Fish Raincoats: A Woman Lawyer's Life

Quid Pro Books
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The life and times of a trailblazing feminist in American law. The first female Stanford law professor was also first director of the District of Columbia Public Defender Service, one of the first women to be an Assistant Attorney General of the United States, and the biographer of California’s first woman lawyer, Clara Foltz. Survivor, pioneer, leader, and fervent defender of the powerless and colorful mobsters alike, Barbara Babcock led by example and by the written word—and recounts her part of history in this candid and personal memoir. 

“For woman lawyers, Barbara Babcock has led the way. How? By being smarter and tougher than the men; also, more empathetic and self-aware. Funny, shrewd, and telling, her memoir Fish Raincoats is a joy to read.”
— Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon: A Man Divided 

“An immensely engaging, articulate and detail-rich memoir from a pioneer who helped forge the path for women in the legal profession. Barbara Babcock taught, mentored and inspired generations of law students to look beyond the billable hour; she has chronicled her times—the modern Women’s Movement, the challenges and characters she met along the way—with insight, humility and grace.” 
— Thelton E. Henderson, Senior U.S. District Judge, San Francisco 

“Life will afford you no better sherpa on the extraordinary journey women have taken in the legal profession than Barbara Babcock. From her description of her career in DC courtrooms, to her role in the battle to defeat the Bork nomination, and her pathbreaking biography of another woman ‘first,’ she is the same warm and generous storyteller and narrator who welcomed untold numbers of new students to Stanford Law School and assured us all that we indeed had a place in the life of the law. This should be required reading for anyone who isn’t certain that they have a place at the lawyers table. Babcock’s amazing life has made a space for so many of us. Her story will do the same.”
— Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor, Slate

“‘But men are writing the history!’ Barbara Babcock thought to herself in response to a sexist comment about women in the law years ago. Not anymore. Babcock spins her formidable legal career into insightful stories about how she made her way and made her field her own. The best kind of personal history.”
— Emily Bazelon, author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

Fish Raincoats is a compelling new addition to the Journeys & Memoirs Series from Quid Pro Books; also available in paperback and clothbound editions. Quality digital formatting includes linked notes, active Contents, active URLs in notes, and all the original images (thirteen, most in color) from the print editions.

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About the author

Barbara Babcock, the Judge John Crown Professor of Law, Emerita, at Stanford University, is the first woman appointed to the regular faculty at Stanford Law School. She served as an Assistant Attorney General and was the first Director of the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. She is the author of Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Quid Pro Books
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Published on
Aug 2, 2016
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Pages
242
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ISBN
9781610273619
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Lawyers & Judges
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Law / Gender & the Law
Law / Legal History
True Crime / White Collar Crime
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The life and times of a trailblazing lawyer and judge in American law. Author of the controversial but prescient judicial opinion striking down the ban on gays in the military — two decades before the Supreme Court finally recognized such equal rights — Bill Norris made law and waves on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Yet his legal and civic life before and after, though less well known, is equally the measure of the man.

“Bill Norris tells his American story—growing up in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, then rising to legal, judicial and political heights in post-war California. His zest for life comes off every page as he fights discrimination, renders justice and inspires a host of brilliant attorneys. His prose is crisp and fast-paced. His America: uncommonly decent.” 
— Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown Jr., Governor of California 

“A truly compelling story of an amazing man. Bill Norris’ memoir is a beautifully written account of a man who rose to the top of the legal world and was an integral part of some of the most important issues of the last half century. Most of all, it is an inspiring book that is a powerful reminder of how much one person can accomplish.”
— Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law
University of California, Irvine School of Law 

“Recounted in this remarkable book is a conversation Bill Norris had with Justice White following his opinion for the Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick, upholding Georgia’s sodomy law. Shortly after, Justice White visited the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference and Bill confronted him about the injustice of the decision. I witnessed the interaction. No one else was bold enough to challenge the Justice, though others harbored the same doubts. Justice White shrugged off Bill’s concerns as trivial, but Bill stood firm and I could see from his tone and look that he would have none of it. Soon, Bill set about undermining Bowers with his brilliant opinion in the Perry Watkins case. The theory in Watkins resulted, a decade and a half later, in the overruling of Bowers and, eventually, to marriage equality. This story, among many others, makes this personal history a gripping and fulfilling read.” 
— Alex Kozinski, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 

“Liberal Opinions traces William Norris’ journey from a small Pennsylvania town to influential Los Angeles civic leader and co-founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art to the Ninth Circuit Court bench. With candor and deep reflection, Norris shares the personal stories and principles that helped propel him from humble beginnings to becoming a leading liberal voice for our country.” 
— Eli Broad, philanthropist and founding chairman of MOCA  

“When it comes to MOCA, this is a story at the edge of Hollywood drama and true philanthropy, and civic engagement and true commitment to the art. MOCA’s conception is the living proof that art, contemporary art, risk taking, and commitment to aesthetic experimentations are a key component of civic, courageous urban development. And because we are in Los Angeles, it had to be a good story fueled with drama!” 
— Philippe Vergne, Director, The Museum of Contemporary Art

New in the Journeys & Memoirs Series from Quid Pro Books.

“... It’s the most entertaining book I’ve read this year.”
— Steve Chapman, Columnist and Editorial Writer, The Chicago Tribune

There are no pretentious pronouncements about public policy or dry conclusions from social science in these pages ... because it is a report from what Frank Zimring calls “my second career, and everybody else’s second career, the hard work of becoming an adult in the modern world.” 

Why is a piranha swimming in your pool a better illustration of how people get over-committed than a giant man eating shark? (Consult chapter 3.) What should you say when your eight-year-old asks whether you would save him or his sister if the lifeboat only had room for one? (See chapter 5.) Why are professors who hate to teach at their home campus positively lustful when invited to lecture somewhere else? (Chapter 11 explains.) When you finally succeed in giving up cigarettes, how should you feel about those who still smoke? (See chapter 2.) Why do so many of the people lined up to visit world famous landmarks look so unhappy to be there? (Chapter 20 reveals the secret.) 

“Frank Zimring has gained renown as a penetrating thinker and a tireless scholar, but Memos from Midlife reveals what his friends have always known: He is also a charming and thought-provoking companion with a devilish sense of humor. Addressing a range of unconventional topics, from ‘the arrogance of nostalgia’ to Portnoy’s real complaint, he provides both illumination and fun, as well as guidance on living wisely and well. It’s the most entertaining book I’ve read this year.”
— Steve Chapman  
Columnist and Editorial Writer  
The Chicago Tribune 

A new collection of compelling and humorous essays, in the Journeys & Memoirs Series from Quid Pro Books.

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