Deborah L. Rhode … transformed the field of legal ethics from little more than a crib sheet for passing the bar exam into an empirically rich, morally rigorous investigation into how lawyers should serve the public.

The New York Times

At the Stanford CodeX FutureLaw conference in 2021, on a panel discussion of Deborah Rhode’s work and legacy, one of the panelists related that when she was working for Legal Aid in New Haven, Connecticut, in the 70s, Deborah Rhode created a DIY divorce kit for the impoverished clients her organization was forced to turn away for lack of resources to serve them. Under threat of unauthorized practice of law prosecution from the local bar, the organization was forced to withdraw its kit, and Rhode started on her lifelong mission to reform the professional regulations that keep the access-to-justice gap propped wide open.

She was also an advocate for gender equity, fighting for equal rights in her own workplace—Stanford University—and pointing out inequities where she found them. Rhode was a prolific writer, as well, publishing 30 books and over 200 law review articles.

Deborah Rhode died in January 2021.

Published on April 8th, 2021. Last updated on April 19th, 2021, by Sam Glover.