KU Law Magazine | Spring 2010
A magazine for alumni and friends of the University of Kansas School of Law.
GreeN haLL NewS S he climbed to lofty heights, becoming the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. But when Sandra Day O’Connor graduated from law school, she couldn’t even get a job interview. “Law firms in those days would not hire a woman lawyer,” O’Connor said during an April visit to the University of Kansas. One firm offered her a position as a le- gal secretary. But, forecasting her tena- cious spirit and her drive to carve out a career as a lawyer, O’Connor declined. Instead, she sought out the San Mateo county attorney, who had once hired a female lawyer. He liked O’Connor but possessed neither the funding nor the office space to hire another attor- ney. Undeterred, O’Connor wrote her would-be boss a letter describing all of the assets she would bring to the position, offering to work without pay and proposing to share an office with the secretary. She got the job. And her letter now resides in the San Mateo County History Museum. “You may have to be a little creative in suPreMe Visitor Justice sandra day o’connor shares wisdom, wit with Ku law community bY Mindie Paget Judge Deanell Reece Tacha of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, left, questions Justice Sandra Day O’Connor during a fireside chat with the retired associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States on April 12 at the Dole Institute of Politics. O’Connor spent two days at KU visiting law students and faculty. chucK france / Ku uniVersitY relations 12 Ku laW Magazine