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Martha A. Field attended Radcliffe College and the University of Chicago Law School, from which she graduated in 1968. She also spent her second year of law school at the University of Texas Law School. In the summer of 1967, she clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom in New Orleans, because his law clerks had been drafted. After graduating from the University of Chicago, where she was the valedictorian, she clerked for Justice Abe Fortas at the United States Supreme Court, working on confirmation hearings as well as the Supreme Court's regular work. When Fortas resigned she then spent six weeks with Chief Justice Earl Warren and then six weeks with Chief Justice Burger.
After the Supreme Court, Field joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she remained for 9 years, before coming to Harvard Law.
In a quest for trial experience, Professor Field worked for Arlen Spector as a prosecutor in Philadelphia. She also has argued appellate cases in federal courts of appeal and the United States Supreme Court. She has taught and written about a broad range of subjects including criminal law and procedure, evidence, civil procedure, women's rights, disability rights, reproductive rights, family law, constitutional law, and federal courts. She also has engaged in many international colloquia and projects, for example a five year study of the judicial systems of Central America and proposals for reform.
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