date and modernized and so forth,
and then bring someone in, following an excellent academic dean who had
the sabbatical list in perfect shape, it was pristine. So someone could
come in for three years, and LaShonda agreed to do that and has done a
spectacular job. In any case, we had a good, strong leadership team. A
couple bumps in the road where a couple people got other opportunities or
retired, so we had some changes, but we did some very effective recruiting
and brought in a very strong team. But I’m getting a little bit ahead of
So the second thing I really wanted to do was transform our
fundraising and really focus on it, so I actually asked around to some
friends about their fundraising. I talked to a number of people, including,
notably, David Stern, who runs the Equal Justice Works, which raises
millions of dollars for law students who want to go into public interest
jobs, and for law students to do summer public interest fellowships. So
it’s very similar to ours. David Stern recommended someone called David
Simmons, who had just retired as his fundraiser, who could serve as a
consultant and come in and assess what we were doing and guide us on the
best way to go forward. So I hired David Simmons. We interviewed
some people but hired David Simmons. David Simmons felt strongly that
we could be successful if we did an annual event, and David Simmons
helped me to draft a position description for someone to be our
development director who was an events specialist. And in fact, I’m not
proud of this, but I’m happy about it, we stole the Equal Justice Works’
second in command development person. Mizou Suito joined us. She’s
Japanese-American. She is perfect. After a long period of assessing and
putting it together and recruiting and bringing someone in, we planned and
brought about our first gala, and we raised a half million dollars the first
time out of the gate. We had the Mayor, we honored the general counsel
to Washington Gas. Have I told you this?
MR. GROSS: No, and I’m glad you’re going into the details of the gala.
MS. BRODERICK: We decided to honor a general counsel for Washington Gas. Washington
Gas was going through a merger with a Canadian company, and they were
between them using every law firm in town so that all the law firms
wanted to come out and show love to the general counsel. Again, the
Mayor came and made a wonderful speech. Eric Holder agreed to bestow
the honor on the general counsel, Leslie Thornton, of Washington Gas.
We highlighted the work of our Immigration and Human Rights Clinic
and the service learning trips that they did, so students had actually gone
to the border and worked with families who had fled gang violence and
other nightmare situations in South and Central America, so they appeared
at the gala, two students, who were wonderful. It was just a huge success.
I served as the emcee. We also wanted to honor someone internally. We
selected Judge William C. Pryor, who had begun teaching at the law
school in 1988 when we opened the new D.C. School of Law. He was an
only child, raised in D.C. all of his life, he went to Dartmouth and then to
Georgetown Law School. He was a prosecutor and became a judge on the
Superior Court and ultimately the Court of Appeals, and he was chief
judge of the Court of Appeals. And I hired him in 1988 when he stepped
down as chief judge, and he has been with us ever since. The students
worship and adore him. One of his students who had gone on to a very
successful career at the Public Defender Service introduced him and talked
about what a role model he was. The whole evening was absolutely
wonderful. At the dinner break, a dear friend of mine, Michele Hagans,
who is a home builder, a minister, and a former chair of the board at UDC,
she and I have been friends since the 1990s, she called me over and asked
how much does a scholarship cost. I said “Michele, you should know, you
gave me one this year, $12,500 for a D.C. resident.” She said, “Are there
any in your name,” and I said maybe one day. She said, “I’ll do four in
your name. Go announce it, and maybe someone else will be inspired.”
So when we got back, the honoree announced that she would be giving a
$50,000 scholarship. She would personally be giving that. I was able to
then say Michele Hagans is giving $50,000 for four scholarships. The
chair of the City Council announced that the D.C. Council would be
providing a 25% match, and in the end, we raised a half million dollars.
And the feeling in the room was absolutely amazing. It was absolutely
amazing. And we knew we had a model that would work. People talked
about it everywhere.
MR. GROSS: And that would be an annual event?
MS. BRODERICK: Yes. An annual event. So I’ve addressed accreditation and fundraising.
MR. GROSS: You mentioned fundraising policies as well.
MS. BRODERICK: Thank you for paying such good attention. We have a private 501(c)(3).
The D.C. School of Law Foundation was launched in 1992 when, on
September 3, 1992, the legendary Joe Rauh attended a session, I’ve talked
about one of our entering student receptions, and was so in love with what
we were doing and the passion and spirit of our students and their public
interest drive, he was thrilled, and later that night he had a heart attack and
he died. We started this Foundation because we had a goal of raising
$1 million for our first endowed chair, the Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of
Public Interest, and Wade Henderson was selected as the Joe Rauh Chair
of Public Interest and has served until this year. So from 1992 to now,
maybe it was 1993, but to now, Wade Henderson, who in his day job was
the executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human
Rights. It doesn’t get better than that. So it was Wade Henderson who
was able to help me land Justice Sotomayor and many other great speakers
for our annual Joe Rauh lecture.
There was a Foundation board, and it was made up of friends of
Joe, so it was mostly law firm partners. It started in 1992, so as you might
imagine, some of them are getting up there. In fact, the chair was
Joe Rauh’s son, Mike Rauh, who I think is now 83. He’s up there. The
Foundation, the 501(c)(3), is where we have all the fund accounts where
all the fundraising is managed and so forth. We really needed to take a
fresh look at our bylaws, and I asked the Foundation board to do that, and
the executive committee agreed to be a special task force to redo our
bylaws and to modernize them, to put in term limits, to grow the size of
the board. We didn’t want anyone to leave, but we wanted the capacity to
bring in some younger folks and some other members of the board who
could really help us jack up our fundraising. We are currently managing
partners of law firms and so on. In fact, at our first gala, Leslie Thornton
was so inspired by this event that she agreed to join the board. I asked her,
she was in just the right mood, she said yes. She can help us going
forward. It took a year to do the bylaws. We had Arnold & Porter as a
pro bono matter, bless them. They reviewed our bylaws, they were all in
compliance with the appropriate laws, and so forth, and we grew the size
of the board. In fact, as part of that, Mike Rauh, our fabulous long-serving
board chair, was asked to become chair emeritus, and Jon Bouker, who’s a
very important partner at Arent Fox, is now the chair, so there’s new
leadership, new energy, new vision, and we still have Mike, so we have
our cake and eat it too.
So I was delighted with that whole process, although it was hard.
Change is hard. It took a lot of thinking and back and forth and iterations,
but we got that done. The new dean will have opportunities to help fill
seats and to move us forward in new ways.
MR. GROSS: Accreditation is in place, you’re feeling good about the fundraising and
the financial stability of the institution, you like your administrative team.
MS. BRODERICK: We have a strong administrative team. We also shook loose some money
from the university to move the law library into our basement and
completely renovate the lower level of the law school from the dungeon
that it had been, where no one wanted to go, to the gorgeous newly
envisioned library space that we have now. And again, we had a very
senior, close-to-retirement librarian. We hired a consultant from
Georgetown who has been to every law school, knows what the modern
law library should look like. It’s not like we read books anymore. It’s all
Internet, it’s database driven, so what should a law library look like. What
are the study spaces, do we still use carrels like we did when I was in law
school? Why no, we don’t. How do lawyers solve problems? They work
together in small groups, so you need a lot of small study rooms where
people can work together. We got the help we needed to reimagine what
our law library space should look like, to deaccession massively because
no one has taken this book off for two decades. It’s a new day. We also
got the money to renovate the clinical floor, the third floor, so that
completes the complete renovation of our existing building. We’ve never
had space that was built to suit, to house our signature program, our
clinical program, and now we do. That is actually coming on line this
semester, so any minute that will be on line. But I felt great about
finishing the building. Again, because the new dean will be able to focus
on things other than shelter, basic policies and procedures. Nobody wants
to do that.
MR. GROSS: True, but those are the things that you’ve spent much of your career doing.
MS. BRODERICK: It’s okay. I was very happy to have gotten to a lot of the places we needed
to be. I should add that the university had new leadership, so we’ve now
had the current president, Ron Mason, for three years. He is a lawyer, a
recovering lawyer, he calls himself. He has been in higher ed, and he’s
been a college president for twenty years or so. He’s a member of the
faculty of the law school and cares about the law school, regards it as the
jewel in the crown, participates in our events, encourages other portions of
the university to adopt experiential learning and to fundraise like the law
school and to step it up, step up their game. So that feels good. Having
that kind of leadership and somebody who really understands the law
school and has been through the accreditation, that also holds the next
dean in good stead.
I got all set over the Summer of 2017, after that wonderful letter, to
announce in the Fall of 2017 that I would be stepping down at the end of
academic year 2017-2018, so in June of 2018. The day I got back from
summer vacation, our dean of students announced that she was leaving for
a big job at the bar. Two weeks later, the then-dean of experiential and
clinical programs announced that she was leaving for a great civil rights
job with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in D.C., and our
librarian, who had announced her retirement. We had conducted a
librarian search, and it was a failed search because the person we offered it
to had family issues that meant she had to turn it down and we had to start
anew. So I could not be the fourth member of a six-member
administrative team to announce departure. It could be a little
destabilizing, so we again had an excellent process. We hired a wonderful
librarian. We went through that whole search process again, and we got a
young, hard-charging, she had been interim dean at Temple. Temple
offered her the job for the permanent job, and she turned it down to come
to us. She has a master’s degree in marketing and communications, so this
brought us communications leadership, and she is now the head of our
communications task force. We were able to do some hiring so that we
now have a second community outreach person, so we have social media.
We actually have a writer, a social media person, the alumni director who
does a lot of communication, so there’s a four- or five-person team
working under the leadership of someone who knows that they’re doing to
get our message out, to tell our story in a much more professional way.
We reached out to Renee Devine at GW, who is the legendary Dean of
Students and has held other administrative positions, and I said, “Renee,
help. I need a dean of students.” It was my view that with three of the
nine largest law schools in the country here in town that there would be
individuals on some of their staffs who were ready to move up for a dean
of students job but there wasn’t room for that. And sure enough, that’s
what happened. So Renee did two things. I said we have no dean of
students, our administrative team needs training, so in a couple of months
it’s going to take us to hire someone, we need to know how to deal with
students in crisis, how to provide accommodations, how to work with
students with disabilities, and what character and fitness issues, as they
arise, how do we deal with those. Renee put together a four-part 90-
minute each training program for our whole administrative staff, and she
also recommended a spectacular new dean of students from her own staff.
So we now have Tamara Devieux-Adams, a wonderful Haitian American,
Harvard graduate, Boston College Law graduate, who has worked in
student services for many years and comes from a career services
background, and every school wants massive help there, and she has been
terrific on that front. Very professional. Just excellent.
We went inside to one of our revered faculty members, Matt
Fraidin, a long-time clinical faculty member and scholar, to lead our
experiential and clinical programs. We also had a major grant of $462,000
a year permanently annually to add to our capacity to serve seniors across
the academic programs, the clinical programs, and across the District, and
that funding has allowed us to hire two faculty members, a paralegal, a
clinical fellow, and an associate dean for experiential and clinical
programs, whose task it will be to develop the administrative
infrastructure for our first-year community service program, for our
clinical program, for our externship program, and for our summer public
interest fellowship program. We needed somebody to administer those
programs and see that they work well together, that we are
communicating, that when you are thinking about joining the externship
program, there are materials that show you pictures of students and quotes
from them at the placements they went to, with the contact information, so
that the next leader can seamlessly help them.
MR. GROSS: Did the grant come from the D.C. Council?
MS. BRODERICK: Yes it did. Brandon Todd, Ward 4, with great assist from Mary Cheh,
Ward 3, and Phil Mendelson, the chair of the Council, were enormously
helpful in landing that.
We got to “yes” in December, and I went to see the president in
January to tell him that I would be stepping down effective in the summer.
When I met with Ron Mason, I had with me a proposed search committee
with all their contact information and why this would be representative of
students, alumni, faculty, staff, board, and university, assuming he would
have all kinds of his own ideas. He didn’t. He said okay great. As it
happened, the faculty added folks, it was a very inclusive and great search
committee. I wrote my farewell to the troops and helped the president
with his announcement.
MR. GROSS: Was he surprised by your decision?
MS. BRODERICK: He was, and he was very generous in saying the thing that doesn’t need
fixing. He was very generous in his kind remarks. We had quotes from
the Mayor and from Eleanor Holmes Norton. Eleanor Holmes Norton did
a whole piece for the Congressional record. It was overwhelming, really,
for me, the response was overwhelming. People were very surprised. I
guess after twenty years, are you allowed to leave.
MR. GROSS: You become one with the institution.
MS. BRODERICK: In fact, I’m in my fortieth year now, so it’s absolutely time. Believe me,
some people did a happy dance. I’m not going to lie. There were some
very happy faces ready for the change, and I get that. One of the happy
faces was mine. Not that I haven’t loved every minute of it, almost, but
it’s time. I was ready, the institution, more importantly, is ready. The
faculty and the community asked the president to hire a search firm to
really help them do it right. I would have preferred them to just go to
town. In fact, I looked around the country and printed out the resumes for
three potential successors, people I didn’t know, but people who on paper
had that combination of caring about access, clinical legal education,
social justice, with outstanding communication skills and leadership
within a law school community. There are terrific people out there. I
have spoken every other year there’s a diversity conference to try to
encourage people of color to apply for higher administrative positions in
the law school world, and I’ve spoken at that, frankly scouting for talent,
and one of the candidates sent me a picture of the two of us at the most
recent one of those events when she applied, and she was a finalist. I had
hoped that they would be able to name someone to start in the fall of 2018.
They went a different way, and John Brittain was kind enough, the
unanimous choice of the faculty, to step up and become our acting Dean.
MR. GROSS: What was his role in the law school?
MS. BRODERICK: John Brittain is a senior faculty member. He had been a Dean at the
Thurgood Marshall School of Law in the past. He’s a very highly
regarded civil rights lawyer. He’s a wonderful man. He’s a former Dean,
and so he knows what it takes to be an institution builder. He attends
every student event. I hope I follow in his footsteps. I have every
intention of doing that, to be just a good citizen of the law school and
really show up and be a great part of it. So he’s done that.
My last semester was bittersweet, hard. I was more emotional than
I hoped I would be, but I knew I would be because I am.
MR. GROSS: Can you talk a little bit about what was decided not in terms of who would
be the next dean, but what would follow for you. So you had stepped
down, and then what else was discussed about what would happen to you.
Would you retire? Would you go off into the sunset? Would you stick
around? What did you want?
MS. BRODERICK: Great question. I have, as I said, I’m now in my fortieth year. I had one
sabbatical, and that was in 1992. My daughter was born. We would call
that Family Medical Leave now. It was nothing like a sabbatical should
be. I was a new mother, as it should be, I spent all of my time with my
fabulous baby girl. I asked for and received a year sabbatical. In twenty
years of Dean, I had foregone three-and-a-half, and the president
graciously agreed to that. I will come back onto the faculty. I just
recently filled out a form with all of the things I was interested in and
willing to teach, and hopefully, my new dean will select wisely for me.
We will see. I will know relatively soon because I have a lot of work to
do. It’s a lot of years out of the classroom. The president recommended
to the board that I be named the first ever Dean Emeritus, and the board
was generous and kind and awarded me that designation, so my card now
reads, “Dean Emeritus and Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Social Justice.” It
doesn’t get better than that.
The Foundation board, I had never wanted to be a member of the
board, I felt that that role should be separate from the Dean, but they
named me a member of the Foundation board, and actually eventually the
executive committee effective the date that I step down, and so my role
this year is as a member of the Foundation and in that role I interviewed
the candidates, the finalists for Dean, along with other members of the
board. You want to kind of stay out of the faculty and staff way because
that’s their choice. Needless to say, candidates want to speak to the
former dean of twenty years and want to sort of get a sense of that
thinking for whatever they want to do with it but they do want to have that
conversation. So I was able to do that. I was asked by John Brittain to
continue the work on the gala, so the final thing that we did last year was
that in our second gala selected the legal counsel for Uber to be our
external honoree, and I was the internal honoree. Eric Holder again
graciously agreed to bestow the award on the external honoree. Our
previous honoree helped us get him. He was incredibly personally
generous, and Uber was incredibly generous, and we matched what we
made the year before, another half million dollars. The Mayor did a
proclamation for me, which was announced. The City Council did a
unanimous resolution, and four members of the Council came, including
Chairman Mendelson. Mary Cheh delivered the proclamation. This is the
longest one we’d ever done and we left a bunch of stuff out. Many, many,
many members of the social justice community and our alumni, alumni
from every class dating back to 1979 came. All of the alums I traveled to
India with. Alumni who had been in my clinic and told stories about
trying their first case with me. They’re now retired [laughter]. It was
wonderful. They did a video that had magical moments. They went
around and talked with a lot of leaders of the social justice community
who said very, very lovely things about me. It’s been thrilling. Of course
it was terrifying because if it’s not successful, I hate to go out with a failed
event. But it was very, very successful. It was so large we had to move it
to a big hotel.
Whitman-Walker honored me with an award, and the Council for
Court Excellence honored me with an award, and D.C. Appleseed and the
Washington Council of Lawyers and the Bar Association of D.C. I have
plaques and vases and Whitman-Walker has a breathtaking piece of art.
MR. GROSS: What do you do with a resolution?
MS. BRODERICK: They’re sitting on my desk. They’re huge. I don’t know quite what to do
with them, but I’m very honored to have them. I’ve shown them to family
and friends from time to time. Now I believe in the next week we will
have an announcement about my successor. I think if it’s who I believe it
will be, we will be in spectacular hands. I have pledged to take my
successor to our major donors and build on my relationships with the
social justice and the government community.
This year, we had the second highest percentage of public interest
and government jobs of any law school in the country, 47%. Part of that is
my relationship with the members of the executive branch, members of the
judiciary, and members of the legislature, and obviously countless faculty
members also have such relationships, but having the leader have those
personal relationships where you can pick up the phone and speak about a
student, and I do still every day practically. And I believe this successor
will be a joy to go around with and introduce, and then I can back away
and go back into the classroom and have a little bit of a slower pace and
enjoy the absence of administrative, and that’s the plan.
MR. GROSS: Sounds great. Should we leave it at that?
MS. BRODERICK: I think we’ve covered it.
MR. GROSS: As an epilogue, as one of potentially many epilogues, you mentioned the
Black Farmers Project, and I wanted to get this on the record in case we
want to include this in your oral history. This is not something, to my
memory, that we’ve discussed, so I’d love to hear about it.
MS. BRODERICK: I’d love to tell you about it. It’s one of the things I’m proudest of. I have
two last things that I will tell you about, my last spring break, and I will
tell you about the Black Farmers case.
In 2014 or thereabouts, I received a telephone call from our board
member, Andy Marks, who is a former president of the D.C. Bar and who
was co-lead counsel on the Black Farmers case, and Andy said, “Shelley,
I am enormously proud of having participated in the first Black Farmers
case. As you know, the Department of Agriculture discriminated against
black farmers, and they did not get loans in the way that white farmers did
and lost their farms in many cases and were discriminated against, and we
brought suit, and we did a lot of things right, but we left out, because we
closed the class action period too soon, we missed 15,700 black farmers.
And the second thing that we got wrong was that we never warned our
clients that there would be tax consequences, potentially state and federal,
and so when black farmers got a $50,000 settlement, they went out and
bought a new truck or tractor and they didn’t save money for taxes, and
that was devastating for many. So we’ve reopened the case, and reopened
the class, and 15,700 black farmers have been added to the case. We are
in settlement talks, and you have a Tax Clinic, and I would like you to find
a way to have UDC Law help black farmers understand the tax
consequences.” I jumped at the chance, and, after my surgery in 2014, I
negotiated this from my couch. We hired a couple of alums and worked
with our Tax Clinic, and we prepared a frequently asked questions. We
developed a list of all the free tax providers, mostly in the southern states,
so that we could have that available on the website. The president of the
SBA, Bob Newman, who was an African-American man in his 40s, did a
video in which he played a black farmer and talked about tax
consequences and where to go to get help.
MR. GROSS: SBA?
MS. BRODERICK: Student Bar Association. And then we opened up a call center in the law
school, and we had students earn their community service, 40-hour credit,
and alumni volunteers, and we personally spoke with more than 5,000
black farmers who got their settlements, and in that settlement notice were
told that they could contact us on the website or call center and get the
help they need to deal with their taxes.
Then we did a symposium, and we brought in Paul Friedman, the
judge in the case, Andy Marks, co-lead counsel on the case and the
ombudsman, and we packed our moot courtroom with hundreds of people
who came out to learn more about that. I had students tell me it was the
most meaningful thing. The fact that this amazing case happened and they
got to play a role in it was very important to them.
I also wanted to tell you that, again in trying to be intentional about
my departure and send the right messages, I wanted to participate in our
annual service learning trip this year. I participated in the first one in
2007, and I went to New Orleans with more than forty of our students and
several faculty members and administrators, and we walked thirty-nine
people out of jail who’d been locked up longer than they would have been
had they been found guilty and served the maximum sentence. We
represented dozens and dozens of people to help them get their paperwork
on their ownership of their homes so that they could access the Road
Home federal funding, and we worked on Small Claims Court and Know
Your Rights for some of the largely Hispanic workers who came in, got
hired to work on houses and then got stiffed, didn’t get paid, to let them
know that we’re not going to ask you about whether you’re legally in this
country, if you work, you get paid. We did amazing work in the very first
Every year since, our students and faculty have gone to Biloxi,
Mississippi after the BP spill, they’ve gone to the border in Arizona and in
Texas to help families. So the service learning team talked to me about
whether I thought we should go to the border again and they proposed
another alternative, which was there’s a little family detention center, the
only one in the country, that takes fathers and mothers with their children,
and it’s in Berks, Pennsylvania, and it’s really the road less taken. The
sexy schools go to the borders, but Berks, Pennsylvania, doesn’t have the
number of volunteers they need, and they have a huge need. I thought that
was good, maybe we could adopt Berks Detention Center and really make
a difference there. It would be close enough that you wouldn’t have to go
the whole week. We could go more than once during the year and so
forth, and so under the leadership of Professor Lindsay Harris, who’s a
crackerjack immigration and human rights professor, about a dozen of us
went to Berks and we were embedded in the family detention center for a
week, and we successfully represented 78 families during that week who
had come to this country, fleeing for their lives, fleeing gang rape and
torture, horrible circumstances, take-your-breath-away circumstances, that
they went through making the credible fear claim and securing release into
this country so they can have their chance for a day in court and live undetained until they get that chance to show whether or not they’re a
candidate for asylum. It brought me close to our students.
I also taught this year. I co-taught with Matt Fraidin, of our
externship program, and helped place students in the Public Defender and
other placements. It was just a wonderful time, and I was honored at
graduation this year. Our students asked if I would be their marshal and
lead them across the threshold into their new careers. So I was honored to
lead the march in for graduation. It was magic.
MR. GROSS: When you say that the spring break trip was intentional and connected
with your decision to step down, what do you mean by that?
MS. BRODERICK: I grew up Catholic, and there’s a helping those in need piece of that, and it
blends into that servant-leader idea, and as Dean, and believe me, don’t let
the new dean hear this, but there’s a lot of stuff that you do. I have gotten
staff members and students out of jail, personally going down to court or
to jails. There are a thousand things not in any job description. You find
out as dean that you get sued personally when someone flunks Contracts
or for a million other reasons, for race discrimination, sex discrimination,
gender discrimination. I never lost one of those cases, but there are a lot
of parts of it, and I wanted to be visible in our community to shine a light
in a way that a dean can on our service learning, on who we are at our
core, and I felt that I could best do that by actually doing it and not just
talking about it. Some years I haven’t been able to do it. My husband was
sick, I couldn’t leave for a week for many years, and I had an ABA visit
during one of them, and so on. But I was able to do it, and I made the
decision early on. I attended the class all semester. I read the materials. I
read the book that was assigned. I watched the movies that were assigned.
I benefited, of course as always happens, I benefited the most from
learning about our students. Our students are themselves dreamers. One
of our students came to this country from I believe Columbia when his
parents fled for their lives, and they ended up in New York, and he was
pumping gas after college because it was the only job he could get without
citizenship, and one of the people he was pumping gas for was a lawyer
and he got to be friends with him, and that lawyer is now a judge. He got
his citizenship, he came to law school, he did the service learning trip, and
he was going to spend the summer clerking for the judge that he met when
he was pumping gas. You can’t make that stuff up. I’ve had a wonderful
career. How did I get so lucky?
MR. GROSS: Let’s end on that.
Oral History of Dean Katherine Shelton Broderick
ABA (American Bar Association), 86, 88-89, 106, 124-27, 137, 149-50, 168, 231
accreditation, 67, 97-98, 102, 116, 121, 124, 126, 130, 133-35, 145, 148-49, 150-51, 157,
164, 205-08, 210, 214, 216-17
Abramson, Fred, 71, 102
Academic Dean, 91, 92, 94, 97, 105, 112, 144
Access to Justice Commission,
ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), 24, 110, 147, 149, 195, 201
Litigation Screening Committee, 192
ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), 39
Adams Morgan, 75, 97-98
Adams, LaShonda, 210, 211
admissions, 70, 96, 124, 139, 165
Advocates for Justice in Education, 190
Alamore, Rafael Cox, 171
American University, 139, 143, 151
Americans with Disabilities Act, 112, 161
Anderson, Beverly, 129
Antioch School of Law, 30-31, 34, 37-38, 42, 54-55, 63-65, 85-88, 92-93, 95, 99-100, 104, 110,
112, 132, 137, 139, 145, 148, 164, 168, 183, 190
ABA scrutiny, 133 See also ABA/accreditation
Antioch Adult Misdemeanor Clinic, 36
Clinical Fellow, 26, 28
compared with Howard University Law School, 73-74
Daisy Chain, 35
Joy Evans (case), 196
Landlord/Tenant Clinic, 26
LLM (Latin Legum Magister or Master of Laws), 26
merger with University of the District of Columbia, 70, 122
public law school, 66
Save Antioch Campaign, 56, 58, 61, 66
transition to D.C. School of Law, 67, 76, 127
typical students, 35
Also see Snyder, Mitch, Cahn, Edgar, Cahn Jean Camper, Clarke, David
Appleseed See DC Appleseed Center for Law & Justice
Arent Fox, 196, 215
Arnold & Porter, 215
Askew, Joe, 126, 127
Austermuhle, Martin, 199
Bar Association of D.C, 192-93, 225
Barry, Marion, 68, 70, 72, 74, 113, 115, 192, 201
Bell, Alice (mother), 1
Boston College Urban Planning graduate school, 6
HUD Model Cities, 9, 39
Lace Curtain Irish, 1
Radcliffe, 3, 5
Bellow, Gary, 103
Bergdorf, Bob, 111
Berks (Pennsylvania) Detention Center, 229
Berman, Diane, 91
Black Farmers (case), 205, 226
Bouker, Jon, 196, 198, 215
Bowser, Muriel, 203
Broderick, Katherine Shelton – Personal
Alaska Pipeline work, 19
American University, 13-14
Big Brothers of the National Capital Area, 16
Catholic religion, 1, 2, 4, 7-9, 11, 13, 18, 30, 34, 38, 65, 230
Democratic politics, 8
Dominican Academy (New York high school), 9
father, 1, 5, 7, 18, 33, 52
General Motors, 3
Notre Dame, 3
Fordham School of Law, 18, 20
Freeport, Maine, 4
Georgetown University Law School, 13, 20, 22, 31, 36, 51, 96, 125, 138-39, 165-67, 213,
bar review course, 28
career services, 28
criminal defense Clinic, 42
E. Barrett Prettyman LMM program, 26, 149
night school, 18-19
International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, 11
Lorton Reformatory, 16
Portland, Maine, 1
Prince School, 7
See also Bell, Alice, Broderick, Peter, Zill, Anne Bell Broderick
Broderick, Katherine Shelton – Professional
Academic Dean, 136
Litigation Screening Committee, 110, 192
Nominations Committee, 110, 192, 195
Administration of Justice for Low Income People, 51
Administrator D.C. School of Law, 74
annual service learning trip, 228
Antioch Law School, 28-29, 31, 34-35, 39-40, 51, 56, 58-61, 65-66, 70-71, 73-76, 79-81,
85-87, 91, 93, 96, 102, 104, 122, 127-28, 133, 137, 152, 156, 171, 177, 183, 196
admissions interview, 29-30
Adult Misdemeanor Clinic, 36
Associate Dean, 91, 92
Clinical Affairs Committee, 103
Clinical Director, 60, 63, 92, 103, 136
Clinical Fellow, 26
Appellate Clinic, 61
Criminal Defense Clinic, 26, 42, 47, 52, 77
Director, 36, 41
Family Clinic, 61
HIV/AIDS Clinic, 121
Housing and Consumer Law Clinic, 30
Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, 148, 157, 212
Juvenile Clinic, 168, 190
Landlord/Tenant Clinic, 26, 30, 36
Legislation Clinic, 108, 111-14, 122, 176
Misdemeanor Clinic, 36
Tax Clinic, 226-27
communications strategy, 207
Community Service, 147
Dean Emeritus, 223
Democracy in the Time of Trump: 51 and 45, 198
dean’s admits, 138-39
funding/fundraising, 114, 115, 214
Interim Dean, 128-32
internship program, 105, 108, 122
Jump Start Program, 143
Law Students in Court, 205
legal advocacy, 174
Mason Enhancement Program of Academic Success, 142
Norton Commission, 196
Perspectives on Social Justice, 107
Professional Responsibility, 92, 105, 108
sabbatical, 81, 99-100, 211-23
Sound Advice, 178, 187, 191
strategic planning, 133, 208
support programs, 145
Brenneman, Diane, 61
Brittain, John, 222-23
Broderick, John Shannon (brother), 2, 4
Broderick, Peter (brother), 4, 9, 16
Vietnam, 3, 7-8, 31, 40
Brookins-Hudson, Charlotte, 114
Brown, Lawrence Schoolboy, 25
Brown, Michael, 197
Brown, Stephanie, 79, 82, 91
Brutus, Dennia, 35
Butler, Jo, 46
Cahn, Edgar, 31, 58-59, 81-82, 87, 89, 127
Cahn, Jean Camper, 31, 58-59, 81, 89, 127
Cahn, Jonathan, 11, 32, 82, 160
Cahn, Reuben, 32
CAIR (Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition), 148
Campbell, Christina, 148
Candon, MaryEva, 174
Canty, Vivian, Vivian, 10, 80-82
CARECEN (Central American Resource Center), 148
Carp, Dave, 102
Carpenter, Susan, 28, 30
Carter, Frank, 88
Cavendish, Betsy, 198
Chark, O. Roy, 82
Cheh, Mary, 198, 220
Children’s Law Center, 177
Civil War, 1
Clark, Dave, 112, 116
Clark, Louie, 83
Clarke, David A. (Dave), 25, 66, 70, 72, 74, 109, 110-13, 119, 128, 159, 176
Clegg, Isabella Sophia (daughter), 99, 105, 111
Clegg, John (husband), 97
cancer diagnosis, 162
Cohen, Fritzi, 24
Consortium of Legal Services Providers, 175, 182, 193
Cook, Willy, 181
Cooke, Fred, 197, 201
Copacino, John, 42
Cort, Russell (Russ), 32, 104
Council for Court Excellence, 224
Court Reorganization Act, 53, 55
Covington and Burling, 182
Crowell & Moring, 168
Crowell, Eldon (“Took”), 168
crushing student loans, 185
Cuba Five Programs, 170
Cuban Interests Section/Cuban Embassy, 171
MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), 171
thaw in United States relations, 170
University of Havana Law School, 171
Cunningham, Lynn, 174, 181
Davis, Aaron, 199
DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, 191, 193, 196, 201, 224
Democracy in the Time of Trump: 51 and 45, 198
District of Columbia
“Chocolate City.”, 88
City Council, 48, 66, 70-71, 77, 84, 87, 112-15, 118-19, 176, 184, 197, 200, 214, 220, 224-
delivery of legal services, 177
Statehood Commission, 197
District of Columbia Affairs, 201
District of Columbia Association for Retarded Citizens, 71
District of Columbia Bar, 71, 186, 192-93, 200, 226
Bar Foundation, 129, 148, 178-79, 181, 206, 214-15
District of Columbia Fiscal Policy Institute, 189
District of Columbia Personnel Statute, 78
District of Columbia School of Law, 76, 78-79, 91, 93, 113, 117, 129, 152, 213, 214
Law Foundation, 129, 214-15
merger with University of the District of Columbia, 67-70, 118, 121-22
See also Antioch School of Law, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
Devieux-Adams, Tamara, 219
Devine, Renee, 218
DL Piper, 183
Dyke, Jim, 71
Edelman, Peter, 150, 180, 183
elder law, 166, 173
Equal Justice Works, 211-12
family law, 148, 175
Feinman, Jay, 103
Feldstein, Lou, 75
Fennelly, Carol, 43
Fenty, Adrian, 193, 200
Fisher, Jerry, 26
Flynn, Catherine Heard (maternal great-grandmother), 2
Flynn, William Butler (maternal grandfather), 2
Forest Haven (case) See Joy Evans (case)
Fraidin, Matt, 219, 229
Friedman, Paul, 228
fundraising, 59, 129-30, 206, 211, 214-16
Garcia, Franklin, 197
Gellhorn, Gay, 57, 58
Georgetown Law, 18, 20, 22, 51, 95, 216
Career Services, 28
Criminal Defense Clinic, 42
E. Barrett Prettyman Program, 26, 149
Glover, Danny, 170
Government Accountability Project, 83
Gray, Vince, 71, 196, 202
Guskins, Al, 65
Hagans, Michele, 119, 213
Harris, Lindsay, 148, 229
Harvest of Shame. See Snyder, Mitch
Hawkins, Cheryl, 188
HBCU (Historically Black College and University), 152- 54, 165
Heard, Shelton (maternal great-grandfather), 2
Helms, Louise, 109
Henderson, Wade, 131, 198, 214
Hicks, Louise Day, 11
Hiligh-Thomas, Rochanda, 190
HIV/AIDS, 121, 194
Holder, Eric, 172, 212, 224
Holmes-Norton, Eleanor, 56, 196
Horksy, Charlie, 55
Houseman, Alan, 151
Howard University School of Law, 51, 68-69, 71, 73
IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts), 178-79, 185
Isabella (daughter), 92, 101
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, 193
Jencks Act, 42
Jones, Ed, 188
Jones, Frank, 87
Jones, Kim, 190
Jones, Steve, 17
Joy Evans (case), 196
Kaplan, Matt, 209
King, Colby, 193
King, John, 52
Kinlow, Eugene, 198
Kramer, John, 125-26
language access for people in poverty, 184
Lastow, Beth, 190
Law Students in Court, 26, 205
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, 88, 151, 218
Lazere, Ed, 189
Leadership Conference, 151, 198, 214
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 214
Legal Aid Society, 160, 174-76, 182-83
Legal Counsel for the Elderly, 174, 181, 189, 191
Levinson-Waldman, Ariel, 169
Levitt, Randy, 83
Libertelli, Joe, 66, 128
Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award, 168
LLM (Latin Legum Magister or Master of Laws), 26, 156-57, 164, 168, 206
Lorton Reformatory, 15-16
LSAT (Law School Admission Test), 17, 137, 166, 209
accommodations, 92, 209, 219
Ludaway, Natalie, 198
Mack, Tom, 60-63, 67, 70-71, 74, 79, 87, 136
Maher, Eileen, 55
Maine, 3-4, 6, 9, 12, 99, 162-63
Marks, Andy, 226-27
Martin, Conrad, 100
Mary Cheh, 171, 198, 220, 224
Mason, Charlie, 71, 135
Mason, Hilda, 69, 70-71, 74, 86, 135, 195
Mason, Ron, 217, 220
Matini, Shana Frost, 113
May, Jan, 174, 177, 181
May, LaRuby, 113
Mendelson, Phil, 197, 201
Meyer Foundation, 178
Milliken, Steve, 28
Morgan, Ed, 30
Morin, Laurie, 207
Morris, Virginia, 72
Moseley-Braun, Carol, 117
Mullahy-Fugere, Patricia (Patty), 183
Nabb, Christopher, 101
Nader, Ralph, 3, 6
Nader’s Raiders, 13
Nathan, Irvin (Irv), 202
Neighborhood Legal Services, 175, 181-82
Newman, Bob, 227
Nichols, Peter, 200-01
Nnamdi, Kojo (Rex Orville Montague Paul), 198
Norton Commission, 56
Norton, Eleanor Holmes, 153, 221
Norton Commission, 196
Nuda, Allen, 17
Nunzio, Nick, 62
O’Shazley, Ann, 76, 79
Oberdorfer, Louis, 46
Ogletree, Charles, 88
Olender, Jack, 192
Paglin, David, 17
Parkening Plays Bach (record album), 17
Pickering, John, 57-58, 123
Polk, President James, 2
Pollack, Ronnie, 59
Pratt-Dixon-Kelly, Sharon, 115
Pryor, William, 127, 213
public interest, 59, 63, 73, 147, 152, 154, 158, 170, 186, 198, 207-08, 211, 214, 220, 225
public policy, 154, 165
Racine, Carl, 203
Raising the Bar, 186
Raskin, Jamie, 199
Rauh, Joseph L. (Joe), 59, 71, 85, 88, 102, 198, 214-15
Rauh, Mike, 215
Rauh, Olie, 102
Ray, John, 115
Reagan, Ronald, 39, 43-44, 64
Reid, Herbert O., 68
Reid, Inez Smith, 183, 201
Rivlin, Alice, 118
Road Home, 228
Robinson, Bill, 76, 87-88, 91, 118-19, 122, 125-26, 128, 131
Rosenbaum, Jess, 150
Rubenstein, Richard, 32
Ryan, Joseph M. F., 63, 64
Sammons, Jack, 104
Sandalow, Judith, 177
Save Antioch Campaign, 56, 58, 61, 66
SBA (Student Bar Association), 147, 227
Sessoms, Allen, 158, 160
Shannon Station, Mississippi, 2
Shelton, Ida (great-great-grandmother), 2
Shen-Jaffe, Ada, 180
Shuff, Bo, 198
Simmons, David, 211
Simpson, Charles, 78
six competencies, 104 See also ABA
Smallwood, Phillip, 109
Smith, Abbe, 42, 149
Smith, Jonathan, 169, 177, 183-84, 207
Smith, Walter, 193, 198
Snyder, Mitch, 39, 41, 43, 45-46
Harvest of Shame, 44
Sotomayor, Sonia, 172
Sound Advice, 178, 187, 191
South Freeport, Maine, 4
Spagnoletti, Robert (Bob), 198, 200-01
Spitzer, Art, 110
Split, David, 80, 84, 119
Statehood Commission, 197
Stern, David, 211
Stewart Mott Home, 177
Strait, George, 86
strategic planning, 208
Strauss, Paul, 197, 198
students’ bar pass rate, 141
Suito, Mizou, 212
TAG (Tuition Assistance Grant), 153
Taylor, Charles, 118
Telman, Joe, 131
Temple, Ralph, 24
tenure, 53, 56-57, 123-24, 142
Thomas, Alice, 129, 130
Thornton, Leslie, 212, 215
Todd, Brandon, 173, 220
Took Crowell Institute for At-Risk Youth, 168
Touro Law School, 160
Trump, Donald, 197
Tulman, Joe, 168
Tuohey, Mark, 198, 202
U.S. News & World Report, 166
United States Department of Agriculture, 226
University of the District of Columbia David Clarke School of Law, 67-69, 71, 73-74, 80, 119-
22, 124, 128-29, 135-36, 148, 152-53, 156, 159, 165, 176, 178, 183, 186-87, 190, 193, 197-
98, 203, 213, 227
access school, 208
annual service learning trip, 228
clinical programs, 32, 50, 103, 146, 156-57, 166, 207-08, 217-20
Immigration Clinic, 147, 156, 168, 206
Juvenile Clinic, 147, 168, 190
Legislation Clinic, 108, 111, 114
Tax clinic, 227
Cuba Five Programs, 170
Cuban Interests Section/Cuban Embassy, 171
MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), 171
thaw in United States relations, 170
University of Havana Law School, 171
Fresh Start Program, 144-45
Law Journal, 186
Law Review, 199
externship program, 229
family atmosphere, 94
Foundation, 59, 148, 181, 206, 214, 215, 223
gala, 176, 212-13, 215, 223
micro-targeting admissions recruiting, 165
part-time program, 118, 156-57, 159, 164, 206
tenure system, 124
University of Havana Law School, 171
University of the District of Columbia, 67, 118
See also University of the District of Columbia David Clarke School of Law/Cuba
Urbina, Ricardo (Rick), 172
Waggoner, Nakia, 113
Wagner, Annice, 183-84
Walliad-Bonna, Oma, 89
Washington Council of Lawyers, 225
Washington Gas, 212
Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, 176
Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, 183, 191
Washington Post, 85, 116, 125, 199
Washington Reporter, 199
Washington Times, 149
Washington, Alicia, 25, 63
Watson, Fern, 61-62
Watt, James, 44
Wedderburn, Patrice, 190
Weiner, Josh, 193
Williams, Anthony, 199
Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, 57, 123
Wilson, John, 115
Wilson, Johnny, 112
Wolf, Peter, 33
Wright, James, 199
Yankowski, Lois, 61
Zill, Anne Bell Broderick (sister), 3
Nader’s Raiders, 13
Oral History of Dean Katherine Shelton Broderick
Cases and Statutes
Evans v. Williams (Forest Haven case), 35 F.Supp.2d 88 (D.D.C.1999), 71, 196
Pigford v. Glickman (Black Farmers case), 206 F.3d 1212 (D.C. Cir. 2000), 205, 226-27
Americans with Disabilities Act, (42 U.S.C. § 12101), 83, 161
District of Columbia Government Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act of 1978, D.C. Law 2-
139; D.C. Official Code §§ 1- 604.01 et seq., 78
District of Columbia Court Reorganization Act, Pub. L. No. 91-358, 84 Stat. 475 (1970), 7, 16,
24, 25, 29
Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3500, 42
Katherine S. Broderick
Dean Emerita and Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Social Justice
B.A., cum laude, The American University, 1973; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1978;
M.A.T., Antioch School of Law.
Katherine S. Broderick served as interim and then Dean of the University of the District of Columbia
David A. Clarke School of Law from August 1998 until June 2018, having previously served as Clinical
Director, Associate Dean and faculty member since 1979. In 2011, she was named the Joseph L. Rauh,
Jr. Chair of Social Justice.
Professor Broderick began her academic career as a clinical faculty member. She directed the Criminal
Defense Clinic at the Antioch School of Law for ten years representing more than 2,000 individuals
charged with crimes in the Superior and District Courts of the District of Columbia. She also co-directed the Legislation Clinic for
four years, supervising students working primarily on health and safety, environmental justice and criminal justice legislation with
the D.C. Council. She has taught Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, State and Local Government Law,
First Amendment Demonstration Law, and a seminar, “Perspectives on Social Justice.” She taught in Harvard Law School’s Trial
Advocacy Workshop, in the Fall Semester, for many years.
Under her leadership during twenty years as dean, major accomplishments included securing the highest level of American Bar
Association Accreditation, establishing part-time and LL.M. programs, serving the legal needs of thousands of low-income District
residents through the School’s nine legal clinics, moving into a beautifully renovated 100,000 square foot law school building,
completing a handsome $1.6 million library expansion project and raising over $15 million for endowed chairs, endowed and
annual scholarships, summer public interest fellowships, and clinical programs. In 2015, she forged the first Memorandum of
Understanding between the University of Havana and a U.S. law school. Students and faculty members participated in an intensive
International Law seminar in Cuba in both 2016 and 2017. Additional academic exchanges will take place annually going forward.
Professor Broderick chairs the D.C. Task Force on Jails and Justice. This blue ribbon task force is charged with redefining and
reinventing the District of Columbia criminal justice system and ensuring that the jail is one part of the just and equitable system.
She was appointed by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to serve on the District of Columbia’s Access to Justice
Commission for 2008 and is now serving a fourth term. She also serves on the Board of D.C. Appleseed. Professor Broderick was
named to the Norton Federal Law Enforcement Nominating Commission in 2009 and continues to serve. She also hosts Sound
Advice, a UDC cable television show available in 200,000 D.C. households, providing information about legal issues affecting the
District’s most vulnerable residents, including predatory lending, domestic violence, AIDS and the District’s abuse and neglect
system. A committed civil libertarian, Professor Broderick is a past president and served on the Board of the American Civil
Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital for many years. She continues to serve on the Litigation Screening Committee and on the
Nominations Committee. Professor Broderick was a founder and ardent participant in the D.C. Consortium of Legal Services
Providers, an organization committed to increasing the quantity, improving the quality, and coordinating the delivery of legal
services to low-income D.C. residents.
Professor Broderick received the 2018 “Potter Stewart Award” from the Council for Court Excellence, the 2017 “Heman Sweatt
Award” from the National Bar Association and the 2016 “Educational Leadership Award” from the Thurgood Marshall
Scholarship Fund. She has also received the 2015 “Effective Force in Service of the People Award” from the D.C. Chapter of the
National Lawyers’ Guild in recognition of outstanding leadership, the 2010 Champion of Justice Award from the Trial Lawyers
Association of Washington for her successful efforts to establish and develop the School of Law and the 2009 Deborah L. Rhode
Award from the Association of American Law Schools in recognition of her work to increase pro bono and public service
opportunities in law schools. She was named “Hero in the Law” by the Olender Foundation for 2007 and one of the 100 most
powerful women in Washington by the Washingtonian Magazine in 2006. She was honored with the Servant of Justice Award by
the Legal Aid Society in 2005. Professor Broderick received the national Equal Justice Works Outstanding Law School Dean
Award in 2002, and the William Pincus Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Legal Education” given by the
Association of American Law Schools in 1999. She was named a Fellow of the American Bar Association in 2000.
Professor Broderick and her late husband John Clegg’s daughter, Isabella, is a 2010 graduate of Wilson Senior High, a D.C. public
school; and a 2016 graduate of the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Robert N. Gross
Robert N. Gross is a history teacher and the Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs at Sidwell
Friends School. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and writes about
the social and educational history of the United States. He is the author of Public vs. Private: The
Early History of School Choice in America (Oxford University Press, 2018).