Washington Lawyer

Legends in the Law: Brooksley Born

From Washington Lawyer, October 2003

Interview by Sean Groom
Photographs by Howard Ehrenfeld

Brooksley BornBrooksley Born, who joined Arnold & Porter as an associate in 1965, took retired partner status in January of this year.

A graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School, where she was president of the Stanford Law Review, Born clerked for Judge Henry W. Edgerton of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit before joining Arnold & Porter. She began her career doing international trade work and, with Marna Tucker, developed and taught one of the first “Women and the Law” classes in the nation at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law.

Born became active in the American Bar Association (ABA) during the early 1970s, serving on the Individual Rights Section council. In 1977 she was the first woman appointed to the ABA’s Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary, which evaluates potential federal judges. In 1980 she was elevated to chair of the committee. Also during the 1980s she was a founder of the ABA’s women’s caucus.

Between 1996 and 1999 she chaired the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where her efforts to bring greater transparency to the over-the-counter derivatives market were thwarted by Congress.

Where did you grow up?
I was born, grew up, and attended public schools in San Francisco. My parents were both civil servants. My father was the head of the Public Welfare Department for 35 years, and my mother taught high school English and later became a vice principal of one of the high schools.

And you went to Stanford, correct?
Yes, both as an undergraduate and for law school. My parents had both gone there, as had a number of my aunts and uncles.

What were you interested in when you were an undergraduate?
Initially I wanted to be a doctor and started in premed. However, I was discouraged from being a doctor by the counseling service at Stanford. I took some vocational tests during my sophomore year that showed very high interest in being a doctor and very low interest in being a nurse. Because I had little interest in nursing, the psychologist suggested that medicine was not a good field for me because my motivation was obviously financial rather than helping people. For some reason I paid attention to him and became an English literature major.

Did you intend to teach or pursue literature when you graduated?
My primary motivation was to learn how to write well, and English literature was a major where you did a lot of writing and reading. During my senior year I considered whether to go on for a Ph.D. in English or to go to law school and decided in favor of law school.

What was the deciding factor?
Well, my mother had always thought that I would be good lawyer because I was so argumentative as a child and had such a ferocious sense of injustice! She convinced me to take the LSAT. I did well on the test and that encouraged me to go.

When you decided to go to law school, did you have any inclination what you would do with a law degree?
I wanted to practice law and also to do public service. It also seemed to me that it would be a way to open doors for employment.

The summer after my senior year in college the only job I could get was as a GS-2 file clerk in the Social Security Administration. I think I was the lowest GS-ranked person west of the Mississippi, and I only got that job because my father was the friend of the head of the Social Security Administration in San Francisco. In the very limited job market that there was then for young women I had no salable skills because I didn’t have a teaching credential, I couldn’t type, and I wasn’t a nurse.

When you went to law school, how many other women were in your class?
It was the largest entering class of women that Stanford had ever had—10 out of 165—and four of us graduated. It was a very male-dominated law school and a very male-dominated profession. Only 3 percent of the lawyers in the country were women at that time.

What was your experience in that male-dominated atmosphere?
There were some people in my class and on the faculty who didn’t think women belonged in law school.

At the beginning of my first year, one of the men in my class told me I was doing a terrible thing because I had taken the place of a man who had to go to Vietnam and might get killed. That was difficult to deal with. At that time males were drafted if they were unable to get a deferment.

But I became close friends with a number of law students, both male and female, who were very supportive.

Did you feel that the standards you were held to in the classroom were different because you were female?
No. It was a fairly enlightened school, although my property teacher would not call on women in class. In later years, though, I found that he had become quite a feminist and his daughters had become lawyers. The other professors seemed to treat us more or less equally.

Were there many opportunities for summer work while you were in law school?
I was very lucky. The first summer I worked at Neyhart & Grodin, a small firm representing labor unions in San Francisco. Justice Tobriner, who was on the Supreme Court of California, had started it with Judge Lazarus, who was on the federal district court there. I was the only summer associate there and had some wonderful experiences: sitting in on meetings with labor union leaders, doing a broad range of research, and drafting court papers.

The second summer I did not work because I had been elected president of the law review. At the time, if you were president of the law review, you were expected to go to school during the summer semester and work on the law review.

After graduating you spent a year clerking, correct?
Yes, I clerked for Henry W. Edgerton on the D.C. Circuit. I had a wonderful clerkship and very much enjoyed my relationship with Judge Edgerton, who was an ardent feminist and civil libertarian. In fact, he was the only judge on the D.C. Circuit who had hired women law clerks.

At that time the D.C. Circuit was the appellate court for criminal cases in the District of Columbia. We did a lot of work on criminal procedure issues and mental illness as a defense. There were some fascinating issues in administrative agency cases as well.

You must have enjoyed your time in Washington, because after clerking you stayed and joined Arnold & Porter.
After law school I had accepted an offer to be an associate with Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro in San Francisco when I finished my clerkship, but when I came to Washington and saw the fascinating public policy issues that were before the D.C. Circuit, I decided to stay and practice in Washington.

A week after I made that decision a partner at Arnold & Porter called me and said, “We understand that you’ve decided to stay in Washington. Come and talk with us.” I was very flattered by the firm’s interest and accepted a job offer.

I had always had a great interest in Arnold & Porter because in law school I had read cases that the firm had been involved in, and I thought that the firm’s dedication to public service made it very special. The firm had represented people who were persecuted during the McCarthy era and had also handled important criminal procedure cases, including Gideon v. Wainwright.

Also, it was important to me that Arnold & Porter was the only firm in town that I was aware of with a woman partner—Carolyn Agger, head of the tax department.

When you first came to Arnold & Porter in 1965, you said that women were about 3 percent of the profession. Was that mirrored here at the firm?
The firm was a very receptive place for women, and it had more women than was then usual. In addition to Carolyn Agger, there was a woman senior associate working part time because she had three toddlers at home, there was a female Israeli lawyer in the firm’s foreign associate program, and another woman associate started when I did. Plus, in the past the firm had employed almost all the women lawyers I knew. Barbara Babcock, who had preceded me as Judge Edgerton’s clerk, had been a summer associate at the firm, and Pat Wald had been the first woman lawyer at Arnold & Porter.

What type of work did you do when you joined the firm?
When I arrived at the firm, I did international trade work for a number of clients including the government of Switzerland and a number of Swiss industries.

Why that area? Did you have an interest in finance or economics?
I was very interested in international issues and had been the editor of an undergraduate international affairs magazine at Stanford. International trade work was particularly interesting to me because I represented foreign governments and foreign financial institutions, trade associations, and industry groups. In addition to Swiss clients, the firm had British clients, Latin American clients, and Japanese clients. We’ve had a big international practice over the years and frequently my practice has had some international aspect.

Did you have a mentor when you were an associate at Arnold & Porter?
Yes, I had many mentors. Thurman Arnold was an early mentor and taught me a lot about brief writing, at which he was brilliant. Bob Herzstein, a partner heading up the international trade practice, was a wonderful mentor, and within a few years I also developed mentors outside the firm as well.

Clint Bamberger, the first head of Neighborhood Legal Services and dean of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law, was a mentor too. When he joined Catholic University in about 1969, most law schools still had quotas on women’s admissions, limiting them to 3 or 5 percent of the class. He immediately eliminated the quota and quickly had a sizable class of women who were very interested in having a “Women and the Law” course. Clint called Marna Tucker, a dear friend of mine, and me to ask if we would teach “Women and the Law.” We agreed, and discovered that there were no casebooks. At night we went into the Arnold & Porter library and researched the status of women under the law, and it was a revelation.

What were some of the cases that you taught?
Case law that determined that there were no constitutional rights to equality for women other than voting rights through the Nineteenth Amendment. We also taught cases that forbade women to practice law and held that women had to take the domicile of their husbands, so that if a husband lived in another state, then the wife wasn’t a citizen of the state where she lived. Other cases upheld work laws that had been intended to help women by limiting their hours, limiting how much they could lift, and limiting the kinds of professions that they could enter, but in fact were used by employers to discriminate against women in hiring and promotion. In some states the law proscribed a woman from opening a business without her husband’s consent or the court’s consent. This was pretty disturbing. It became utterly clear that discrimination against women was not only a societal norm but was imbedded in the law, and indeed was being enforced by legal mechanisms on a routine basis.

Then we began to have some breakthroughs in the early seventies: Roe v. Wade, of course, and Reed v. Reed, the first case in which the Supreme Court said that the equal protection clause could prevent discrimination against women in state statutes.

How was the course received on campus?
We had a wonderful group of students. Clint Bamberger had tapped an enormous reserve of women who had wanted to go to law school, many of whom were working in the federal government. Some of the students in that first class are people who are still my friends and outstanding lawyers in Washington.

Was there a clinical component to the course?
No, clinical education had not really caught on yet. However, when we talked about the equal rights amendment pending before Congress, the seminar and materials stressed legislative advocacy as well as the impact that the ERA would have on existing case law. When we were teaching about employment discrimination, we focused not merely on Title VII and the executive order that prohibited discrimination, but also on how collective-bargaining contracts could enhance the opportunities for women, so that unions’ negotiations with employers could play a role in securing women’s rights. Each topic in the course focused on a different legal skill: litigation, legislative advocacy, contract negotiation, administrative agency advocacy, and so on.

Brooksley BornAt what point did you become involved in the American Bar Association?
In the early 1970s I became very concerned about the prospects of the ERA, and a number of people that I knew in Washington were lobbyists trying to get the ERA adopted by Congress. There were problems getting the Senate to approve it, and they thought that the ABA’s imprimatur on the ERA would be a significant factor in their lobbying. I had done some research on the ABA’s position on women and found that it had turned down a resolution that would have endorsed the ERA, and that the only other action it had taken on women’s rights was to urge the Senate not to ratify the United Nations’ Convention on Rights of Women.

At the same time, Marna Tucker was working for the ABA heading up the pro bono publico project to encourage the establishment of pro bono work in law firms, and she convinced me and some other friends in town to join the ABA and become active in the Individual Rights Section. Within a year of joining, at the August 1972 annual meeting, the ABA adopted a resolution that, while it didn’t explicitly endorse the ERA as such, said that the ABA endorses the constitutional equality of women. It was used by the lobbyists very effectively and the Senate passed the ERA.

At that same meeting I was elected to the Individual Rights Section council, the governing body of the section. I spent most of the seventies working through the section to get the ABA House of Delegates to endorse various pending congressional legislation to prohibit discrimination and to urge the executive branch to implement the laws when passed: for example, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, that prohibits discrimination in education, and other statutes prohibiting credit discrimination and housing discrimination.

In the ABA we found a cadre of well-established bar leaders from all over the country, many of them active in the Individual Rights Section, who became our mentors. They taught us how to work through the substantial ABA bureaucracy, and helped us to get these policies adopted in an organization that up until then hadn’t adopted many controversial policies. In the process we all inadvertently became ABA politicians and enjoyed it.

I eventually became the chairperson of the Individual Rights Section. While serving as chair of the Individual Rights Section I was appointed as the first women to the ABA’s Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary evaluating potential federal judges. The committee advised the president and the Senate Judiciary Committee on the credentials of nominees.

How long did you serve on that committee?
From September 1977 through August 1983. During my first three years I was the D.C. Circuit member charged with evaluating all D.C. Circuit and District Court appointees. I then chaired the committee during the first three years of the Reagan administration.

The confirmation process has become much more protracted and politically charged in the last decade. When you were on the committee, was ABA approval tantamount to confirmation?
I certainly can’t remember anybody approved by the ABA during those six years who was not confirmed. There were people we didn’t approve who were nominated and some of them were confirmed, but a number were not.

Was it fun to work on that committee?
It was wonderful, and it was probably the most rewarding position I’ve ever had in bar activities. We operated with great secrecy in order to protect the reputation of those candidates considered but not nominated. We could only talk with one another about our work, so we were a very close-knit committee. The committee was very dedicated to maintaining the high quality of the federal bench and was extremely diligent. During the Carter administration an omnibus judgeships bill created 256 new judgeships, and the average committee member spent over 1,000 hours that year on committee work.

President Carter was the first president to emphasize appointing women and minorities to the federal bench; however, the ABA federal judiciary committee standards were not designed for these candidates. The standards assumed an elderly white male candidate who was the head of a litigation department at an establishment firm. For instance, they required a minimum of 15 years of trial litigation work. Virtually no woman in the country fulfilled that requirement in 1977!

The committee came under quite a bit of pressure from Attorney General Griffin Bell and from President Carter to be receptive to these new candidates. In fact, we met with Carter on that very point, and the group decided that we had to revamp our standards. I got to rewrite the standards, and that was perhaps the most gratifying part of my service on the committee. The other members of the committee, all of whom matched the traditional judgeship qualifications, became enormously supportive of the initiative and went to bat by vetting candidates based on standards that would let women and minorities on to the courts.

Later, Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated when I was chair, and I had the great pleasure of testifying before Congress that the ABA committee found the first woman nominee to the Supreme Court to be fully qualified for the position.

When did you found the ABA women’s caucus?
Marna Tucker and I didn’t found the caucus until the mideighties, when women were coming into the profession in considerable numbers and were beginning to get active in the ABA in large numbers.

Prior to that there was some hesitancy on our part to designate a women’s group within the ABA, because we were trying to get women into establishment roles and we didn’t want them to be shunted off to a side group. By the mideighties there were women in leadership roles throughout the ABA including on the board of governors, and it seemed to us that women were well enough integrated into the association that the women’s caucus would be an enhancement to their status rather than a detraction.

Did your involvement in the ABA play an important professional role as well?
As a young lawyer I got to work with and serve under some of the giants of the bar, not only at Arnold & Porter but throughout the country. For example, Chesterfield Smith of Holland & Knight was the ABA president when I joined the association, Bert Jenner of Jenner & Block in Chicago was a chair of the Individual Rights Section when I was on its council, and Jack Sutro of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro was a former chair of the Committee on Federal Judiciary who assisted us when I was on the committee. My activities in the ABA brought me in contact with the very best in the profession throughout the country. I learned enormously from them, and I think it made me a much better lawyer.

When did you become a partner with Arnold & Porter?
I became a partner as of January 1, 1974.

My first day at the firm was the first Monday in October 1965, when Abe Fortas was sworn in at the Supreme Court. I arrived at the office at 9 a.m. and nobody was there, not even the receptionist, although the place was wide open! They were all up at the Supreme Court watching the swearing-in.

I practiced full time for about two years and then took a one-year leave of absence because my then-husband had a Neiman fellowship at Harvard. At Harvard I was a research assistant to Alan Dershowitz, who was writing one of his books on mental illness and the law. I had my first child in Cambridge that year, and when I returned to the firm I worked full time. After a couple of months I decided that I just couldn’t do that and was going to quit, but the firm suggested I work part time.

I worked part time from the fall of 1968 until both of my kids were in school full time. I became a partner while I was still part time, although my arrangement with the firm had originally been that I would not be considered for partner until I was back full time. The firm’s flexibility and support during the years that my children were small made it possible for me to have the wonderful career I have had.

What have been the changes for women lawyers since that time?
Opportunities have opened up wonderfully well. When I began practicing, Arnold & Porter was the only firm in town with a woman partner, and there were a lot of firms in town that had no women associates.

I think most firms are much more sensitive to family issues today. Arnold & Porter did not have maternity leave when I had my second child—I took leave without pay. It hadn’t occurred to the firm that maternity leave was relevant, nor did we have insurance that covered pregnancy-related health issues. But the firm became a leader in accommodating family responsibilities. Its innovations—part-time schedules and backup child care facilities—have now become pretty widespread among large firms, although not as commonplace throughout the profession as they should be. Arnold & Porter is still one of very few firms with a full-service child care center in the office.

Is there a particular event that helped to open up those opportunities?
Yes, part of it was Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Women lawyers who had come along before that, such as Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had a very difficult time finding any jobs at all. I graduated the year the statute was passed, and I felt as though some doors were opened—not all doors obviously, but law firms were fairly quick to realize that they should comply with the law. I also think Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 made an enormous difference because it prohibited discrimination in professional education, and law schools had to abandon their quotas limiting women’s admissions.

How did you develop the derivatives practice here?
Up until the midseventies only domestic agricultural futures had been regulated in the U.S. and that was by the United States Department of Agriculture. However, other futures products were developing—currency futures, metals futures, energy futures, and the very beginnings of financial futures—and they required regulation just like the agricultural products. Congress created the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 1974 with a broad mandate to regulate almost all futures and options. That meant that the United States was regulating international products such as gold, silver, oil, sugar, and coffee, none of which had been regulated before.

There were major markets in those products, not only in the United States but also in London, and the CFTC in its infancy began to regulate some of these international products in ways that had international repercussions. A London futures exchange came to Arnold & Porter and retained us to represent its interests before the CFTC. We needed to teach the new commissioners and staff, largely agricultural economists from USDA, the nature of the international markets and how domestic policy choices could affect worldwide markets. We represented London futures exchanges and their clearinghouse for almost 15 years before the CFTC, the SEC, and Congress, helping to shape U.S. law and foreign law so they were more or less harmonized rather than conflicting with one another. The end result was memoranda of understanding as to how the regulatory powers would be allocated between the two countries. In the meantime, of course, there were a number of other derivatives clients who retained us because of the expertise we had developed before the CFTC.

I went on to spend most of the eighties and nineties litigating very high profile derivatives cases, primarily representing foreign financial institutions and other large institutions that were defendants.

Do you have a favorite case that you handled?
I was very active throughout the eighties in a case arising from the silver market. As a jury eventually decided, the Hunt brothers manipulated the price of silver from about $5 to $50 an ounce and were able to maintain an artificial price for a substantial period of time, causing great damage to traders when the price went up and then again when it collapsed. We represented a large Swiss bank that had customers who were allegedly co-conspirators with the Hunt brothers in that effort. It was a fascinating case involving a great cast of characters: the Hunt brothers, an alleged Lebanese front man for the Saudi royal family, a Brazilian multibillionaire who later was charged with manipulating the Brazilian stock market, and myriad others.

The case presented a number of unique and fascinating legal issues. There were investigations by both houses of Congress, there was an SEC investigation, and there was a CFTC investigation and CFTC proceedings against our client and some others. In addition, there were about 20 federal court cases including a number of class actions. Our client settled all the cases, but the Hunt brothers went to trial in one case and were found liable for price fixing under the Sherman Act—treble damages—and promptly went bankrupt because their exposure would have been three times a billion dollars or more. That was a lot of money, even for the Hunts.

How did you end up as chairperson of the CFTC?
In late 1995 the chair of the CFTC, Mary Schapiro, decided to resign and a friend at the Treasury Department called me and asked if I was interested in the position. I had always wanted to engage in public service and this seemed like a good opportunity to do so.

What were some of the issues the commission dealt with while you were chairperson?
One major issue was the enormous growth of over-the-counter derivatives. OTC derivatives had been legally permitted for the first time in 1993 by a regulatory exemption that Wendy Gramm had adopted as virtually her last act as CFTC chair. This allowed the growth of a business that is now estimated at over a hundred trillion dollars annually in terms of the notional value of contracts worldwide. Alan Greenspan had said that the growth of this market was the most significant development in the financial markets of the 1990s. The market was virtually unregulated and many, many times as big as the trading on the futures exchanges.

The commission had kept some nominal authority over this market, but there were no mechanisms for enforcing the rules. For example, antifraud rules were retained, but no reporting was required. The market was completely opaque. Neither the commission nor any other federal regulator knew what was going on in that market! Also, there had been a number of major problems in the market, including the near collapse of Barings Bank until it was taken over by ING.

Weren’t derivatives also responsible for the collapse of a large hedge fund?
Yes. During the time that I was at the commission, Long-Term Capital Management had to be bailed out by a number of the large OTC derivatives dealers because it had $1.25 trillion worth of derivative contracts at the same time it had less than $4 billion in capital to support them.

I became enormously concerned about OTC derivatives and thought the market was a nightmare waiting to happen. About three months before we knew about Long-Term Capital Management, the commission came out with a concept release in the Federal Register asking for input from the industry and other interested people concerning the need for more oversight of the over-the-counter derivatives market. I was particularly concerned that there was no transparency. No federal regulator knew what kind of position firms like Long-Term Capital Management and Enron had in the derivatives markets. These instruments can be used to reduce economic risk, and they are certainly very valuable and useful economic instruments, but they can also create enormous risks, as they did at Enron and Long-Term Capital Management. Warren Buffett has recently called them financial weapons of mass destruction.

Is this an issue that you had taken with you to the commission, or something that you became aware of as a commissioner?
I became concerned about it once I got to the commission and began to learn about the OTC market. The more I learned, the more I realized we didn’t know. I realized there was a tremendous potential danger to the markets in the United States and to the international economy: Alan Greenspan said one of the reasons the Federal Reserve Board facilitated the bailout of Long-Term Capital Management was that they were afraid it would have profound worldwide economic repercussions.

Nominally and statutorily, OTC derivatives were under the CFTC’s jurisdiction, and the CFTC had exercised its discretion to partly exempt the market, but kept some powers and responsibilities that it had no ability or possibility of exercising or enforcing. Although I was willing to be persuaded otherwise, I felt strongly that while heavy regulation was not required, transparency was needed, and some federal regulator should have information before a disaster occurred rather than only afterwards.

How was the concept release received?
There was a firestorm of criticism from the large OTC derivatives dealers, and they were supported by other financial regulators.

What was the ultimate outcome of the regulatory effort?
It wasn’t a regulatory effort. We were just asking questions! The concept release didn’t propose any rules. Alan Greenspan, Arthur Levitt, and Robert Rubin all said that these questions should not be asked and urged Congress to pass a bill that would forbid the commission from taking any regulatory steps on over-the-counter derivatives. There were no hearings on that bill, but during a congressional conference committee meeting on an appropriations bill, an amendment was added preventing the commission from taking any action on over-the-counter derivatives for six months. This occurred within a month after Long-Term Capital Management’s collapse!

I thought it was very bad policy, but on the other hand it was Congress’s decision to make, and having made that decision Congress relieved the commission of its responsibility, so that Enron, for example, became the Congress’s responsibility, not the commission’s.

Do you feel vindicated?
At the time I thought I was right, or I wouldn’t have continued to press the matter. I felt it was my public duty to let Congress, the administration, and the public know about the potential dangers in the market.

On the other hand, I am very sorry that it turned out I was right, because it has been a disaster for a lot of people who have lost a lot of money. I think there are still other disasters like that waiting to happen until Congress reforms the law and allows some federal oversight of this market.

Did you enjoy your public service?
I loved it. I had a wonderful time, and it was enormously challenging. The financial markets in general and particularly the derivatives market posed important regulatory issues in the late 1990s. Completely apart from the policy issues, the opportunity to administer an organization of six or seven hundred employees was very interesting and challenging.

Was the management challenge a new experience?
Yes. At Arnold & Porter I had served on the policy committee and had chaired the pro bono committee and the associates committee, but a law firm is not a hierarchical, pyramidal organization. It’s really an association of equals. The administration of the firm is dispersed among a lot of people. It was a real education and challenge to be in a position where I had to oversee the senior staff, the budget preparation for Congress, the hiring process of human relations, and the interrelationship between the commissioners.

When you left the CFTC in 1999, did you pick up where you left off at Arnold & Porter?
Yes. Three of my partners had been at the CFTC with me. Geoffrey Aronow led the enforcement division, Daniel Waldman was general counsel, and Susan Lee was chief of staff. When the four of us came back to the firm, we continued working on the firm’s derivatives practice together. We have had a wonderful time working together as a team for many years.

Why did you choose this time to retire?
Practicing law at Arnold & Porter has been an enormously rewarding career, and has provided intellectual challenges and opportunities for personal fulfillment that I never imagined possible when I was in law school 40 years ago. But having been away from the practice and doing public service work, I realized that there could be a life other than the private practice of law, and that the time had come to broaden my activities. I wanted to spend a lot more time on public interest work, which is what I’m doing.

What are your current projects?
I’m still very active in the ABA. I’m the state delegate from the District of Columbia, which means that I’m the head of our delegation to the ABA House of Delegates. I’m also on the nominating committee of the ABA, which effectively decides on the officers and the board.

I am involved in two projects with the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession. One is a child care publication that came out in August about how legal employers can and should provide child care benefits to their employees. Although the Commission on Women has done a great deal to promote flexible work schedules, part-time work, and maternity leave, for some reason it had not previously done anything on child care. Also, we’re in the planning stages of a project to gather oral histories of the senior women judges, lawyers, and legal academicians in the country.

I also have been on the board of the National Women’s Law Center since its beginning 30 years ago. I plan to assist the center in every way I can to continue to expand the opportunities for women and girls.

I serve on the board of advisors of the American Constitution Society, and have been helping to establish its lawyers chapter in Washington.

Have you considered going back into public service?
I really haven’t, although I don’t consider retirement to be the end of my career, and I expect to enjoy many new challenges. I promised myself that for the first six months after retiring, which I took on January 1, 2003, I was not going to commit myself to new things, because I wanted to give myself a chance to decide what I want to do when I grow up. I have now taken on the exciting challenge of chairing the National Women’s Law Center’s board. And I’m an avid birdwatcher and sailor, and it’s nice to be able to spend a little more time with my spouse, my five children, and my grandchildren.