Oral History of Betty Southard Murphy

Betty Southard Murphy is the only person to have served as both Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and as Administrator, Wage & Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor. When she resigned from the NLRB, she was praised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, and the National Association of Manufacturers for her "outstanding contributions."

Mrs. Murphy has received a total of seven different Presidential appointments including the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. In 1997 she became the first lawyer in full time private practice elected to the prestigious National Academy of Human Resources.

Mrs. Murphy is a partner in Baker Hostetler LIP, one of the oldest and largest law firms in the U.S. She represents clients in the U.S. and abroad and is recognized as one of the top labor and employment lawyers in the country. Based in Washington, D.C., she has tried cases or otherwise appeared in Federal and State courts in over 29 states and in 9 of the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

She received the prestigious American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2006. This award is only presented every second year. In addition, the D.C. Bar Association, which has over 80,000 members, named her one of 24 "Legends in the Law" for her "prominence in the profession" and her "individual impact on the law and the legal profession." In 2008, Washingtonian magazine named her a "top lawyer" and one of 20 "Legends of the Bar."

Mrs. Murphy received the United States Information Service's Award for Outstanding Service for her "contribution to international understanding and the foreign policy of the United States." She is an appointee to the Mediation Panel of the World Intellectual Property Organization and serves on the International Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association where she is a member of the Board. She also lectures in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Mrs. Murphy received her B.A. degree from Ohio State University, studied in Paris, and obtained her J.D. degree from Washington College of Law, American University, where she is an Adjunct Professor. Active in various bar associations, she chaired the International Committee of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section and is also on the Board of the U.S.-Mexico Bar Association. In 2009, she received a "Special Achievement Award" from the Section on Dispute Resolution for her achievements on behalf of the Section over the past 14 years.

Related Articles

Dennis Hevesi, Betty S. Murphy, a Leader of the N.L.R.B., Dies at 77, The New York Times (Oct. 24, 2010), [].

Emma Brown, Betty Southard Murphy, first female National Labor Relations Board member, dies at 77, The Washington Post (Oct. 29, 2010), [].