Clarke, who began teaching at the School of Law in 2006, has represented defendants in some of the most high-profile criminal cases in the last fifteen years, including Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman who drowned her two young sons; the "Olympic Park" bomber, Eric Rudolph; and the "Unabomber," Ted Kaczynski.
Clarke splits her time between Lexington and a private practice based in San Diego. At W&L she teaches a criminal practice simulation course in the School's new third-year curriculum. During the class, students, working in teams of two, play the role of either the prosecutor or the defense attorney, on cases involving a "whodunit" murder, an immigrant smuggling that results in death, or a crack cocaine conspiracy. Clarke has also taught a traditional course in Criminal Procedure.
During her career, Clarke has served as director of the San Diego and Spokane federal public defender offices. She is also former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Law School Interim Dean Mark Grunewald said of Clarke, "I am not at all surprised that Judy has been appointed in this case. She is a deeply experienced criminal defense lawyer who is committed to the values of our criminal justice system. Judy is also a superb teacher and mentor for W&L law students."
In an article that ran last spring in the W&L Law alumni magazine, Clarke, discussing the work of criminal defense lawyers, commented, "We stand between the power of the state and the individual. None of us, including those accused of crime, wants to be defined by the worst moment, or worst day, of our lives."
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