Skip to Main Content
The Jacob Burns Law Library Office of Instructional Technology Home The Jacob Burns Law Library Special Collections The Jacob Burns Law Library Research Portal The Jacob Burns Law Library Website GW Law| Friends of the Library The Jacob Burns Law Library Library Guides Page The George Washington University Law School Website

Oral History Project: Interview Subjects: Ruth Burg

View The Narrator

Photo of Jerome A. Barron Photo of James M. Brown Photo of Ruth C. Burg Photo of Paul G. Dembling Photo of Jack H. Friedenthal Photo of Thomas A. Morrison Photo of Ralph Clarke Nash, Jr. Photo of Arnold W. Reitze, Jr. Photo of David Robinson, Jr. Photo of Lewis A. Schiller Photo of Teresa Moran Schwartz Photo of Eric Scott Sirulnik Photo of Robert V. Stanek Photo of James E. Starrs Photo of David B. Weaver Photo of Glen E. Weston

Ruth C. Burg

Watch Video Excerpt

View the Full Video

For full video interview, please email Jennie Meade at

About The Narrator: Ruth C. Burg

Administrative Judge (retired) Ruth Cooper Burg was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1926.  Intending to be a doctor, she graduated from the George Washington University with a B.S. in chemistry (1945) and attended the George Washington University School of Medicine (1945-1946).  A change in professional goals brought her to GW Law, where she graduated first in her class (1950), the first woman to do so.  At GW, Judge Burg was taxation editor of the George Washington Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

In 1950, she became the first woman Attorney-Adviser assigned to a judge on the Tax Court of the United States (1950-1953), and later settled into private practice (1953), where she handled construction and federal taxation matters until 1965.  From 1965 to 1972 she was Assistant to the Chairman, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Board of Contract Appeals, becoming the first woman to hold this position.

In 1972, Judge Burg became the first woman appointed as Administrative Judge and Division Head of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, where she presided at all levels of administrative adjudicatory construction and commercial disputes.  She served on the Board until her retirement in 1995.  Since 1995, Judge Burg has focused on her work as a private neutral in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, and as a consultant and expert witness in public contract matters. 

In addition to the many “firsts” chronicled above as a woman in the legal profession, Judge Burg became the first woman chair of the American Bar Association Section of Public Contract Law (1984).

Her many honors include the Margaret Brent Women of Achievement Award (2008), the George Washington University Distinguished Alumna Award (2002), the Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Public Service (2000), and the Fulbright Award for Public Service (2000).

She has written and lectured extensively, primarily on government contract issues, and in 2016 she published her memoirs, My Book of Ruth.

Judge Burg is noted for her outstanding long-term leadership in promoting the role of women in the legal profession, especially in government contract positions, and she is regarded as a role model and mentor by countless women in the profession.

About This Interview


Jennie C. Meade, Director of Special Collections

Interview Date/Location:

Thursday, May 19, 2016, in the Dean's Parlor at GW Law.


JACOB Catalog Record