Janet Koepke HayesDear warm heart,

Thine love!
Celestial joy!
Rare affection!
Happy torment!
Glorious to be us!

Precious man,
‘Tis pleasure to care through fortune
Where laughter and wealth reverberate,
But it is still treasure and delight,
‘Though life possess tempest and melancholy.

Stay pure.
Then from oneself soar.

This poem was presented to me by my wife, Janet Hayes, only a few days before she passed away from metastatic breast cancer. Janet carried a lethal cancer for several years with radiation, chemotherapy and four major surgeries, nine surgeries in all, while carrying on through these milestones in her career:

Janet Hayes, Executive Director
Judicial Division,
American Bar Association

Executive Director
California Women Lawyers Association

Advisory Committee,
Center for Justice and Judicial Studies, University of Nevada

Executive Director
Conference of Delegates, State Bar of California

Executive Director
Litigation Section, State Bar of California

During many years and several positions at the State Bar of California, Janet enjoyed being the Administrator of The Litigation Section, raising its membership well over 10,000 members to become the largest organization of lawyers in the California State Bar.

She helped create and manage the respected California Litigation publication and the robust yearly ‘Litigation Review‘, both ongoing and respected publications that began and remained strong under Janet’s leadership. She created ‘Champions of the Courtroom‘ in order to reveal the critical contributions of lawyers and the important work that informs democracy of its labor toward justice. For the first time in its history, she compiled and published the rules of the California State Bar. She enjoyed her State Bar assistant Wayne Currier immensely; her event planner ally Ron Johnson; and her longtime friend Doron Weinberg, a tough and preeningly confident civil rights attorney.

She truly enjoyed creating and co-hosting ‘A Week in Legal London‘ with staff of London’s Royal Courts of Justice and with her stalwart friend Michael McKenzie QC CB, Master of the Crown Office, Royal Courts of England and Wales, Queen’s Coroner, Queen’s Attorney, SA – one of the top legal professionals of England and Wales and dearly enjoyed Michael’s wonderful wife Peggy. While inviting lawyers to explore the roots of law, including commencing the California Bar’s Oxford University Summer Program, Janet wanted attorneys to see that the practice of American law will evolve in their hands as it evolves in English common law.

Janet urged those who practice law to see that they are firstly Officers of the Court. They must learn to cooperate in order to bring truth to the bench whether they prosecute or defend. She worried that victory is a fashion while justice is a greater task. Janet was concerned that an institutional adversarial approach in the practice of law could too easily obscure justice and trump the courtroom.

To join peers of the profesion during the O. J. Simpson murder trial, Janet quickly arranged a conference of over 600 lawyers to meet Johnny Cochran and F. Lee Bailey in person at the Silverado Resort in Napa, California. Gerry Spence, famous on TV in his western jacket and cowboy hat, gave his keynote on trusting the highest virtues both as a person and a lawyer. Thomas Jefferson was ‘reincarnated on stage’ to recite his thoughts and remind us that our tremendous values are always required in modern USA.

Janet kept every issue framed in creed and ethics. Her agenda reflected the purpose and charter of the Bar and its critical tenets too often forgotten across the nation.

Benjamin Dreyfus
and Charles Garry, famous for defending the Chicago 8, were Janet’s favorite lawyers, her warmest personal friends and her employers at Garry, Dreyfus, McTernan & Brotsky. These lawyers made their career stepping forward for the most despised. They insistently defended the underdog such as the Black Panthers‘ Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver, the Pentagon Paper’s Daniel Ellsberg, and Jim Jones of the People’s Temple massacre. They and Janet felt that the more chastised or poor or disadvantaged the client, the more important the role of the attorney! Working with Dreyfus and Garry for many years, she earned a first-hand account in helping secure America’s civil rights and free speech.

Living with cancer during her short period at the helm of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association, Janet organized a program for the nation’s judges that reviewed modern patterns of implied consent and the impact of new proximity technology. She invited firms and scientists to reveal to the American bench the newest technology that might affect the American person. To review long term policy of the judicial branch, Janet co-produced the first meeting in the history of America attended by the Chief Justice of each state.

Janet had two other professional names: Janet Koepke & Janet Carver. The root of Janet’s maiden name is Von der Kopke of Alsace Lorraine, Germany. Her grandfather, Johann Kopke, arrived in San Francisco perhaps sailing the SS Cimbria in 1875. He acquired much of the early San Francisco waterfront, then lost it, Janet
thought by losing the written land titles and much cash during the fire of the 1906 earthquake. He had two sons and four daughters.

Janet’s father, Edward John Koepke, was earning honors at Harvard when he volunteered in WWI to operate an early warning radio device, listening for an invasion from a shack on the cold and desolate Farallone Islands. Janet’s mother, Elizabeth Lund Fuller, later married Varden Fuller, a pioneering professor of agricultural economics at the University of California. She passed away in 2004 after almost 95 years. Janet’s living relatives include Edward Koepke Jr., Carolyn Koepke, Karen Koepke and Janet’s daughter Shelley Carver.