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Clinton Bamberger Papers

Identifier: NEJL-033

Scope and Contents

The papers of E. Clinton Bamberger Jr. document Bamberger's career as a legal services administrator, educator, and advocate. The collection, to some extent, also documents the history of legal services in the United States from the mid 1960's through the mid 1990's. And while some items such as articles and neighborhood law office handbooks and manuals pre-date the mid-1960's, the collection essentially begins with Bamberger's arrival on the scene as the first Director of the Legal Services Program (LSP) within the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). The collection covers his career as the first director of OEO/LSP, and later as the Executive Vice President of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the entity that evolved out of Legal Services' need for political autonomy. The collection also follows Bamberger's work as an educator at Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America, at the Legal Services Institute in Boston, at the School of Law of the University of Maryland, and also internationally as an educator and advisor of legal services. In 1965 Bamberger became the first Director of the Legal Services Program within the Office of Economic Opportunity. The collection documents OEO's establishment in 1964, as part of the Economic Opportunity Act, and subsequent amendments made to the 1964 Act. Many of the speeches delivered by Bamberger while Director of LSP are included in the collection. The collection documents the political and philosophical attacks on LSP made by members of the political right: Reagan as Governor of California and Nixon as U.S. President, for example. Conservatives disapproved of federally funded suits against the government and favored a program called Judicare as an alternate method of legal services delivery. The collection contains materials related to the California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) case in which Reagan, as Governor of California, attempted to block OEO funds. In addition to these materials, there are materials which document Wisconsin as a test state for Judicare. Judicare was a program that would provide funds to private attorneys who in turn would provide counsel to those in need. This was a departure from the traditional model of having local offices staffed with legal services attorneys, who would dedicate their full efforts to legal services. By the late 1960's, it became apparent that Legal Services required political autonomy. Much discussion and debate occurred as to the fate of OEO/LSP, and by the early 1970's the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) concept was formulated. The Legal Services Corporation would be an autonomous yet federally funded corporation. The hope was that LSC would be free from the political pressure that OEO/LSP had been susceptible to. After several failed attempts (including vetoes by the Nixon Administration) The Legal Services Corporation was chartered in 1974, and it began operations in 1975. The Nixon Administration essentially dismantled OEO. Bamberger became the first Executive Vice President of LSC. LSC carried on much the same work as OEO/LSP. Regarding LSC, the Bamberger papers focus primarily on the Congressionally mandated Delivery Systems Study , the Backup or Support Centers Study, and other studies related to LSC operations and management. In 1979 Bamberger left LSC to become an attorney and educator at the Legal Services Institute (LSI) in Boston. The Institute functioned as a legal services office, while providing real world clinical training to third year law school students from Harvard and Northeastern Universities. This material and the material Bamberger acquired while a professor of law at The Catholic University of America and the University of Maryland, consist(s) mainly of educational and training documents related to the provision of legal services. Also included are materials related to professional ethics and professional responsibility, and materials related to the issue of law school students (via law school clinics) as deliverers of legal services. Internationally, Bamberger acted as an advocate and an advisor on the provision of legal services. The collection contains a wealth of materials related to legal services in several countries, most notably: Australia, Canada, South Africa, Micronesia, and The United Kingdom. Bamberger's subject files contain documents related to specific subjects including: Judicare and group legal services, professional ethics, and access to legal counsel.”


  • ca. 1960-ca. 1990



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Biographical / Historical

E. Clinton Bamberger, Jr. was born in Baltimore, MD on July 2, 1926. He earned a B.S. degree from Loyola College (Baltimore) in 1949, and graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with a J.D. in 1951. After law school, from 1951 to 1952, Bamberger worked as a law clerk to Judges Charles Markell and Edward Delaplaine of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. In 1952, Bamberger became an associate with the Baltimore firm of Piper & Marbury; and between 1958 and 1959 he also served as Assistant Attorney General of Maryland. In 1960, Bamberger became a partner of Piper & Marbury. While at Piper & Marbury, he was involved in insurance litigation and also served as the attorney for death row inmate John L. Brady in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), in which the Supreme Court ruled that withholding exculpatory evidence from the defendant violated the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Bamberger became involved in the case through a friend, a Jesuit priest who served as chaplain in the Maryland penitentiary. In September of 1965, Bamberger became the first Director of the Legal Services Program (LSP) within the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), the first program of the federal government to provide financial support for civil legal services to the poor. While at OEO/LSP Bamberger spent much time delivering speeches, attempting to garner support for the new government program . His stay at LSP was brief, and in mid-1966 Bamberger left LSP to run for State Attorney General of Maryland. That campaign was unsuccessful and Bamberger returned to Piper & Marbury until 1969. (For major accomplishments while at OEO/LSP see 1st annual report of OEO/LSP in OEO/LSP series) In 1969, Bamberger became Dean of the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America. There he taught Civil Procedure and Professional Responsibility. In 1975, Bamberger left The Catholic University of America to become the Executive Vice President of the Legal Services Corporation. Maintaining that he had spent much time as a legal services bureaucrat and advocate, and never as a legal services attorney, Bamberger left the Legal Services Corporation in 1979 to become a staff attorney and clinical instructor at the Legal Services Institute (LSI) in Boston. Controversy and politics surrounding LSI forced Bamberger's departure. In 1982, Bamberger left LSI to become Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Education at the School of Law of the University of Maryland. While at the University of Maryland, he served as the attorney for Denise Sampson in Ronald Fishkind Realty v. Sampson, 306 Md. 269, 286, 508 A.2d 478, 487 (1986). While at the University of Maryland, Bamberger became very involved in international legal aid, especially in South Africa, Australia, Nepal, and the Netherlands, and frequently traveled abroad, lecturing about international legal aid. He retired emeritus from the University of Maryland in 1991. Bamberger married Katharine Kelehar in 1952. They parented two children, Edward and Christine.


11.2 linear feet (13 boxes)

Language of Materials



The papers of E. Clinton Bamberger Jr. document Bamberger's career in legal services. The papers cover the mid-1960's to the mid 1990's. The papers were donated to the National Equal Justice Library (NEJL) during the 1990's. Danna Bell-Russel, Curator of NEJL, created a preliminary box list. Robert Forman, NEJL Archivist, performed final processing. Some rearranging was done in order to place documents into their proper series. The collection includes three major series: 1) Organizations, 3) International Legal Services, and 3) The General Subject File. The series on Organizations contains four sub-series: The Office of Economic Opportunity, The Legal Services Corporation, The Legal Services Institute , and The University of Maryland. The Series on International Legal Services is divided into sub-series by country. The General Subject File contains subject specific materials that were collected by Bamberger throughout his career, they are arranged by subject. No sub-series was created for Bamberger's tenure at The Catholic University of America. Materials he collected while at CUA are placed in the General Subject File sub-series on Ethics and Professional Responsibility; and a few documents are included in the University of Maryland sub-series because of their relevancy to clinical legal education and law school clinics.

Processing Information

The collection consists of several accessions, reprocessing of the collection is currently in progress to accomodate the different accesions.

Finding Aid for the Clinton Bamberger Papers (Coll. 33)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the National Equal Justice Library Repository

Georgetown University Law Library
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