In his nearly 50 years of law practice, Barry Helft handled cases in courts ranging from Justice of the Peace Court in Texas to the United States Supreme Court. He also engaged in ancillary activities such as authoring a six-volume set of books on Texas criminal trial and appellate practice as well as authoring sections—most notably the chapter on state appeals—in the California Criminal Defense Practice set; writing several law review articles; lecturing at several law schools; teaching at various trial and appellate advocacy seminars; writing for general publications, etc. etc. In other words, he did what people who practice for this length of time do. His name is not attached to this fellowship for any of these things.
Rather, it is his 25-year contribution to OSPD that has caused this fellowship to be named after him in a representational sense. Representational because the spirit of this fellowship is embodied by the hundreds of lawyers who have labored at OSPD during the course of its existence. Barry Helft is an apt representative for these committed lawyers because he held every position extant at OSPD over the course of his tenure, e.g., deputy, senior deputy, supervising deputy, Assistant State Public Defender, Chief Assistant State Public Defender, Director of Legal Training, Director of Capital Litigation, and Interim State Public Defender. His name is attached to this fellowship as the embodiment of the vow that lawyers at OSPD make to their clients to provide the best representation available; a goal that is achieved by the commitment OSPD makes to its own lawyers to provide the support necessary for them to fulfill this vow. Barry Helft made the same assertion to each lawyer he trained: Regardless of your skill level when starting at OSPD, you will be a better lawyer when you leave than you were when you started. The goals of this fellowship embody that assertion.