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Making Waves and Riding the Currents by Charles Halpern

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81

4CREATIVITY IN THE COURTROOM

WE BEGAN on a sweaty August day in 1969, in a row house on Swann Street, a street well-known for its high crime rate. Geoff Cowan had rented the house from friends of his who were in Paris on assignment for the Washington Post. “I have the whole house to myself,” he said, “and I only need one bedroom.”

Oddly, I worried about legalism, not about crime. “We are running an office in a place zoned for residential use. That’s a hell of a way to start a new public interest law firm.”

“You think too much like a lawyer. No one gives a damn about the zoning,” Geoff said. “The District of Columbia government doesn’t have it together to arrest the heroin dealers selling on the corner of our block in the middle of the afternoon. ...

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