Barbara McDowell Celebration Event Featured in Newsletter Published by

The Barbara McDowell Foundation’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration Event was featured in’s online newsletter. The article is as follows:

Ten years after she died of brain cancer in 2009, Barbara McDowell’s legacy resounds within the Supreme Court community.

Her friends and admirers gathered at Drinker Biddle & Reath‘s Washington office April 23 to mark the tenth anniversary of her death, celebrate her life and support the Drinker Biddle Barbara McDowell High Impact Pro Bono Initiative led by her husband Jerry Hartman, now a retired partner at the firm.

From 1994 to 2004 as an assistant to the solicitor general, McDowell (pictured above, from 2004) argued 18 cases before the high court—a large number then and now, especially among female advocates.

Judge Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, who worked with her at the SG’s office, said in remarks at the celebration that when McDowell left the office, “She could have had just about any job she wanted and just about any salary she wanted.” Instead of heading to BigLaw, McDowell became the first director of the Appellate Advocacy Program at the Legal Aid Society of Washington, D.C.

Among the veterans of the solicitor general’s office in attendance, besides Millett, were Jeffrey Minear, counselor to Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., Jeffrey Lamkenof MoloLamken, Douglas Hallward-Driemeier of Ropes & Gray, and Matthew Roberts, now special counsel to the Sentencing Commission.

Roberts, who clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she was on the D.C. Circuit, conveyed the justice’s memories of McDowell:

“Whether arguing a complex case before the Supreme Court, entertaining a Shakespeare Theater audience at a moot court, or leading the appellate advocacy endeavors of the Legal Aid Society, Barbara McDowell was an advocate to appreciate and applaud. It is fitting that a foundation has been established in her memory. I join legions in celebration of the foundation’s 10th anniversary. May it continue to thrive in its efforts to aid those most in need of caring advocates committed to promoting justice that is equal and accessible to all.”

Roberts and Millett both recalled one of McDowell’s best-known Supreme Court arguments in the 1999 case Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians. She immersed herself in the case by visiting the tribe, and famously smoked a peace pipe with her clients shortly before she argued and won the case.

(June 2019)