October 26, 1997
MS. GERE: This is October 26, and this is a continuation of the oral history of
Judge June L. Green.
Good afternoon, Judge Green.
JUDGE GREEN: Good afternoon, Sally.
MS. GERE: We were talking the last time we met about your days as a private
practitioner in Washington. Today I would like to ask you about whether there were any lawyers
that you think back on as ones who served as mentors to you during your career as a lawyer.
Obviously, there were not a lot of women in practice at that time and therefore I would think it
would have been difficult for a young woman to find a mentor. Were you able to do that?
JUDGE GREEN: The person who comes to mind was Joseph Bulman. Joe helped
me in many, many ways, and we were fast friends. We are to this day, although he now lives
most of the time in Florida.
MS. GERE: How did you come to know Mr. Bulman? How did you meet him?
JUDGE GREEN: I met him, actually, when I was still at Lumbermens. On
different cases that he had, we worked together–on opposite sides.
MS. GERE: So he mostly represented plaintiffs, is that right?
JUDGE GREEN: He did. He was one of the most successful and nicest plaintiffs’
attorneys in Washington, I thought. Always friendly with everybody at the bar. I think that I
learned how to behave from him, because I sat with him many times in court, and realized that
just because the rules provide for your objections, unless they’re very necessary, you don’t need
to use them all the time. I learned things that Joe would say, for instance, about the jury. You
always watch the jury to see what goes over and what doesn’t. If the person is making too many
objections, they may be sustained, and they’re very pleased with themselves–but the jury thinks
they’re trying to keep something from them. Joe made this very clear to me. He said that you
just don’t want a jury to think that they are—
MS. GERE: Not getting all the evidence.
JUDGE GREEN: And that you just take it easy. I thought this was fine advice. I
have tried very hard to pass it on to at least my law clerks and to the lawyers who appear before
me. Privately. However, sometimes they think they know better. Never with my law clerks.
MS. GERE: Well, that’s good. I was going to say, I remember this lesson, and
hope that I have used it myself and not forgotten it or thought that I knew better.
JUDGE GREEN: I’m sure that my law clerks have all been splendid lawyers.
MS. GERE: Well-raised. I think that’s what we were. Well-educated.
JUDGE GREEN: Well, Joe took a particular interest in me, for unknown reasons.
I knew him well. He would recommend me for the D.C. Judicial Conference. Which, of course,
was the federal one.
MS. GERE: How did one become a member of the Judicial Conference in those
JUDGE GREEN: The judges were the only ones who invited them. And I had
appeared many times before–oh, I take that back. There’s another thing. The bar associations
were given particular subjects to address when there were changes, I remember, in the law in
some respect. Or when they thought there should be changes and were recommending to the bar
itself that they would like to change these things. The Women’s Bar would send me as their
delegate to the Judicial Conference and I would be invited if I made some presentation before the
court. And when I started, we did not leave Washington at all.
MS. GERE: Oh, the Judicial Conference was held—
JUDGE GREEN: The Judicial Conference was held in the courthouse, in the
beginning. It was one day. Then they would go to, after that, they would go to the Mayflower.
They called the roll, and saw that people sometimes were not there when the roll was called. I
was there.
MS. GERE: I would think that would be a good thing–to be there when they called
the roll.
JUDGE GREEN: I thought so. Then they would have a break before they started,
and a number of people would leave and go back to their offices. Not me. I sat through many a
boring presentation and I did manage to look interested. Sometimes I would be rather alone
there, almost. Especially after lunch, when the people would come back, but then they would get
out of there—
MS. GERE: And go back to their offices?
JUDGE GREEN: Well, they’d do whatever they were going to do. Maybe they
were going to play golf, I don’t know. But in any case, I think that the fact that I
stayed–always–to do the job, that if you were the speaker–I always felt, how terrible to talk and
not have anybody to listen at all. So I think that they thought that I ought to be invited the next
time. And I was. Joe would always recommend me as well, when the time came that any
attorneys could recommend anybody. So when I started in, the Women’s Bar did help, very
much. And I remember one time we had a subject that involved changing the probate rules. The
people who really were in probate law wanted more time than they were given. I thought that the
least that I could do was to give them my time. That was appreciated by the people who needed
it. I think that just plain common courtesy made a lot of difference. This is why I feel so
strongly about the lawyers today who are just uncouth to each other.
MS. GERE: Both in the courtroom and out of the courtroom.
JUDGE GREEN: Right. Just not considerate of anything, except themselves. I’ve
seen a lot of them go by the board as a result. They just have not made it.
MS. GERE: That is one of the things that, in teaching law students, we regularly
say. You have only one reputation as a lawyer. You should take good care throughout your
career to protect it. Because once you lose it, it’s not likely that you will be able to get it back.
MS. GERE: I hope that the younger lawyers remember that. I certainly think that’s
something I learned very early in my clerkship with you. Both listening to you say how
important it was, but also in watching the lawyers who appeared before you who were not able to
maintain it.
Well, as to Mr. Bulman–did there come a time after you were in private practice
that you ever worked with him on the same side of a case?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes, absolutely. After I no longer represented Lumbermens. I
don’t know whether I’ve told you about that?
JUDGE GREEN: Well, Mr. Glenn had moved to Chicago, to a more important
MS. GERE: With the company?
JUDGE GREEN: With the company, yes. He had been wonderful about
submitting all the defense cases in Maryland that were handled in the Washington office. That
was all of Montgomery County all the way through St. Mary’s. So I handled the defense of all of
those personal injury cases, including the city of Rockville, as they were insured by Lumbermens.
The person who succeeded Mr. Glenn was not a lawyer. He was–I don’t really know what his
background was. But he was not a lawyer–and the head of the office had always been a lawyer
both before Mr. Glenn and all the years that he was there. And this man came and complained
about one of my cases. They had never complained about my fees or anything of the sort in
Chicago, and it always was put through the Washington office. Then they would send it on to
Chicago to get paid at the home office. I had had a very successful record. Obviously, you never
win them all. But at least there was a basis for it when we didn’t win one. In any case, this was
one that I thought was a very serious case, in which a driver from the city of Rockville, a truck
MS. GERE: An employee of the city?
JUDGE GREEN: —had injured somebody else to such degree that they were
emasculated. He was entirely at fault. I did not feel that this was a case that should be tried by a
jury. I felt that it should be settled, if possible. I had worked very hard on the case to get it in
position to settle, with depositions and witnesses and so on. All of the things that one does. It
had been settled quite comfortably, decently. I had, as usual, sent my bill for my time and efforts.
The then-Chief of the Washington office came over to see me. He said, “I think that you have a
very tough bill for this case. What is the reason?” So I explained to him exactly what was
necessary to do in the case and what had been done, and we’d had a very fine—
MS. GERE: Result.
JUDGE GREEN: And I felt that that was a fair bill. They had always felt that I
was fair, I felt. He continued to pace up and down my office. I said, “What do you think?” He
said, “Well, I don’t want to set your fee. I just ask you what you think.” I said, “Well, I gave it a
good deal of thought, and that is what I think.” He said, “Well, I just think—” He kept on, never
explaining what was wrong with it. So I realized that he was quite dissatisfied with me,
personally. I wondered why. But I also felt that if I cut the fee, I was going to lose my selfrespect. I figured if I didn’t, I was going to lose his business. As against the two, I didn’t want to
lose my self-respect. So I said, “I’m sorry, but that is what I think it’s worth.” He said, “Well,
after all, you are a woman.” I said, “Yes—”
MS. GERE: That was not an issue, but—
JUDGE GREEN: I said, “I have always been a woman, and I always expect to be
in my lifetime. If you’ll excuse me, I think that’s a non sequitur.” And he said, “Well!” And he
stalked out of the office. I had many cases that were still pending in different stages. I thought
they would all be called for. But they were not. He allowed me–I guess the company allowed
me–to finish them all, because it would have been a rather awkward position for them, I think, if
they’d had to get somebody else to do it at the last minute, when we were all scheduled for trial.
MS. GERE: Did it cross your mind at all to send them back their cases that were in
JUDGE GREEN: Not at all. My feeling was that I was not at fault in doing
anything. I thought that this man is never going to send me another case, and that’s the way it is.
I would not be able to get along with him anyway. But I never heard anything about the other
cases. They just paid me. Nobody was complaining.
MS. GERE: Did you ever—
JUDGE GREEN: I never knew what he was saying or anything, but I got paid
what I was charging.
MS. GERE: Did you ever talk to Mr. Glenn out in Chicago?
JUDGE GREEN: No, as a matter of fact, he died very early, out there. I had never
known he had a bad heart or anything, but he had had a heart attack and died. In fact, I didn’t
know that he had died. It was afterwards that I finally got some word about it. I felt very sad
about it, because he had been a very good friend, and a good boss. In fact, I was godmother for
one of his children.
MS. GERE: Oh, my. When that happened, what percentage of your work at that
point in practice was for Lumbermens, or Lumbermens-related?
JUDGE GREEN: Quite a lot. Although by this time, so many people had been
represented by me in the city, in the area, that people I’d represented when I was at Lumbermens
itself would seek me out to come back if they had bought a house and there was a settlement, and
I would do that. Or a divorce, or something of the sort. Anything.
MS. GERE: Whatever they needed a lawyer for.
JUDGE GREEN: Right. People were very, very loyal. Many of my former clients
have been friends for years and years with me, still. Naturally, they had to get other counsel. But
for a while, John was taking care of the ones who were the freebies. I told him that I had always
represented these people, and they changed their wills every year and that sort of thing, and that
he should do that without charging them. He did for a long time. Then he decided that was
MS. GERE: That was not his line, either. Well, with your practice then—
JUDGE GREEN: I had a very general practice. But Joe Bulman came forward
and said to me, they are still very stuffy about the cases in Maryland, for that you have to have an
office. I did have an office in Annapolis as well as in the Washington Building. So he said,
“Would you care to represent plaintiffs? I’m sure that you can do a good job.” I had of course
been representing some plaintiffs on my own. So we had worked it out that I would represent
any person that he wanted me to represent and sent to me. He paid me very well for it. It was
always a percentage.
MS. GERE: And these were typically cases that were going to go to trial in
Maryland, and that’s why he had associated you? Because you had an office in Maryland?
JUDGE GREEN: Right. Also, when he sent them to me, they were beautifully
fixed. I shouldn’t say fixed. [Laughter.] Sounds like a strange term. But I mean prepared. All
of the things that you start doing in a case to get to know it had been done. Of course, I had to
meet the clients, finally. He would send them over pretty fast, when I was doing all of his
plaintiffs’ work in Maryland. They would have police reports, they would have all of the witness
statements; they would be quite ready for me to take the depositions and so on, and get ready to
really try them. It was a wonderful experience for me to have both sides of the cases. At one
point, actually, when I had started with some of the plaintiffs’ cases, I had a problem–because
sometimes they would be one of the Lumbermens cases or something of the sort that I hadn’t
known that the defense was covered by insurance. I would have to get out. At least I felt that I
did, because sometimes I was still representing Lumbermens at that point.
MS. GERE: So most of these plaintiffs cases, then, were personal injury?
JUDGE GREEN: Personal injuries, but plaintiffs. We had a wonderful
arrangement. I wanted to stay in my own office, and that was perfectly satisfactory to Joe, and
we were very close to each other. We were in the Washington Building, and he was in the
Woodward Building, just up 15th Street.
MS. GERE: So he had a firm, then, and others that he was in practice with?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes, it was Joseph D. Bulman’s. I thought that was good
enough for me. And mine was June L. Green. And Joe’s firm, the name still goes on now that
Joe has been retired for a long, long time. He had Montedonico and he had Sydney Goldstein.
MS. GERE: Oh, Joe Montedonico was with him?
JUDGE GREEN: Oh, yes. Started with him.
MS. GERE: Oh, he did? Oh my gosh.
JUDGE GREEN: He had a number of people. But as to say, I did my thing in my
own office, and I had always an assistant or an associate, always on my own payroll. Sometimes
I worked it out so that if they brought cases in, they would get their own fee that way.
MS. GERE: Among the associates that you had working for you while you were in
private practice–were any of them women?
JUDGE GREEN: No, I didn’t have any connections with the women. The only
time was after I had had William Stevens, who turned out not to be able to try cases. It made him
sick. Every time we’d start court, I would end up having to try the case that I thought he was
going to take. He turned out to be–to stay out of court and do tax work. He is very happy and
very successful now, which is fine. I heard from Bill Ehrmentraut, at that point, who knew that
Stevens had left, and he had been in practice out in Brentwood. And he hadn’t been able to make
it, with a fellow named Cumulata. He wanted to know if I would take him on. And I did. He
was with me for about six years, I think.
MS. GERE: He then went on eventually and started his own firm, didn’t he?
JUDGE GREEN: He did, with Donahue, Ed Donahue. Who had been with
McInnerney . I remember those things. After Bill left, and I thought it was a good idea for him
to set out on his own and he was ready for it, and was very successful. And I had Yasha Drabek.
He was still in law school at the time he started with me. He became a lawyer and stayed, and
was quite able to take over some of the cases and work on them. He stayed until such time as he
got married. He got a job in the government for a short period, and thereafter they moved to New
York. He was general counsel for a corporation, a manufacturing corporation. Unfortunately, he
has been dead a long time now. He died of cancer. But we were fast friends, as we were with his
wife and widow. He had three children. I still hear from Jill, his wife, and I knew his parents
very well. They’re both dead at this point, too.
MS. GERE: Did he stay with you until you were appointed to the bench? Or he
left before that time?
JUDGE GREEN: No, he was there when Joyce came in.
MS. GERE: That’s Joyce Green.
JUDGE GREEN: Joyce Hens. I saw her at the bar meetings. I didn’t know her
particularly well. She was associated in an office with–I don’t remember the woman’s name–but
Joyce was practicing mostly in Virginia. She had an office there. She had shared an office with
someone in Washington, a woman. When Bill left, I think, that was when she came. Pretty sure.
Because Yasha was still there. Yes, I think Yasha was there when Bill was there, too. But Joyce
wanted to know whether I would be willing to rent her some space. She thought that she’d like
to be associated with me that way. We didn’t have any business connections, only a friendly
situation, where she’d pay rent to me and she also contributed to the secretary. She had her own
office in the suite.
MS. GERE: What kind of work was she doing at the time?
JUDGE GREEN: She was doing family law. Well, I was doing a lot of it, too.
Divorces and all kinds of settlements, because that was what I used to try to do. Until I found out
that that was not a kindness, sometimes. That it was better to try to see that they not do mean
things to each other, and explain that you didn’t want to have sometime in the future when you
would be ashamed of what you’d done. That was very important. And so my clients stood a
chance of being happy, I think. Because they didn’t do things like that. I found that in doing
domestic cases, that is one thing that all the laymen are willing to give the client free advice.
They will tell them, “Do this to ‘em. Move the furniture out. Take the bank account.” All of
these things. They’re so upset that they think this is the thing to do. You must, I felt, get them in
the proper state to know, to think, that it was their idea that they were not going to do these bad
things. And so my clients, this is why there are some still very friendly with me after all these
MS. GERE: It’s because they can look back and feel good about themselves, even
though it was a bad situation.
JUDGE GREEN: They were not ashamed of themselves and they had something
to build on. Joyce was the same kind of practitioner. We were close. I had been for nine years
going to the Congress to get them to change the laws in the District of Columbia for divorces. I
wanted them more like Maryland laws, in which voluntary separation was the same as desertion,
the length of time. Otherwise, they were much more inclined to be phony. I didn’t go with
phony rules and regulations. I just thought the rules and regulations should be changed, and have
them both the same. And also I thought that I found that the cases that I tried in the United States
District Court, in the divorces which I did—
MS. GERE: In the federal court, you tried divorces? Oh my goodness. I guess
that’s right.
JUDGE GREEN: Oh, yes. You see, when I was in practice, the District Court, the
federal court, had general jurisdiction as well as the federal jurisdiction. They had the D.C.
General Session, what would have been a state court, and we had all of the D.C. felonies, and we
had probate in our court, in the United States District Court. Which was why it was a subject
matter of the—
MS. GERE: —of the Judicial Conference. Oh, I see.
JUDGE GREEN: But on the basis I had recommended that they change the laws
and that they set up a special court in the Court of General Sessions, which was the District of
Columbia court, to have special judges do family work. Because so often the judges felt that
divorce cases were beneath them. I think that was the way most of the people treated them. Not
all of them, of course, but many judges were not in favor of divorce anyway, because of religious
commitments. It was a difficult thing to get a case tried by the court properly. One judge in
particular who was not very well known there, when he would have a divorce before him, would
be in and out of there in seven minutes.
MS. GERE: Oh, good heavens.
JUDGE GREEN: Because the witnesses you’d brought were never allowed to say
anything. They would not even require you to make a case, I felt. And this was not the way it
ought to be. I represented many defendants as well as plaintiffs.
MS. GERE: So it was unfair to all parties.
JUDGE GREEN: To everybody.
MS. GERE: How did the judges get assigned to those cases? Were they random
assignments, or—
JUDGE GREEN: Well, you see, they didn’t have any–it was the so-called master
system. There was a clerk who would find out what judge was available or most of the time they
would set motions in the entire court for a Friday, and it would be in the master calendar,
generally. But they didn’t give the consideration to the custody cases that should have been paid
attention to. I’d always felt that I certainly could give myself the opportunity of not taking a case
if I felt it was the wrong side when I got into it. I would have to tell them that I was not going to
represent them. When I had a custody case I could put all of my efforts into it, because I believed
in it. I believed that was the best thing for the children. I took the trouble to find out what the
other side was like and what it was going to do to the children, because so many times it did a lot
more to the children than it did—
MS. GERE: To the adults. Right. Did you find that to be true in all of the cases in
which you were involved–that is, that you had to feel comfortable with the side that you were
representing, or the position that you were advocating, or was that more—
JUDGE GREEN: Especially with custody. If custody were involved, if that were
the situation. I felt otherwise that people were entitled to representation. You see, the District of
Columbia at that time had no CJA rules at all. There was no one appointed for indigents. I mean
there was no system for it. So if you were appointed by the court, you might be appointed to
represent a defendant who was charged on a serious felony, and when you did, you were
expected–out of your own pocket–to get the copies, make the copies, go to the jail, or do all of
the things, trial or whatever.
MS. GERE: Truly pro bono.
JUDGE GREEN: It really was, indeed. You didn’t get anything back, at all. Or
any money for your time. The judges always felt that it was made up to you by having you
appointed a guardian ad litem in something. Well, I might say that those were not very
MS. GERE: The equation didn’t quite work the way they thought.
JUDGE GREEN: They appointed me to many rape cases. So many so that I had a
feeling that maybe there was something about—
MS. GERE: To represent the defendants? In rape cases?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes. There were civil attorneys who would go to the court
when they were appointed and say they were unable to do criminal work. They didn’t think they
could do it well enough. I didn’t personally feel I wanted to admit to anybody that I didn’t think I
knew how to practice law. So I would find out how to do it.
MS. GERE: So these were criminal cases, then, that you represented the
defendants in?
JUDGE GREEN: Sometimes they would not be. To start off, they would pick a
couple of them each year that you had to do at your own expense and your own time. I sincerely
told one of my clients, I remember, that I did hope that he would be more convincing to the jury
than he was to me, because I frankly thought he ought to plead guilty. But he didn’t, so I
represented him.
MS. GERE: And what did the jury think of him? Convicted him?
MS. GERE: Back to the domestic relations work–were you successful in ever
convincing Congress to change the law?
JUDGE GREEN: After nine years. And it was very interesting, because it was
always in the District–it was the Committee for the District of Columbia, you see–that I was
always required to testify before on behalf of the bar.
MS. GERE: Was this the bar or the Women’s Bar?
JUDGE GREEN: D.C. Bar. Both, really. They got on the wagon, too.
MS. GERE: Probably something that everyone would have been in agreement on.
JUDGE GREEN: They finally set up the Family Branch and it provided for three
judges. I had really assumed that one of them would have to be, since they had a male and
female involved in every case, I thought that one of them would certainly be a female judge. I
was in error. They were all three males they picked.
MS. GERE: Who picked them? Congress? Or was it by Presidential
JUDGE GREEN: They were–I think those were recommended by the bar. These
were people who wanted it and got it and were political appointment.
MS. GERE: Political appointments, I see.
JUDGE GREEN: One of them was Godfrey Mutter.
MS. GERE: I remember that name.
JUDGE GREEN: One of them was Frank Meyers, who was a very able negligence
MS. GERE: But didn’t know a lot about domestic relations?
JUDGE GREEN: Nothing. And the other one was Judge Burnett who was quite
an able civil practitioner. Unfortunately he had diabetes. Every now and then he would be
completely out of it on the bench. He died on the bench, actually. I mean, while he was–he was
one who was so insulting to women. Even if it was a voluntary separation, he would go into
what their marital experiences had been–things that were absolutely totally irrelevant and
insulting. One of the witnesses before him was a senator. He was so horrified at the way his
friend was treated and the outrageous behavior–he had sat there and listened to these things–that
he started a proceeding against him to remove him from the bench, which was joined by a lot of
people. It was only a limited period of time that judges were appointed for in the General
Sessions Court. When they came up for re-appointment, they were checked on to see whether
they were doing alright. This poor fellow was certainly not doing alright, and indeed there was
no doubt about it. So he was being considered to be taken off the bench.
MS. GERE: So Judge Burnett died. And then who took his seat?
JUDGE GREEN: I’m not sure whether this was when Judge Joyce Green was
appointed or not. I know what date it was, because she was appointed in March, 1968, and I was
appointed to the federal bench in 1968 in June.
MS. GERE: Goodness. So within months of each other.
JUDGE GREEN: Now at that point, Joyce was married to Sam Green.
MS. GERE: Who was also a lawyer in Washington.
JUDGE GREEN: A very able one, who practiced a great deal of domestic
relations law. And always the way she and I did. Great feeling for the people, custody, all that
sort of thing. I had many a case against him, and it always was a happy situation. He was a very
decent nice person.
MS. GERE: The civilized practice of law–the way, as you were saying before, it
should be practiced and too often is not.
JUDGE GREEN: Exactly. Indeed. So that when I was doing a lot of these things,
I was then the chairman of the Domestic Relations Committee. This was one of the reasons why
they appointed me to go up there to Congress.
MS. GERE: This is the Domestic Relations Committee of the D.C. Bar?
JUDGE GREEN: The D.C. Bar. Now that was the Bar Association of the District
of Columbia, because there wasn’t any other one at this point. The Women’s Bar and the
Washington Bar, which was black lawyers. And that’s about it.
MS. GERE: Then your practice was—
JUDGE GREEN: A very general practice with a large amount of negligence cases,
and with large amounts of personal family matters.
MS. GERE: What kinds of work did you–what did you like best about private
JUDGE GREEN: I loved representing both sides of negligence cases. I felt that I
could do more for the people in the family cases, but I would worry and stew about them a lot. I
didn’t worry and stew about–except of course to feel that I had to be successful–the people who
were really needing the money to take care of themselves when they were injured. That was
always a worry, but generally speaking I was pretty successful. There came a time when Joe
Bulman said, “You’re making more money than I am from this. I really think I have to open my
own office in Maryland.” I said, “I think that’s your right, and more power to you.” There was
nothing he owed me. He was so kind and wonderful over the years that I was delighted for him
when he did this. I guess that I had an awful lot more of family and domestic matters at that
point because there were people recommending me. I remember some judges would recommend
me to clients that were surprising to me. They would call me and say, “I have a friend and I just
know that if you’d represent them I would be happy.” I could take cases either in the District or
Maryland, you see.
MS. GERE: So your work–it’s sort of interesting that you began more as a defense
lawyer, then became a bit of a plaintiffs’ lawyer—
JUDGE GREEN: That was over a number of years.
MS. GERE: Domestic relations work, and a little bit of criminal work sprinkled in
JUDGE GREEN: Oh, yes. Of course every now and then you would have a client
you had represented in all other ways and they would be charged with drunk driving. I couldn’t
just say, “I don’t handle things like that,” when I was the only person that they’d been having for
all those years. So I’d represent them. They hadn’t killed anybody, thank God. Because I would
have been hard pressed then.
MS. GERE: To say yes to them? Well, in the various courts where you practiced
and over this spectrum of work that you did, did you find that a woman practitioner was more
accepted in some realms than others? In other words, was there women’s work in the law? Or
were there courts that were more hospitable to women? Or lawyers who were more hospitable to
JUDGE GREEN: I think that there were–but I never felt that way, I mean I didn’t
really feel that way. I certainly think that some of the characters that I met on the other side of
marital cases were the worst. The absolute worst. I recall one man from Baltimore who had
written me about how sad he was to think that I already had had my swearing in when he’d read
about it. I must say, I had not invited him.
MS. GERE: One reason he didn’t go. That would be good.
JUDGE GREEN: He was engaged in every kind of chicanery. I thought it was
chicanery. I made sure that anybody I ever knew did not–really, I didn’t reciprocate his building
up of me. I didn’t think that he was a person who should be representing anybody. Certainly not
in anything as personal as a divorce.
MS. GERE: But were the judges—
JUDGE GREEN: One never knows what anybody else feels. I really didn’t look
for prejudice, bias, to tell you the truth. That was why I was so struck with men who came over
from Lumbermens. I had never had that experience. I believe that the people who were insured
by Lumbermens undoubtedly wondered whether or not I was going to be able to do the job. I
would see questioning in their eyes sometimes. But I was what was presented. But if they ever
complained, it wasn’t to me, except one person. And he was just a—
MS. GERE: A difficult human being.
JUDGE GREEN: A difficult human being. It was one that the judge had to say,
Mr. So-and-so, you’re not doing very well on your own, popping off. So I would suggest that
you listen to Mrs. Green’s questions and answer those, because she is very experienced, and
you’re not doing very well for yourself.
MS. GERE: I guess at times like that you don’t need to say anything, just let the
judge do the talking.
JUDGE GREEN: I remember another one. I attended a luncheon at the, not the
Women’s Bar, it was a luncheon with the Maryland bar people, and the host was someone who
owned a hotel in Washington. He really was not much of a lawyer, but he made his money in
things like the hotel business and other such. He had Judge John Gray from Southern Maryland
who was a wonderful gentleman at that luncheon. He had about fifteen others of us at the table.
I think there were about sixteen. He made a big speech of introduction about each one of us. I
was the only woman. He said, when he got to me, “Well, of course, Mrs. Green.” Everybody
else had had their description as to what they were doing and what their practice of law was, and
what their office was, and a few other such things. “And of course Mrs. Green is the decorative
MS. GERE: That’s what he said?
JUDGE GREEN: And that I was lending the charm to the group. And Judge John
Gray got up and said something like this: (I wish to goodness I had a copy of it.) Mrs. Green is
one of the best lawyers at this table. She has been in trial work for a number of years and all
quite satisfactory. I would like to say that she indeed adds more to this group than decoration.
MS. GERE: Very good.
JUDGE GREEN: I’ve remembered the gist of it for my whole life. My whole
legal life.
MS. GERE: I can see why.
JUDGE GREEN: I remember also when I was having a lot of trouble with a judge
who was a curmudgeon in Annapolis. I had decided–he had kept us there until 11 o’clock at
night on a jury trial. The jury came in. It was a hung jury. They couldn’t decide anything after
all that time. This was an automobile accident case, a woman had been seriously injured and had
had a number of–it was an ad seriatim case and all rear-ends. She was a passenger. There wasn’t
any way she could have been contributorily negligent. I mean, she wasn’t—
MS. GERE: Hardly, when you’re the passenger.
JUDGE GREEN: So anybody would have assumed that we were going to get it
settled, but we didn’t. You had one chance to have a case transferred. I took it. The judge
decided he was going to fix me, by sending me to Prince Frederick, which consisted of mostly
farmers and not as big jury verdicts. And so we went there, and guess what–well, my old friend
Judge Gray had just been transferred—
MS. GERE: Oh, goodness. Transferred to Prince Frederick.
JUDGE GREEN: He always helped out other courts, when he was there. He was
in Marlboro, he was there, and he was in several other places. It seemed to me when I’d gotten
to–oh, bless me.
MS. GERE: There is some justice in the world. It may take a while.
JUDGE GREEN: It settled. And he was not a biased, bigoted man. He just
wanted to see justice done. He figured that they were not giving it to me.
MS. GERE: Well, your practice, then, and we talked about the different subject
matters that you covered, and it sounds as though throughout your private practice career you
practiced a good amount in Maryland and a good amount in the District of Columbia. How did
you decide which bar or which legal community you were going to be most active in? I mean,
aside from where you actually tried your cases? What drew you ultimately into the Washington
JUDGE GREEN: Well, of course, the Washington community was where I
started. I had started my practice there, at Lumbermens. My office was there first. I got the one
in Annapolis in 1950. In ’47 I was in the Washington Building. I realized that I had to have a
Maryland office, because they were not having reciprocity at that point, of any place around the
area. So I had an office in Annapolis. I had just said to John, when I had been considered for a
judgeship on the then Superior Court—
MS. GERE: General Sessions Court?
JUDGE GREEN: The Superior Court was set up about 19… after I was on the
bench. But it was all the result of a committee that we had, the Administration of Justice
Committee, that I felt made a lot of difference. I know that the Court of Appeals had set up that
MS. GERE: The D.C. Circuit?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes, the D.C. Circuit. They had set up everything. That was
when I was the chairman of the Relations with the District Court Committee. I had been, that
was one of the places where I went down to recommend that they not have the civil cases waiting
five years to get tried. I took two gentlemen with me and we were down there to bell the cat. I
went down to see Judge Pine who was at that time Chief Judge.