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Chuck France / KU University Relations

green hall news

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.

Supreme visitor

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor shares wisdom, wit with KU Law community BY MINDIE PAGET


One firm offered her a position as a legal secretary. But, forecasting her tenacious spirit and her drive to carve out a career as a lawyer, O’Connor declined.

“Law firms in those days would not hire a woman lawyer,” O’Connor said during an April visit to the University of Kansas.

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 attorney. Undeterred, O’Connor wrote her

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.


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

KU Law Magazine | Spring 2010  
KU Law Magazine | Spring 2010  

A magazine for alumni and friends of the University of Kansas School of Law.