Jerome Carlin

Tuesday January 21, 2014 - 09:50:00 PM

Jerome Carlin, a vibrant force in art, law and social justice in the Bay Area, died on January 7 at his home in Berkeley. Born in Chicago in 1927, he attended the Francis W. Parker School from kindergarten through 12th grade. Its liberal, progressive values had a great influence on him and it was there he formed many lifetime friends. He was graduated from Harvard University where he majored in Social Relations and was the student chairman of the Henry Wallace for President Campaign. He received his Master's and then Ph. D. degrees in Sociology at the University of Chicago. He also received his LL.B from Yale Law School. He wrote two books about the legal profession, LAWYERS ON THEIR OWN, a study of individual practitioners in Chicago, and LAWYERS' ETHICS, a survey of the New York City Bar, while at Columbia University's Bureau of Applied Social Research. Both are considered seminal works in their field. He was a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a grant from The Social Science Research Council.

In 1964 he moved to Berkeley to teach and do research at The Center for the Study of Law and Society. In 1966 he left the University when his proposal to provide, for the first time, major city-wide free legal services to those who could not afford them was accepted by the Johnson Administration and he was chosen to be its director. This was the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, providing storefront law offices in five low-income neighborhoods throughout the city.

In 1970, as the money from Lyndon Johnson's poverty program was drying up, and his activities became more and more administrative, he decided to give in to his lifetime passion to paint. For the past 40 years Jerry was a full time painter with work in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, The Oakland Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in many private collections. His work has been shown in San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago and New York.

But he also continued his social activism. He swiftly opposed the War in Vietnam before it was popular to do so; helped create Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts that has grown to be a very effective and more encompassing organization now called California Lawyers For The Arts. He was active in creating the Bay Area Artists for Nuclear Sanity, supported the Ploughshares Fund, the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, worked with the Berkeley Fire Department to get a new firehouse built after the Oakland fire, and many other civic and peaceful causes.

He leaves his wife of 59 years, Joy Carlin, two sons, Nicholas, a San Francisco lawyer and cellist, Alexander, a rock musician, and daughter Nancy, an actor and director and four granddaughters, Celeste, Miranda, Sofia and Allegra.