October 13, 2006
CrimProf Spotlight: Phyllis Goldfarb
This week the Crimprof Blog spotlights Boston College Law School CrimProf Phyllis Goldfarb.
Phyllis Goldfarb joined the Boston College Law School faculty in 1986, becoming an associate professor with tenure in 1991 and a full professor in 1997. She has directed and administered the Criminal Process clinical program, developing and teaching a curriculum relating to students' criminal practice as they prosecute or defend cases in local criminal courts. She has also taught Criminal Procedure, Gender and Legal Theory, Death Penalty, and Introduction to Lawyering and Professional Responsibility.
Before her arrival at BCLS, Goldfarb taught at Northern Illinois University College of Law where she designed and taught in their first clinical program, the Appellate Defender Clinic. From 1982-1984, she was an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow in Criminal Trial Advocacy and served as a supervising attorney and classroom instructor in the Juvenile Justice Clinic while earning an L.L.M. from Georgetown University. She has also taught courses at Georgetown University Law Center and at the University of Paris X, in Nanterre, France.
Goldfarb's scholarly focus is on the relationship between law practice and legal theory and the lessons this relationship holds for legal education. Although her publications and presentations have addressed divergent topics such as criminal procedure, jurisprudence, feminist theory, domestic violence, and clinical education, she consistently attempts to improve legal and pedagogical methods by addressing the contexts within which legal conflicts arise.
During her tenure as a professor, Goldfarb has represented a number of clients on a pro bono basis, including a Rhode Island woman seeking post-conviction relief from a possibly erroneous first degree murder conviction, a Georgia death row inmate, and one of the Framingham Eight, a group of women incarcerated in Massachusetts for killing their batterers. Aided by a team of BCLS faculty, students and alumni whom she had organized to assist in the Framingham Eight representation, she obtained parole for her client in 1995.
Based on her work with the Framingham Eight, Goldfarb wrote "Describing Without Circumscribing: Questioning the Construction of Gender in the Discourse of Intimate Violence," (George Washington Law Review 582-631, 1996). In it, she examined the unexamined gender assumptions within the dominant rhetoric of domestic violence and suggested ways to improve how people think and talk about it. She has also written "A Theory-Practice Spiral: The Ethics of Feminism and Clinical Education," (75 Minnesota Law Review 1599-1699, July, 1991) and a number of other articles as well
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