Maryland Carey Law and the legal community were saddened to hear of the loss of our colleague Clinton Bamberger, professor emeritus of law, who passed away on Sunday, February 12, 2017.
Bamberger, a faculty member since 1982, was instrumental in the early years of the law school’s Clinical Law Program. He was a pioneer in educating future lawyers through hands-on experiential learning, particularly by doing so for people and programs who lack access to legal services.
“For many in our community, Clinton was a mentor, friend, and colleague, who was passionate about our students and about clinical education,” says Maryland Carey Law Dean Donald B. Tobin. “Our clinical law program would not be what it is today without his hard work.”
After earning his law degree from Georgetown University in 1951, Bamberger worked in public and private practice, including at the Baltimore firm Piper & Marbury, where he served as partner. Among his most notable cases was Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), which Bamberger argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and is commonly referred to as the “Brady disclosure,” requiring the prosecution to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense.
"This was a watershed opinion that has been of extraordinary importance," said Professor Mike Millemann in a Baltimore Sun obituary. "It balanced the playing field so that fewer innocent people were convicted. It is used as a tool for fairness every day in criminal trials across the country."
"He was an extraordinarily important leader nationally in the development of legal aid for the poor," Millemann added.
In 1965, Bamberger became the first director of the federal program to provide legal assistance for poor people—the Legal Services Program of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). He would later become the executive vice president of the national Legal Services Corporation, the successor to the OEO program.
“The 60’s were a kind of turbulent time in college. A lot of young people were very interested in being involved in something that would improve society, and many of them decided to go to law school for that reason,” said Bamberger during a 2014 interview marking the 40th anniversary of Maryland Carey Law’s Clinical Law Program.
At Piper & Marbury, Bamberger was involved with the Reginald Heber Smith Community Fellowship that funded talented young lawyers looking to work in legal aid programs. “We wanted to bring new life, new ideas, new spirit to legal aid offices.” When those Fellows finished their work at the legal aid offices, Bamberger recalled, many went looking for teaching jobs but also wanted to continue their work in providing legal services to the poor, resulting in the onset of clinical legal education.
Professor Bamberger’s academic career included serving as the dean of the law school at the Catholic University of America from 1969 to 1975, where he set up one of the first clinical law offices in the country. He was also faculty and staff attorney for the Legal Services Institute, a teaching clinic for the law schools of Northeastern and Harvard Universities; named professor of the year by the Society of American Law Teachers; a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Nepal; as well as scholar or visiting professor in The Netherlands, Australia, and in South Africa. In the summer of 2006, Professor Bamberger returned to Maryland Carey Law to teach the General Practice Clinic.
At the time of this article, memorial details are still incomplete. Bamberger donated his body to the Maryland Anatomy board and a memorial fund in his name has been established at Viva House, 26 S. Mount St., Baltimore, 21223.
Colleagues and students of Bamberger's are encouraged to submit tributes below: