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Series II. Early Legal Career, 1950s-1970s

Scope and Content Notes:

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Law ('57), Thornburgh began his law career as staff counsel at the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA). In 1959, he joined Kirkpatrick, Pomeroy, Lockhart and Johnson (K & L) as the nineteenth lawyer of the firm and has remained associated with the firm intermittently ongoing, when not holding a public service position.

Thornburgh was elected to the Junior Bar Association of the Pennsylvania Bar Association in 1960 and became chairman in 1963. Throughout his association with this organization, Thornburgh worked to modernize the Pennsylvania judicial system. The conference for this purpose, held in January of 1964, "marked the beginning of a lifelong commitment to judicial reform and introduced [Thornburgh] to many leaders who shared this concern" ( Evidence, p. 17).

In 1962, Thornburgh was elected Secretary of the Junior Bar Section of the Allegheny County Bar Association and served on the Public Service Committee and chaired the Public Defender Committee from 1966-1969.

Thornburgh's paper on the 1963 case of Gideon v. Wainwright, "Indigents in the Pennsylvania Criminal Courts: The Impact of Gideon v. Wainwright," "led naturally to a concern for meeting the legal needs of poor people in civil matters" ( Evidence, p. 18). Thornburgh was a member of the Neighborhood Legal Services Association of Pittsburgh and served as one of its original board members, resigning in 1969 when appointed U.S. Attorney.

"Early Legal Career" files are organized in six sections: "Legal and Personal Calendars"; "Law Work"; "Pennsylvania Junior Bar Association"; "Allegheny Bar Association"; "Neighborhood Legal Services"; and "Legal Reports on Courts." The files consist generally of correspondence, memoranda, case materials, event information, articles, news releases and reports. Researchers should note that the time frame here in "Early Law Career" coincides with or overlaps the following sections on "Civic Activity," and "Politics" which have some related correspondence and files. Of particular interest, too, are the scrapbooks kept by Ginny Thornburgh that document Thornburgh's rising career during these early years with the resultant newspaper clippings and articles (Section 21). All speeches and news releases are available here online.

Subseries 1. Personal and Legal Calendars, 1959-1969

Scope and Content Notes:

These early calendars kept by Thornburgh are complete and arranged chronologically by year.

Box 8
Folder 1 1959
Folder 2 1960
Folder 3 1961
Folder 4 1962
Folder 5 1963
Folder 6 1964
Folder 7 1965
Folder 8 1966

Box 9
Folder 1 1967
Folder 2 1968
Folder 3 1969

Subseries 2. Practice of Law, 1959-1969

Scope and Content Notes:

Although Thornburgh's first job following law school was with ALCOA (in 1958), he joined Kirkpatrick and Lockhart (K & L) in 1959 and has continued his association with them until the present day. This section deals only with his papers from 1959 until he became U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania in 1969. Please note that ongoing K & L files fall in their various later time periods, the next being concurrent with his year at Harvard's Institute of Politics (1987-1988).

Section: Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA), 1958

Folder 4 Work Completed Journal 1958

Section: Kirkpatrick, Pomeroy, Lockhart, and Johnson (K&L), 1959-ongoing

Folder 5 Professional Address Books Undated
Folder 6 Memoranda of Law 1959
Folder 7 Memoranda of Law 1960
Folder 8 Memoranda of Law 1961-1962
Folder 9 Memoranda of Law 1963-1965
Folder 10 Correspondence 1958-1964
Folder 11 Correspondence 1965-1969

Box 10
Folder 1-11 Thornburgh's Daily Letter Files 1959-1968

Box 11
Folder 1-2 Thornburgh's Daily Letter Files 1968-1969
Folder 3 Memos and Notes from Meeting with George D. Lockhart January, 1965
Folder 4 Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Western District: Alloy Manufacturing Company Employees Trust, Appeal of William D. Minnotte, Record, Supplemental Record, and Brief for Pittsburgh National Bank, Appellee 1963
Folder 5 Nate Smith Case 1968
Folder 6 K&L Memorabilia Undated
Folder 7 "Remedies," by Richard L. Thornburgh and Edward Al Craig, III and "Equity," by Maurice B. Cohill, Jr. and Richard L. Thornburgh (from the University of Pittsburgh Law Review, annotated) 1959-1963
Folder 8 "Taxability of Lump Sum Distributions from Qualified Employee Benefit Plans Made Indigent to a Corporate Reorganization," by Richard L. Thornburgh 1965

Subseries 3. Junior Bar Section of the Pennsylvani Bar Association, 1960-1964

Scope and Content Notes:

While working at Kirkpatrick and Lockhart, Thornburgh was a member of the Pennsylvania Junior Bar Conference (1960-1964) and was named Junior Bar Chairman in 1963. Files are organized into Conference Materials and Committee Work. Thornburgh also participated in organizing "A Citizen's Conference on Modernization of the Pennsylvania Judicial System" (Philadelphia, January 1964) and participated in the Volunteer Defenders Committee. His article regarding the treatment of indigents in courts is available here online.

Section: Conference Material

Folder 9-11 Pennsylvania Junior Bar Conference: Programs and Correspondence 1960-1962
Folder 12 Correspondence and Articles regarding Thornburgh being named Junior Bar Chairman 1963
Folder 13-14 Pennsylvania Junior Bar Conference: "Reporter" and Correspondence January, 1963-March, 1964
Folder 15 Report of the Junior Bar Conference to the President and Members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, PA Bar Association Quarterly January, 1964
Folder 16 "Citizen's Conference on Modernization of the Pennsylvania Judicial System," Philadelphia January 9-11, 1964
Folder 17 Pennsylvania Bar Association 68th Annual Meeting Material, Philadelphia, PA January 22-25, 1964
Folder 18 Pennsylvania Junior Bar Conference: Correspondence 1965-1966
Folder 19 "Courts and Administrative Offices Handbook," by Thornburgh and Samuels, editors 1965

Section: Committee Work

Folder 20 Program Committee Correspondence March-September, 1963

Box 12
Folder 1 Volunteers Defenders Committee Correspondence 1963
Folder 2 Volunteer Defenders Committee Report November 15, 1963
Folder 3 "Indigents in the Pennsylvania Criminal Courts: The Impact of Gideon v. Wainwright," by Richard L. Thornburgh of the Allegheny County Bar, Immediate Past Chairman of the Pennsylvania Junior Bar Conference 1964
Folder 4 Reviewed Copies of "Indigents in Pennsylvania Criminal Courts: The Impact of Gideon v. Wainwright," by Richard L. Thornburgh 1964
Folder 5 Research on Defense of Indigents undated
Folder 6 Newspaper Clippings on Defense of Indigents 1963-1965
Folder 7 Outside Reports on Indigents in the American Courts (annotated) 1964

Subseries 4. Allegheny County Bar Association, 1960-1969

Scope and Content Notes:

Thornburgh was a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association. He was Secretary of the Junior Bar Section and participated in the Public Defender Committee, and the Indigent and Public Service Committees. Materials here relate to events and appearances, information on the Allegheny Bar Association, Public Defender Committee, and the Public Service Committee. A speech and news release are available here online.

Section: Events and Appearances

Folder 8 "Law Day--Rule of Right, Not Might," St. George High School, Pittsburgh, PA May 1, 1963
Folder 9 "Legal Line," WJAS Radio, Pittsburgh, PA April 8, 1962
Folder 10 "Your 60 Second Counsel," KDKA Radio, Pittsburgh, PA April 26, 1962
Folder 11 Peabody High School Career Conference on Law, Pittsburgh, PA May 18, 1966
Folder 12 "Faith and Freedom," WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, PA June 2, 1966

Section: Allegheny County Bar Association: History and Correspondence

Folder 13 "History of Allegheny Bar Association," by Joseph A. Katarincic from the Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine December, 1960
Folder 14 "Junior Bar Section, Allegheny County Bar Association," by Jack W. Plowman, Chairman 1961
Folder 15 Correspondence regarding Thornburgh's Election as Secretary of Junior Bar Section of Allegheny County Bar Association February, 1962

Section: Public Defender Committee, 1964-1965

Folder 16 Public Defender Committee Correspondence 1964-1965
Folder 17 Public Defender Committee Minutes July, 1964-June, 1965
Folder 18 Public Defender Committee Notes, Drafts, and Acts 1964-1965
Folder 19 Thornburgh's Memorandum Regarding Counsel for Indigent Criminal Defendants--Activities of the Allegheny County Bar Association February 8, 1965
Folder 20 Indigents Committee Meeting Minutes May-June, 1966
Folder 21 Information regarding the "Criminal Justice Act of 1965" 1965

Section: Public Service Committee, 1964-1969

Folder 22 Handbook and Functions (annotated) Undated
Folder 23 Thornburgh, Chairman of the Allegheny County Bar Association's Public Service Committee, criticized First Assistant District Attorney Dunn for his denunciation of tax-supported legal aid agencies October 16, 1968
Folder 24 Correspondence 1965-1969
Folder 25 Precinct Observer Program June-August, 1969
Folder 26 Minutes 1966-1968
Folder 27 "Administration of Justice during Civil Disorders in Pittsburgh," A report by Public Service Committee May, 1968
Folder 28 Department of Health, Education and Welfare Legal Services Program 1968-1969
Folder 29 "Minority Loan Entrepreneur Program" 1968-1969
Folder 30 Thornburgh's Notes and Reports from Public Service Committee 1968
Folder 31 Notes and Correspondence regarding "Proposal for Expansion of the Public Defender's Office" 1967
Folder 32 Correspondence and Memorandum regarding Bail Bond Situation in Pittsburgh 1965-1966
Folder 33 Reports and Issues regarding Public Service Committee 1964-1966

Subseries 5. Neighborhood Legal Services Association, 1965-1969

Scope and Content Notes:

Thornburgh was a member of the Neighborhood Legal Services Association of Pittsburgh and served as one of its original board members. This organization "was designed simply to level the playing field in everyday disputes between those with competent legal advice, generally the powerful, and those without, generally the powerless" ( Evidence, p. 18).

Folder 34 Research on Neighborhood Legal Programs 1965-1966
Folder 35 By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation 1965-1967
Folder 36 Board of Directors 1966-1968

Box 13
Folder 1 Budgetary Matters and Statistics 1967-1968
Folder 2 Reports of the Director of the Neighborhood Legal Services Association 1967-1969
Folder 3 Neighborhood Legal Services Association Correspondence December, 1966-August, 1968
Folder 4 Neighborhood Legal Services Association Correspondence September, 1968-November, 1969
Folder 5 Summary of Results of Questionnaire Forwarded to Attorneys of Neighborhood Legal Services Association Fall, 1967
Folder 6 Reports and Resolutions 1967-1968
Folder 7 Newspaper Clippings and Articles regarding Reports and Resolutions 1966-1969

Subseries 6. Reports on Judicial Reform in Pennsylvania, 1961-1974

Scope and Content Notes:

Material here consists of reports on the legal system and courts in Pennsylvania, with annotations by Thornburgh.

Folder 8 "Dispatch and Display: A Field Study of Judicial Administration in Pennsylvania," by A. Leo Levin and Edward Al Wooley (annotated) 1961
Folder 9 "Minor Courts in Pennsylvania: A Study of the Justices of the Peace and Aldermen," Conducted by the Committee on Minor Judiciary of the PA Bar Association and the Institute of Public Administration, Pennsylvania State University 1962
Folder 10 "Toward Judicial Reform in Pennsylvania: A Study in Court Reorganization," by Sidney Schulman 1962
Folder 11 Improving Pennsylvania's Criminal Justice System Through Upgraded Standards and Goals," by the PA Joint Council on the Criminal Justice System 1974
Folder 12 "The Criminal Justice Standards and Goals of the National Advisory Commission Digested from a National Strategy to Reduce Crime," by the Pennsylvania Committee for Criminal Justice Standards and Goals undated