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The woman responsible for representing some of society’s most infamous criminals is one of the most “badass” lawyers America has to offer, according to Quora users.In response to a recent thread about the issue, user Dan Holliday dubbed Judith Clarke, most recently known for representing former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords’ shooter, “the greatest lawyer you’ve never heard of.”
A hundred other Quora users voted for Clarke, making her one of the most badass lawyers who was nominated.
Clarke has also represented Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Atlanta Olympic Bomber Eric Rudolph, and Susan Smith, a mother accused of drowning her toddlers.
It’s that notorious client list that earned Clarke the moniker of most badass layer.
“She doesn’t fight to ‘get her clients off,’ she accepts their guilt by and large, she merely dedicates herself to preventing her clients from seeing the electric chair,” Holliday wrote on Quora. “She’s so completely hated in some states for her skill and technique, that some states have even passed laws preventing ‘out of state lawyers’ from defending criminals in their state . . . all because of her.”
Holliday was referring to a South Carolina law that banned the appointment of out-of-state attorneys in capital cases, a rule that was passed after Clarke defended Smith, The New York Times reported in 2011.
Clarke, who now teaches at Virginia’s Washington & Lee School of Law, has earned rave reviews from her students and colleagues alike, and has been described as low-key and unassuming.
“She knows how to screen out the noise, and not be distracted by the fact that Barbara Walters is calling and wanting to jump on a plane and … to ‘get to know us,'” W&L professor David Bruck told The Roanoke Times in 2011.
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