LSC Honors the Legacy of E. Clinton Bamberger Jr.

February 16, 2017

E. Clinton Bamberger Jr. will be remembered as a pioneer in providing equal justice to the disadvantaged and as a leader in shaping civil and criminal law. Over the course of his lengthy career, he advanced legal services as an educator, administrator, and advocate.

Mr. Bamberger passed away Sunday in Baltimore at the age of 90. 

Under President Lyndon Johnson, Bamberger served as the first director of the Legal Services Program of the Office of Economic Opportunity, a federal program focused on providing legal aid for low-income people and a precursor to the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). He later served as Executive Vice President of LSC for five years and was instrumental, along with Thomas Ehrlich, the first President of LSC, in getting LSC up and running.

In 1963, he argued the seminal case Brady v. Maryland before the Supreme Court, maintaining that prosecutors’ failure to turn over exculpatory evidence necessitated a new trial for his client. The case led to the creation of the “Brady rule,” which holds that a failure to give evidence to defendants that indicates their innocence is a violation of the 14th Amendment. Today, experts consider the creation of this rule as a one of the most significant developments in criminal law.

“Clinton Bamberger was an exceptional attorney and advocate,” said LSC Board Chair John G. Levi. “He recognized the unique value of legal aid and devoted his extraordinary energy and remarkable talents to leading efforts to enhance and protect equal access to justice for all.”  

Bamberger’s efforts to support the rights of vulnerable people were not limited to the United States. He worked around the globe to advance legal aid systems and clinical legal education, including in South Africa, the Netherlands, Australia, and Nepal. In South Africa, he became especially involved in developing legal aid and in working with South African lawyers to assist Black citizens following the end of apartheid in 1994.

Bamberger had a long and distinguished law career. A Baltimore native, he worked at Piper & Marbury for 17 years following his graduation from Georgetown University Law Center, ultimately becoming a partner. He served as dean of the law school at Catholic University for five years and later was Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

His talents as a scholar and educator were widely recognized. He was named professor of the year by the Society of American Law Teachers, was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Nepal, and served as visiting professor at several foreign universities.

Bamberger’s leadership on behalf of legal services and the law will influence generations of lawyers. We celebrate his legacy as a tireless advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable of citizens.