September 01, 2013

In Memoriam: Joseph A. Woods Jr., 1925–2013

VOE readers may know Joseph A. Woods Jr. as an inveterate writer of travel columns. For many years, his VOE columns reflected a love of learning about other countries, careful historical research, wry and gentle humor, and literary sensibility. He was known to the ABA staff for his kindness and respectful manner. We are sorry to report that Mr. Woods passed away on July 15.

A native of Decatur, Alabama, Mr. Woods served as a naval officer in the Pacific during World War II. He began practicing law in 1949 and, in the early 1990s, he retired as a partner of Donahue Gallagher Woods, where he remained of counsel.

In 1974, he took four months off from his work at the firm to serve as senior associate special counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary during its inquiry into the possible impeachment of President Richard Nixon. The work of his section produced a report defining for the first time in modern history the nature of an “impeachable offense” that could remove a sitting president from office. Mr. Woods’s duties included hiring newly minted attorneys to assist the Committee; one of these was Hillary Rodham Clinton.

From 1995 to his death, he served on the Board of Directors of the American Bar Foundation, the ABA-affiliated organization dedicated to the empirical study of law, legal institutions, and legal process in society. His family members suggest honoring his memory with a gift to the American Bar Foundation, 750 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611.