A Metro section article published Dec. 27 about U.S. District Judge June L. Green should have said that Green's alma mater, the Washington College of Law, is now affiliated with American University.
For one of the pioneer woman lawyers in the District of Columbia, U.S. District Judge June L. Green has a decidedly unfeminist explanation for how her career was launched.
"My husband inveigled me into it," she said.
It was 1940 and the newly married Green was helping her husband study his law books. "He finally said, 'You're more interested in it than I am,' " she said with a smile.
She nervously signed up at the old Washington College of Law with the idea that she would stay one year. "And I loved it. It never occurred to me to stop."
Forty-three years later, the idea of stopping is still out of order. But slowing down is more appealing. After 16 years on the federal bench, Green, 70, took semiretired, senior status earlier this year. She will continue to serve with full pay but with a lightened caseload.
Earlier this month, Green was honored by the District of Columbia Bar Association as the fourth woman in the nation -- the second in the District -- to be appointed a federal district judge.
She was selected by President Johnson in 1968.
A gray-haired woman with piercing blue eyes and a dignified courtroom manner, Green commutes daily from her home overlooking the Severn River near Annapolis. She and her husband will take up wintertime residence in a condominium in Southwest Washington.
Even now, assuming a lighter caseload hasn't been as easy as she would like. The nomination of her prospective successor, CIA general counsel Stanley Sporkin, stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee last fall. President Reagan is expected to rename Sporkin next month.
Meanwhile, Green remains in full harness as one of the 14 active district judges here. She was assigned 18 new cases last month. She also continues to ride herd on such drawn-out litigation as one of the original asbestos cases and major prisoner lawsuits involving conditions at Lorton, the city's prison complex in suburban Fairfax County.
In recent years, she oversaw lengthy Freedom of Information lawsuits involving government files on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., convicted spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
All of which was a long road to travel since June Lazenby Green showed up for her first days in a local law school founded by women, for women, at a time when the law was dominated by men.
One of the Washington College of Law's founders had studied law at Howard University Law School because, Green said, "It did not discriminate." The founder read law in her husband's law offices.
Green was one of the last to attend the law school -- precursor of the George Washington University law school -- without first earning an undergraduate degree.
She started out as an insurance claims adjuster, and later a claims lawyer, for the Lumberman's Mutual Casualty Co. in Washington. That threw her into the practice of law without much time to think about whether she detected bias against women in the profession.
It was wartime, three of the lawyers in the company office had been drafted, and only Green and her boss were left. "He was in the office," she said, "and I was out trying cases."
"She was one of very, very few women litigators at the time," said U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green, a colleague and friend.
A Baltimore native, she practiced largely in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, ranging as far as Leonardtown and Annapolis, sometimes trying two cases a day.
During one trial on the Eastern Shore, she recalls, her femininity caused a stir. "People came in off the street to see me. I was like a two-headed calf."
In 1947, Green left for private practice -- on her own. "I might say the local bar didn't clamor for me," she said. She rented office space in the District and worked mainly by herself, although she shared space at one point with Joyce Hens Green.
In 1967, June Green's husband John retired from the government and joined in the law practice. The next year, Lyndon Johnson nominated her for the bench and, she said, "I left him running the office."
Of the women who have followed her into the law, Green said, "They're doing so well. They look splendid, they're well-prepared. I've seen women come a long way. I regret to say that they tell me antifemale bias isn't gone for good."
"Women now have a view of the 1950s and early 1960s as antideluvian, pre-Columbian," said U.S. appeals court Judge Patricia M. Wald. "It was, numberswise, and we all took knocks. But I never felt, 'My God, I'm never going to make it.' "
Still, "in terms of a woman with dignity, grace and wide interests, particularly in the bar," said Wald, Green deserves the role-model label.
Green's pet peeve after 40-plus years in the legal profession isn't discrimination, but what she sees as the decline of civility among lawyers. "They conduct themselves in such a disagreeable fashion. They fight over such minor things. And it's not just on behalf of their clients -- it's so personal."
She has considered, but so far has not put into action, imposing financial sanctions on needlesly quarrelsome lawyers.
"In my day, I could pick up the phone, call the opposing lawyer, and say 'Bill, or Jim' -- it wasn't Jane in those days, unfortunately -- "and settle procedural matters on friendly terms.
When invited to speak at judicial or law school functions, she said, she has sometimes used the occasion to "say a few words" on the value of decent lawyer-to-lawyer relations.
But speaking for herself, looking back over four decades in the law, she said, "I thoroughly enjoyed my colleagues in the bar."