Posts Tagged ‘attorneys’

Louis L. Redding, civil rights pioneer

September 8th, 2011 No comments
louis redding and thurgood marshall

Louis Redding confers with Thurgood Marshall

Louis L. Redding was the first, and for twenty six years the only, African-American attorney in the state of Delaware. Born in 1901, Redding grew up in Wilmington and attended Howard High School, at that time the only high school in the state of Delaware open to black students. He graduated from Brown University and Harvard Law School.

In 1929 Redding passed the Delaware Bar Exam. His most difficult challenge had been finding a preceptorship, or clerkship, at that time a requirement for Delaware bar admission. No white attorney would offer Redding a clerkship, until Judge Daniel O. Hastings reluctantly agreed to serve as Reddings preceptor. Hastings encouraged Redding to never enter his office, so Redding did his studying at home or in the library.

Redding started a general practice in Wilmington, taking on criminal and family cases, but he also practiced in all three counties in Delaware. He was legal counsel for the Wilmington NAACP. Some of the many civil rights cases he handled were Parker v. Univ. of Delaware, 31 Del. Ch. 381, 75 A.2d 225 (Del. Ch. 1950) (which integrated the University of Delaware), Gebhart v. Belton, 33 Del. Ch. 144, 87 A.2d 862 (Del. Ch. 1952), aff’d, 91 A.2d 137 (Del. 1952) (which eventually became part of Brown v. Board of Education, integrating the public schools) and Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, 365 U.S. 715 (1961) (ending segregation in publicly owned properties).

Louis L. Redding died in 1998. His many contributions were eventually acknowledged by the state of Delaware. The University of Delaware established the Louis L. Redding Chair for the Study of Law and Public Policy and the City/County building in Wilmington was named after him. There is also a Louis L. Redding Middle School.

For more information on Louis L. Redding see:

Woolard-Provine, Annette. Integrating Delaware: The Reddings of Wilmington. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2003. F174.W79 N4 2003

Williams, Leonard L., Louis L. Redding 16 Del. Law. 10 (1998-1999)

Delaware Trial Practice Forum launches blog

August 11th, 2011 No comments

The Delaware Trial Practice Forum has just started a new blog providing advice and news to Delaware lawyers. They are also looking for volunteers to write for the blog so here’s your chance to write and share information with other attorneys.

Originally created in 1988 by Judge Vincent A. Bifferato, the Delaware Trial Practice Forum describe its goals as “… to provide free continuing legal education (CLE) credits to those who are just starting out and to offer those young attorneys a chance to become acquainted with each other as well as with more experienced attorneys.” They have traditionally offered a series of free seminars for young attorneys.

First Women Admitted to Delaware Bar in 1923

April 28th, 2011 No comments

Delaware was the last state to admit women to the Bar (except possibly Alaska, but that depends on which source you check). Not until 1923, when the state constitution was amended to permit women to be “officials of the state” could women become lawyers. Sybil Ursula Ward and Evangelyn Barsky were both admitted to the state bar in that year.

Sybil Ursula Ward was  from a family of prominent Delaware lawyers. Once admitted to the bar she worked for her family’s law firm Ward & Gray, which is today Potter Anderson & Corroon. She was also the first woman elected to the Wilmington City Council.

Evangelyn Barsky was the daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Her father was a successful merchant. She practiced law with her brother Victor and in 1935 became assistant city solicitor in Wilmington. She was also active in the Republican Party. Unfortunately she was killed in an automobile accident in 1936.


Jacqueline Paradee Mette. “Women in the Delaware Bar” in The Delaware Bar in the Twentieth Century. The Delaware State Bar Association. 1994

Jewish Women in America: An American Historical Encyclopedia. Routledge. 1998

Jewish Women’s Archive, Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia.