open menu

Alumni News

The Legacy of Berney’s Raiders

A 1960s band of brothers fought the good fight for civil rights.


The 1960s was a time of much social and political change.The civil rights movement and drive to protect the due process rights of the poor and disadvantaged led to much activism on school campuses nationwide.

Led by Professor Arthur Berney, BC Law joined in by establishing its own civil rights organization in 1966 that came to be known as Berney’s Raiders. Its mission was to assist legal groups involved in civil rights litigation in any of the fifty states. Some seventeen students fanned out across the country that summer, aiding in all different types of civil rights work. They fought to protect train service to an all-black community, advocated for Native Americans in tribal courts, pursued school desegregation, and defended against police brutality.

One Raider, Jon Schneider ’68, worked on Loving v. Virginia, in which the US Supreme Court declared laws prohibiting marriage between whites and non-whites unconstitutional. At the time, sixteen states had laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

“The first pleading I ever filed was the jurisdictional statement in the Loving case. When I delivered it to the clerk at the US Supreme Court, he said, ‘We have been waiting for this one.’ I have often said that this was the pinnacle of my career,” Schneider recalled. He still feels that way, even after a forty-year career at Goodwin.

According to early editions of Sui Juris, the news journal of BC Law’s Student Bar Association, Berney’s other Raiders were: Oliver Barber ’68, Arthur Wiener ’68, Joseph Goldberg ’68, William Donnelly ’68, John Joyce ’68, John Mason ’68, David F. Parish ’68, Lawrence Weisman ’68, Ned Holland ’68, Gregory Hren ’68, Richard Cramer ’68, David Twomey ’68, Joseph Korff ’68, James Klein ’67, Stephen Shatz ’67, and Peter Norstrand ’66.