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Patricia McGowan McGowan Wald Edit Profile

Patricia McGowan Wald was American federal judge. Bar: District of Columbia 1952. Named one of 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America, National Law Journal, 2006, 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America, 2007; recipient Lifetime Achievement award, American Lawyer magazine, 2004.


Wald, Patricia McGowan was born on September 16, 1928 in Torrington, Connecticut, United States. Daughter of Joseph F. and Margaret (O'Keefe) McGowan.


Bachelor, Connecticut College, 1948. Bachelor of Laws, Yale University, 1951. HHD (honorary), Mount Vernon Junior College, 1980.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), George Washington Law School, 1983. Doctor of Laws (honorary), City University of New York, 1984. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Notre Dame University, John Jay School Criminal Justice, Mount Holyoke College, 1985.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), Georgetown University, 1987. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Villanova University, Amherst College, New York Law School, 1988. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Colgate University, 1989.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), Hofstra University, 1991. Doctor of Laws (honorary), New England College, 1991. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Vermont Law School, 1995.

Doctor of Laws, Yale University, 2001. Doctor of Laws, Duke University, 2008.


Clerk to Honorary Jerome Frank United States Court Appeals, 1951—1952. Associate Arnold, Fortas & Porter, Washington, 1952—1953. Member District of Columbia Crime Commission, 1964—1965.

Attorney Office of Criminal Justice, 1967—1968, Neighborhood Legal Service, Washington, 1968—1970. Co-director Ford Foundation Project on Drug Abuse, 1970, Center for Law and Social Policy, 1971—1972, Mental Health Law Project, 1972—1977. Assistant attorney general for legislation affairs United States Department Justice, Washington, 1977—1979.

Judge United States Court Appeals (District of Columbia circuit), 1979—1999, chief judge, 1986—1991. Judge International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, The Hague, Netherlands, 1999—2001. Board directors American Constitution Society, since 2002.


Member Commission on Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, 2004—2005. Trustee Ford Foundation, 1972—1977, Phillips Exeter Academy, 1975—1977, Agnes Meyer Foundation, 1976—1977, Connecticut College, 1976—1977. Active Carnegie Council on Children, 1972—1977.

Board directors Mental Disability Rights International, 2002—2008. Member of American Bar Association (American Bar Association Medal 2008), Central and Eastern European Law Institute, American Philosophical Association, Institute Justice Initiative (board directors), American Academy Arts and Sciences, American Law Institute (council member 1979—2009, executive committee 1985-1999, Second vice president 1988-1993, 1st vice president 1993-1998, executive board 1994-1999), Open Society Institute (Justice Initiative since 2002, chair 2002-2004), Phi Beta Kappa.


Married Robert L. Wald, June 22, 1952. Children: Sarah, Douglas, Johanna, Frederica, Thomas.