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Robert L. McMillan, Jr., was born and raised in Raleigh. He graduated with an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942. He completed his legal studies at UNC School of Law in 1949. He practiced law in Raleigh initially with his father and later on his own. His primary focus was criminal law. In this interview, he speaks about his military career and family military history, maintaining an image of calm and control, the crisis-to-crisis life of criminal defense lawyer, the importance of objectivity, and methods for dealing with clients and emotions. He notes that lawyers must guide clients—not simply serve as a mouthpiece—and work always in the client’s best interests. Other topics include legal guilt versus moral guilt, the Bill of Rights and dignity of the individual, ethics, the educational tradition in family, gardening and other hobbies, how the 1960s and the civil rights movement affected law, and the effect of the women’s movement on law.

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