The Ladies of Law: Practicing Law as a Woman in the South


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Imagine going to law school, getting the best grades, passing the bar—doing all the right things—but still not being able legally to practice law where you live. In 1911, that’s exactly what happened to Minnie Hale Daniel. Nevertheless, she persisted, and with 18 other women lawyers, founded the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers. Together, they wrote a series of bills so that women could practice law in Georgia.



Maggie Puccini

My inspiration to become a lawyer: In college, I was intrigued by the criminal justice system. After receiving my undergraduate degree in criminal justice, my parents encouraged me to continue my education. I decided to enter law school, and my plan was to continue down the criminal justice path to become a federal or state prosecutor.

What I like most about being a lawyer: For me, building relationships with clients is the best part. I have met amazing people, both business and personal, through my practice. It really feels good to be able to help people through difficult times. My goal is to be more than just an attorney to my clients; I want to be there as a friend and counselor.

The biggest challenge I face as a woman in law: I’ve been practicing law in Savannah for 18 years, and things have come a long way during that time. However, the generation of women lawyers who came before me were the real trailblazers in our field, and I’m very lucky to work with some of the best women lawyers in this town who continue to mentor and inspire me. In fact, I’m currently the president-elect of the Savannah Bar Association, and I look forward to leading the association and setting a positive example for other women in our field.

What I look forward to at the office or in the courtroom: I work with an outstanding group of attorneys and staff. I feel so fortunate because I have the best job and I look forward to going to work everyday. Our firm is excited about our new office building at One West Park Avenue, and I think our clients are going to love the new space as much as we do. In the courtroom, I look forward to prevailing for my clients. After lots of preparation behind the scenes, it all comes together when I get the opportunity to present a client’s case to the judge.

 

Rachel Wilson

What I look forward to at the office or in the courtroom: What had been my favorite thing about practicing is now also my favorite thing about teaching: I love interacting with students, hearing their stories and sharing their victories with them. As Dean of Students and Career Development, I get to interact with extraordinary students every day, and they share with me their problems and struggles, academic and personal. But they also share with me their victories; turning around a grade, being accepted into a prestigious clerkship or internship, passing the bar exam and getting a job with their first-choice firm. Some days, a student will come in and share their hopes and fears about the practice of law — and life — over a cup of tea in my office, and then come back a month, or maybe a year, later to share with me the joy of a dream realized. I feel honored and humbled that these students trust me enough to confide in me with these pieces of their lives. Savannah Law School is special, not only because of the impressive faculty and exceptional education we offer, but because of this type of personal attention and the family atmosphere that we maintain, even long after graduation.

My inspiration to become a lawyer: My father was a police officer and he used to take me to court with him sometimes. One day, when I was about ten years old, I saw something very unfair happen in court. I whispered to my father that he should stand up and tell the judge that this was not fair. And he said he was not allowed to. And so I whispered that I would stand up and tell the judge that what he had done was unfair. And he said I could not. So, I asked who was allowed to stand up and tell the judge something. And he said, “only the attorneys,” so I responded that I would become an attorney. And I did. Along with the oath we take as “officers of the court,” attorneys also take on the social and ethical responsibilities to stand up and speak for those who can not speak for themselves and to right wrongs where they are able. It’s an honor to serve our clients and the public in this way. And now that I work in academia, I have the privilege of teaching the next generation of lawyers these responsibilities and how to serve people through this profession.

 

Allison Marani

My inspiration to become a lawyer: Just after college, I was in California working in the entertainment industry, in a job that was not especially fulfilling. I figured that if I ever wanted to help myself and help those around me, I had to pursue another career that gave me more direct responsibility and more control. By earning a law degree, I knew I could always be self-sufficient and pursue my own path in life if I needed to. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to work for great law firms.

How I got started in law: I graduated law school during the economic downturn, so jobs were few and far in between. I accepted the very first offer I got, to work for a class action firm in downtown Los Angeles, on the plaintiff side. I was scared to death because I knew nothing about class action law and had to learn most of it on the fly. It was difficult learning something new while keeping your eye on what was often thousands of class members at any one time. However, I’m grateful for the experience. It prepared me well.

The biggest challenge I face as a woman in law: Family planning. Building and maintaining a successful professional career can be difficult when you’re also trying to build a family. I know many female attorneys face this challenge and there are really no right or wrong answers. I’m not quite at that point in my life yet, but it is something I think about from time to time, knowing I too will eventually have to cross that bridge.

 

Ashleigh Madison

What inspired me to be a lawyer was: Realizing that I was fairly successful at, and derived immense satisfaction from, helping resolve disagreements, whether between family or friends. I decided that focusing on civil litigation would allow me to parlay the same types of skills in my professional life.

How I got started in law was: Talking to a friend’s father who was an attorney for the ATF. I thought what he did sounded quite interesting.

What I like most about being a lawyer: Close interaction with people from all walks of life.

The biggest challenge I face as a woman in law: Some women in business carry themselves as though they have something to prove. Sometimes that can translate into being unreasonable in the legal profession. I’ve always considered myself an equal to any man in the legal profession, so I don’t have anything to prove. I pride myself on being reasonable and try to make sure people know that.

What I look forward to at the office or in the courtroom: Providing a voice for my clients and knowing I can help facilitate closure for their loss or dispute.

 

Rosemary Florence

What inspired me to be a lawyer: At a very young age I just knew I was going to be an attorney.

How I got started in law: In college I was the president of the pre-law society and then I went to law school.

What I like most about being a lawyer: Litigating cases before judges, the steps from start to finish in litigating a case, negotiating settlements and helping clients who do not have a strong enough voice on their on.

The biggest challenge I face as a woman in law: At times there is still the “old boys” club, however, this club is diminishing in size.

What I look forward to at the office or in the courtroom: Presenting facts and arguments to the court.

 

To read more about The Ladies of Law, subscribe now or pick up the June/July issue of South magazine. 

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Events Calendar

  • Camp Moon River at Savannah Country Day School

    May 29, 2018
    8:30 AM - 4:30 PM @ Savannah Country Day School

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  • Summer Reading Program

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  • #art912, Grounded

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    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

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  • Turtle Talks

    May 16, 2018
    10:15 AM - 10:15 AM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

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  • Tybee South Beach Walks

    May 16, 2018
    2:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    South beach walks depart from the science center where you’ll join a knowledgeable marine science educator on a guided walk of Tybee’s south...

  • Tybee Marsh Treks

    May 16, 2018
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    On a marsh trek, you’ll enjoy a hands-on exploration of Georgia’s salt marsh, searching the mud for fiddler crabs, snails, and more. Learn...

  • Bin Feng 2013-2018 presented by HAZA

    May 25, 2018
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ HAZA at The Stables

    HAZA, a contemporary art gallery, presents their second exhibition with artist Bin Feng at The Stables from Friday, May 25 through Saturday, June...

  • Mountainfilm and Georgia Southern Refugee Film Festival

    Jun 19, 2018
    6:30 PM - 8:00 PM @ Ogeechee Theater Georgia Southern Armstrong Campus

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  • Bark in the Park with the Savannah Bananas & Coastal Pet Rescue

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  • Monthly Satsang

    Feb 21, 2018
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    Join us for a monthly gathering to discuss and reflect on the ethical principles of yoga.    We will use The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah...

  • Yacht Hop 2018

    Jun 22, 2018
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Savannah Yacht Club

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  • Stardusted Circus!

    Jun 22, 2018
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    A three-ring circus of epic proportions!  Fire breathers will greet you as you enter the magnificent Tybee Post Theater.  We will be unveiling...

  • American Legion "Warrior Lift" Auction Night

    Jun 23, 2018
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ American Legion Post 135

    Our  American Legion warriors need a lift ...so let the bidding war begin! Enjoy an evening of great music and food while you shop the more than...

  • Andaz Savannah Hosts June Salon Event

    Jun 28, 2018
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  • Park + Broad Grand Opening Celebration

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    5:30 PM - 5:30 PM @ Park + Broad Apartments

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  • Paranormal Cirque

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  • Spartina 449 Warehouse Sale - Tix On Sale June 5

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    9:00 AM - 9:00 PM @ Hilton Head Island High School

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  • HAZA Presents Maggie Hayes: Coming Up For Air

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Scenes of the South

JCB Mudrun 2018

Old Town Trolley's 25th Anniversary

Old Town Trolley celebrated 25 years of business!

Red, White & Blue Baseball Night

The Two Hundred Club, hosted by the Savannah Bananas, held a double header evening featuring an exhibition softball game between the local Firefighters & EMS versus Law Enforcement at Grayson Stadium.

2018 Savannah Mile

Hundreds of service members and their families joined with community neighbors and volunteers for this annual One-Mile Run yo support The 200 club of the Coastal Empire. Participants run North on Drayton Street for one mile to nd at the Finish Line on Broughton Street. The 200 club provides resources and financial support for families who have had a loved one killed or injured in the line of duty.

Lowcountry Annie Oakleys Charity Clay Tournament

The third annual Annie Oakley's Charity Clay Tournament and After Party took place on September 29. The event benefited the Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children's Hospital in Savannah. The day began at 11:30 a.m. with the driven bird flurry contest. Later that afternoon, the shotgun start kicked off the 100-shot tournament. The after party that evening was open to non-shooters alike, where cocktails, drinks and hors d'oeuvres from Cotton & Rye were served.

Savannah Salutes Empower Health After Party

More than four hundred service members representing every branch of the military from all over the country congregated in Savannah to Savannah to provide no cost Health Care to thousands of Savannah residents as a part of the Empower Health Innovative Readiness Training program initiated by the Department of Defense. The Savannah Salute event was hosted on May 20 at the Savannah Civic Center to celebrate the success of the program and thank all involved.

5th Annual Nine Line Run for the Wounded 5k/10k

More than 1400 runners gathered at Grayson Stadium to participate in the 5th Annual Nine Line Run for the Wounded 5k/10k. The race raises money for the Nine Line Foundation to support veterans and their families.

Taste of Downtown Savannah

More than two thousand Savannah Chamber of Commerce members and community neighbors gathered in Johnson Square on May 17 for the highly anticipated, Taste of Downtown Savannah event. Guests enjoyed small bites and sips of favorite menu items served up by more than forty Chamber member restaurants along with live music by The Cicada Brothers and Wassaw Sound.

Empower Health Distinguished Visitor Event

A group of distinguished visitors from the Pentagon and White House joined several military members who were a part of the Empower Health Readiness Training Initiative to provide no cost healthcare to the Savannah community from May 10 -18. The event was hosted by Edgar's Proof and Provision at the DeSoto and guests enjoyed a casual evening of fellowship and fun.

2018 SCAD Sand Arts Festival

Event-goers soaked up some sun on while watching elaborate, artistic creations rise from the sand at the SCAD Sand Arts Festival on Tybee Island that took place on May 11th.