Born in New York City and raised in Long Island, New York, Jerry is a passionate New York Yankees fan – a love he shared with Barbara and discussed avidly on their first date on May 22, 1995. That love for baseball endured and continued when the Washington Nationals came to Washington in 2005. Jerry and Barbara had season tickets beginning in the Nationals’ very first season -- attending over 50 games a year until Barbara became ill. A great moment for Barbara, after she became ill, was catching a foul ball at a Nationals game.
Jerry and Barbara’s paths nearly crossed some 10 years before their first date, when Barbara was clerking for Judge Ralph Winter in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judge Winter was assigned to hear the appellate argument in United States v. City of Yonkers -- a housing and school discrimination case in which Jerry was representing Yonkers. Judge Winter recused himself from the case because of a conflict, so, sadly, Jerry’ and Barbara’s meeting was delayed.
Jerry, an attorney, graduated from Columbia College, Columbia Business School, and George Washington University Law School. After clerking for the former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Jerry has been a partner at several large DC law firms maintaining an active employment law practice, including Drinker Biddle from which he retired in 2017.
After Barbara’s death, Jerry -- with the support of Drinker Biddle -- established the Barbara McDowell High Impact Pro Bono Project dedicated to bringing high impact cases seeking systemic relief in cases related to social justice concerns.
Jerry has also been active in social justice programs at Barbara’s church, Westmoreland United Church of Christ, where he took Barbara’s place on the church’s Community Outreach Board and has established an endowment to support those programs.
Jerry has initiated an endowment at the Legal Aid Society of Washington, D.C., with the support of Barbara’s friends, the Jones Day and Drinker Biddle law firms, and a bequest from Barbara’s estate, to fund the Appellate Advocacy Program that Barbara started. Fundraising for the endowment, which continues, has raised over $500,000. Jerry has been actively working with Legal Aid on some of its appellate briefs. Jerry served on the board of Legal Aid from 2010 to 2018.
The Legal Aid Society on April 29, 2014, awarded posthumously Barbara McDowell its Servant of Justice Award presented by Sally Gordon, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, on April 29, 2014 at Legal Aid’s annual dinner. Jerry accepted the award for Barbara. A video of Jerry's remarks can be found here and a written copy here.
Eight hundred persons attended the dinner, including numerous members of the federal and District of Columbia judiciary and family and friends of Barbara. A copy of the dinner program announcing the award appears here. A press release issued by Drinker Biddle about the Legal Aid Society dinner appears here.
Earlier in his legal career, Jerry worked in the Employment Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Justice Department, where he litigated many pattern and practice employment discrimination cases in Mississippi and Alabama from 1976 to 1980. For his work at the Civil Rights Division, Jerry was awarded a Special Commendation Award from the Attorney General of the United States.
During the 1980s Jerry was a tenured law professor at Wake Forest Law School, where he taught employment discrimination law, labor law, and administrative law. For many years Jerry was an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University Law School where he taught a course in employment discrimination litigation. Jerry is the co-author of a comprehensive textbook on employment discrimination, Defending and Preventing Employment Litigation.
Jerry and Barbara were married on June 25, 2000, in Washington, D.C., at Dumbarton Oaks -- a historic mansion in Georgetown -- after a five-year courtship. Some 200 persons attended the wedding.
For his pro bono activities in connection with Barbara McDowell High Impact Project, Jerry was recognized as a “Champion of Justice” by The National Law Journal. The award ceremony on September 30, 2010, honored Jerry, as well nine other Washington, D.C., attorneys, for their public service. The announcement in the National Law Journal read as follows:
JERRY HARTMAN, Drinker Biddle & Reath. Barbara McDowell, a leading appellate lawyer in Washington and head of the appellate project at the Legal Aid Society, died of brain cancer in January 2009. Her illness and death cut off a bright future; she'd been talked about as a possible solicitor general in a Democratic administration. The only way Hartman could carry on, he says, was to continue her good works. "I took over that job," he said. So he asked his firm to launch a pro bono initiative that would pursue litigation to deal with systemic problems and benefit more than just one plaintiff. Drinker Biddle responded eagerly, and more than 60 lawyers have volunteered time to the Barbara McDowell initiative, in addition to the firm's other pro bono work. Projects so far include a Mississippi lawsuit challenging inadequate post-conviction legal help for death row inmates…. Hartman runs the initiative on top of his regular labor and employment practice. He has also established a foundation in her name to fund other legal projects as well. "I am pursuing as many avenues as possible to continue Barbara's work," Hartman said. "I'm only doing what Barbara would have done." — Tony Mauro
In his spare time, Jerry plays tennis, cycles, and swims.