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

  • Charleston Cars & Coffee

    Jun 17, 2017
    7:30 AM - 10:00 AM @ Mount Pleasant Towne Centre

    7:30am - 10:00am  FREE ADMISSION  Mount Pleasant Towne Centre,1712 Towne Centre Way,Mt Pleasant, SC 29464,USA A bunch of car and...

  • Charleston Farmers Market

    Jun 17, 2017
    8:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Marion Square

    8:00am - 2:00pm  FREE ADMISSION  Marion Square,329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403,USA Join us every Saturday in beautiful Marion...

  • PRETTY IN PUNK: Images from the Punk Rock Era

    Sep 21, 2017
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM @ PULP

    PULP time travels back to the 70s with The Ramones, Blondie, The Germs, The Sex Pistols, The Go-Go's, Patty Smith and more -- on stage and back...

  • Kirk Varnedoe: In the Middle at the Modern

    Sep 22, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Can you have an art exhibition without any artworks? Is a curator an artist? Who or what decides an object’s value? Through the lens of an art...

  • FAAA Members Small Works Exhibition

    Oct 05, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums presents the first-ever exhibition at the Jepson Center by the artist members of the museum’s Friends of African American Arts...

  • Artists invited to submit to Southeast's biggest art competition

    Oct 02, 2017
    12:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Artists from 12 Southeastern states noted above

    All Southeastern artists are invited to submit their work to ArtFields®, which has emerged as the region’s largest art competition and...

  • Chocolate Bar Your Way Class

    Jun 14, 2017
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Sweet Pete's Candy

    4 pm sweetpetescandy.com Learn the art of old fashioned candy making in one of Sweet Pete’s Candy’s most popular classes. Sweet...

  • Martial Arts Kung Fu for Kids

    Jun 12, 2017
    4:00 PM @ Atlantic Warriors Wing Chun Kung Fu

    A way for the kids to work hard and laugh hard. It teaches life lessons through physical activity. Atlanticwarriors.org $129 monthly (904)...

  • Party at the Point!

    Jun 16, 2017
    5:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina

    5:30pm-9:00pm  Charleston Harbor Resort,20 Patriots Point Road,Mount Pleasant, SC 29464,USA COST: $7 Join us every Friday at the Charleston...

  • ALJ Monday Night Ceramics

    Jun 12, 2017
    6:00 PM

    Students will learn how to build ceramic sculptures as well as hand crafting with various techniques in form and technique $60 for 4 sessions, $80...

  • ALJ Cartooning and Illustration Classes @ Balis Community center

    Jun 14, 2017
    6:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ Balls Community Center

    Cartooning Illustration Class with William McMahan Wednesdays 6:30pm-8:30pm and/or Saturdays Noon-2:30pm • Ages 12 - Adult • All...

  • Blues & BBQ Harbor Cruise on the Carolina Queen

    Jun 15, 2017
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Carolina Queen River Boat

    7:00pm-9:00pm Admission- $44.95 for adults/ $25 for children 4-11 Carolina Queen Riverboat,17 Lockwood Boulevard,Charleston, SC 29401,USA...

  • Boo Bash Halloween Party

    Aug 28, 2017
    7:00 PM - 11:00 PM @ Alee Temple

    The Boo Bash Halloween Party is an event sponsored by Heads-Up Guidance Services (H.U.G.S.), a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  H.U.G.S....

  • Reggae Nights Summer Concert: Mystic Vibrations

    Aug 04, 2017
    7:30 PM - 7:30 PM @ James Island County Park

  • "Rewind" @ The Savannah Theatre

    Oct 04, 2017
    8:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ The Savannah Theatre

    222 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401 8:00pm on Wednesdays and Fridays Admission- $40 for adults and $20 for children Rewind back to the first...

  • "Rodin: The Human Experience"

    Sep 01, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    Rodin: The Human Experience presents a selection of 32 figures in bronze by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), the legendary French sculptor whose...

  • Jacob Lawrence, Lines of Influence at SCAD Museum of Art

    Sep 07, 2017
    All Day @ SCAD Museum of Art

    Jacob Lawrence Lines of Influence Sept. 7, 2017 - Feb. 4, 2018 The SCAD Museum of Art and the Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence...

  • Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival

    Oct 14, 2017
    All Day

    Various Locations THIRTEENTH ANNUAL HISTORIC BLUFFTON ARTS & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL-Where Fine Art & the Bounty of the Sea Come...

  • "I'm Trying To Tell You" Artist Talk and Reception

    Jul 28, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    Maggie Mullin O’Hara (American, b. 1991) is a multimedia artist from Pittsburgh currently based in Columbia, SC, and Savannah. Her exhibition...

  • Animal Instinct

    Jul 15, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    The diversity of animal imagery in Animal Instinct reveals the wide-ranging roles animals inhabit in an anthropocentric world. From wild...


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Scenes of the South

10th Annual DineSouth Celebration

The 10th annual DineSouth celebration presented by Virginia College in Savannah was one of the best events of the year. Guests gathered at Savannah Station on Oct. 12 to sample food, network, and listen to live music. String lights hung over the long, winding red carpet, which led to an area where visitors were greeted by a photo booth, drinks and live music. Cranford Hollow played all their hits on stage while patrons relaxed on bales of hay provided by Hunter Cattle Company.

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.

Johnathon Scott Barrett Book Signing

Locally renowned Savannah author, Johnathon Scott Barrett, signed books and stood for photo opportunities with many guests at the Gingerbread House on September 26. Food and drinks were served while guests wandered around and picked up copies of Cook and Tell: Recipes and Stories from Southern Kitchens edited by Johnathon Scott Barrett.

John Davis Florist Grand Re-Opening

John Davis Florist finally moved back into the new shop and everyone celebrated with food, drinks and live music on September 28 at the new location at 2430 Abercorn St. Guests also be celebrated the 30th anniversary of John Davis Florist! The day consisted of fun, sips, nibbles and flowers while the shop displayed Savannah's only Flower Bar.

Dancing with the Stars Benefitting CASA

The 10th Annual "Dancing with Savannah Stars" was held on September 28 at Lucas Theatre for the Arts. Many from all over the community turned up to watch the beautiful performances and support Savannah Chatham County CASA.

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

Men, women, and pets alike gathered Sunday, September 24 for the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride. The DGR brings over 70,000 well-dressed gentlefolk in over 600 cities together on stunning motorcycles. The ride is to support men's health across 95 countries. The goal for 2017 was to raise awareness and $5 million for prostate cancer and men's mental health on behalf of charity partner the Movember Foundation.

Grand Unveiling of The DeSoto Hotel

Guests arrived at the 1540 Room grand opening at The Desoto in style. They were greeted with champagne at the door and listened to live music as they walked around greeting others and admired the art. The night was a huge success. Each guest had a wooden token that they could use to vote for their favorite food out of the several samples that were available.

Craft Brew Fest 2017

Craft Brew Fest was a day to remember...or not remember depending on how many drinks you sampled. There were several breweries from near and far showing off their crafts on Saturday, Sept. 2. Craft Brew Fest was held inside the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. Keystone Postcard performed live while the beer was flowing. People danced and sung as the night went on. Many lined up to get a photo at the South Magazine photo booth where a red carpet and backdrop made everyone feel like a celebrity.

Private Preview of 1540 Room at The Desoto

The Desoto debuted a private preview of their restaurant, 1540 Room, which will be officially open to the public on September 21. Many gathered on the last day of August to celebrate the accomplishment. The new chef, Kyle Jacovino, prepared samples of the food that will be served in the restaurant. The DeSoto reigns as “Savannah’s hotel,” a beloved landmark that has played gracious hostess to presidents, local personalities and visitors since 1890. Treasured period details, including original crystal chandeliers and terracotta tiles, mix seamlessly with contemporary art, creating a thoughtful juxtaposition between history and modern-day style. 1540 Room will open to the public on September 21.

Leopold's 98th Anniversary Celebration

Hundreds of Savannah visitors, neighbors and long-time residents attended the 98th Birthday Celebration of famous, Leopold's Ice Cream Shop, closing down the block in front of the Broughton Street location for the afternoon. Attendees devoured the delicious ninety-eight cent scoops of the delicious ice cream while enjoying live music and performances throughout the event.