Gideon's Promise
A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Musings

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My Bio

As you can tell from the focus of my blog, I am a lawyer.  How I got to be one, and a criminal defense lawyer at that, is subject of this biography.

I was born on June 1, 1963 and spent my youth growing up in Bridgewater, New Jersey.  My father was a lawyer and, is no doubt, the source of my interest in the law which began early in life.  He and my mother were great parents.  And from them, my brother (Robert) and I learned a great deal:  to work hard, to think for ourselves, to help those less fortunate, and to love learning. 

William Porter Westling (my dad) was a 1954 graduate of the Harvard Law School and attended the school at time of giants - Dean Erwin Griswold, Professor Edward "Bull" Warren, and Professor Archibald Cox are among the more familiar names.  He was inspired to attend law school when he read The Mind and Faith of Justice Holmes, by Max Lerner.  He worshiped Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and he loved the law.  He often reminded me of Holmes' quotation that "A man may live greatly in the law."  He did a great deal in his life and practice to prove this to me and was a student and lover of the law until his death in 1990.  And so, the law was all around me from early in my life.

After graduating from high school, I attended The University of the South (Sewanee) in Sewanee, Tenessee.  Sewanee is a truly unique place to study.  It recalls the traditions of Oxford, tips its hat to its deep southern roots, and shrouds both in the legacy of the Episcopal Church.  Yet, at its core, Sewanee is a liberal arts school which prides itself on broadly educating people to read, write and think.  I can only hope that some of this rubbed off on me while I studied there.  From four years at Sewanee where I majored in History (American History) and Political Science (American Public Law), I went on to law school.

I started my legal education at the Tulane Law School in the Fall of 1985.  I quickly found that my interest in a particular subject matter turned less on the practicality of the course than on the inellectual challenge and the quality of the teaching.  The result is that my legal education ignored corporations and negotiable instruments in favor of civil rights litigation, legal history and fourth amendment interpretation.  During my legal education I often ignored my less inspiring courses to spend time in the Tulane Law Library reading the latest law review commentaries on federal jurisdiction, legal thinkers like Rawls, Nozick or Ely and constitutional theory. 


Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2003 Richard Westling.
Last update: 3/2/2003; 9:35:50 PM.
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