Barbara A. Atwood

Areas of Achievement: 

Honored By

Honored by: Eisner, Peter
Date submitted: October 24, 2006

Barbara Ann Atwood was born September 2, 1947, in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Her family relocated to Tucson, Arizona, in 1956. She graduated from Rincon High School in 1965 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Spanish from Mary Baldwin College, a small women's college in Virginia in 1969. Barbara became a VISTA volunteer after college, working in Oklahoma City for a nonprofit cooperative for two years, and then returned to Tucson in 1971 to attend graduate school in multi-cultural education at the University of Arizona. During that period, Barbara taught English as a second language to adult immigrants for Tucson's model cities program.

Barbara became intensely involved in the second wave of the women's movement in the early 1970's and was a participant in establishing the original Tucson Women's Center and the first rape crisis center in the city. Also, she and two other women founded Antigone Book Store in 1973, the first bookstore in Arizona to specialize in writings by and about women and non-sexist children's literature. Barbara ended her formal tie to Antigone in 1978 but has kept in touch with the owners over the years and admires the creative feminist spirit that has kept the store alive.

Barbara enrolled in law school at the University of Arizona in 1973. As a member of the first class to be 30% female, she helped found the Law Women's Association and organized conferences and presentations on issues relevant to women and law during her years as a law student. She graduated with highest distinction in 1976 and clerked for two years for Judge Mary Anne Richey in the United States District Court. Barbara then worked as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

In 1980 Barbara began a teaching career that would last for more than a quarter of a century. She taught at the University of Houston Law Center for five years in the early 1980's and then joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 1986. She served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1988-1991and was named the Mary Anne Richey Professor of Law in 1998. She has taught Civil Procedure, Family Law, Child Representation, Women in the Law, Civil Rights Litigation, Federal Courts, Conflict of Laws, and related seminars. Barbara's scholarship explores topics at the intersection of civil procedure and family law, and her writings emphasize the role of procedure as a vehicle for enhancing the voices of marginalized groups, especially children. She published a biography of Judge Richey entitled A Courtroom of Her Own: The Life and Work of Mary Anne Richey (Carolina Academic Press 1998). Barbara served on the Arizona Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission for six years and was its chair in 2006. She received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1998 and the YWCA's 'Woman on the Move' Award in 1999.

An amateur poet since childhood, Barbara has earned recognition for her poetry in the Tucson Poetry Festival and the annual Arizona Attorney Fine Arts Competition. She is married to Peter Eisner and has two sons, Aaron and Charles. A third son, Jacob, died in 1996 at the age of ten.