It is so easy to forget how far women lawyers have come in the law profession in our country today. They now represent more than 50% of associates in law firms, the percentage of women partners is on the rise, and it is common for women to be members of executive committees and practice leaders. There is still significant work to do to increase the percentage of women equity partners, but even that Holy Grail has seen some upward movement. But, on balance, women lawyers have advanced on so many fronts to take their rightful seats at the table.
Here is a story of a woman lawyer, who fought to protect her clients from long-held assumptions surrounding domestic violence and leaned into it in a big way with a style that is still worth emulating. And no, I am not talking about policies and practices prevalent during Victorian times. I am talking about policies and practices and prevailing law in the 1970’s when I started practicing law and was referred to as “girl” and “honey” by judges in open court, even Federal judges.
It does not seem so long ago to those of us who lived it. However, living it and advancing in the profession in spite of it is one matter, but facing it down against all odds to change long-accepted policies, practices, and perceptions is quite another. Read this story of a woman lawyer, now departed, who leaned into a problem of great magnitude and dire consequences with truth and dignity on her side and changed the perception of how women are entitled to protect themselves and their families against abuse within the very family itself.
Read about Holly Maquigan and thank your lucky stars that she came before you. I wish I had known her. Here is her story.