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    09.16.15 Clara Altman ’07 Named Director of the Federal Judicial History Office
    Clara Altman

    Clara Altman ’07 was appointed Director of the Federal Judicial History Office at the Federal Judicial Center, in Washington, D.C., the research and education agency of the federal courts. In her new role, Altman is tasked with promoting and coordinating programs related to the history of the judicial branch.

    “One of things that’s exciting about this job is that I have the opportunity to rethink what it means to preserve and promote the history of the judicial branch in the digital age, and to think about new ways of engaging people in the history of the federal courts not only through new programs and projects but also by using social media, new technology,  and various resources on the web,” Altman said.

    The Federal Judicial History Office provides resources and data on the history of the federal courts to researchers.  The historians at the Federal Judicial Center also conduct research and write on the history of the federal judiciary and maintain a biographical directory of federal judges. The office also puts on an annual Teachers Institute in partnership with the American Bar Association, which brings secondary school teachers to Washington, D.C. to help them integrate lessons about the history of the federal courts into their curricula.

    At Brooklyn Law School, Altman was an Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellow at the Legal Action Center working on policy and litigation surrounding re-entry for ex-offenders. She was also a member of the Law School’s Safe Harbor clinic. Altman credits her career trajectory in part to one of her mentors during law school, Professor Elizabeth Schneider.

    “Liz encouraged me to explore writing and thinking about the law in different ways,” said Altman. “She was incredibly supportive when I wanted to get a Ph.D. When people ask about my experience at BLS, I always say that the faculty made an enormous impact on me and helped guide my career.”

    After graduating from the Law School, Altman went on to attend Brandeis University where she received her Ph.D. in 2014 in U.S. history and wrote her dissertation on the history of Philippine law under U.S. rule.  Altman was a National Fellow at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, and in 2013 she began teaching in the Department of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College, a position she held until she recently assumed her new position. She is currently working on a book about the courts and legal culture in the Philippines under U.S. rule in the early 20th century.