Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was undeniably one of the greatest examples of what a lawyer should be. One month since her passing, we continue to honor her incredible life, remarkable career and passionately selfless drive as one of the most influential lawmakers our country has seen.
At Van Wey, Presby and Williams, not only do we reflect on how we can follow RBG’s lead to be the best lawyers we can possibly be, but also how we can follow her example in our everyday lives as active participants in our communities.
As Dallas trial lawyers gathered at the Old Red Courthouse last month, Kay Van Wey, Ellen Presby, Brady Williams and Emma Martin shared their thoughts on RBG’s legacy and how her lifetime of service towards justice can inspire us to be better.
While we experience the impact of RBG’s contributions on our everyday lives, Presby shared how we now fully realize what RBG truly accomplished for us.
“Like so many other people who idolized Ruth Bader Ginsberg, I didn’t even begin to understand the full depth of her contributions until after she died. My life, and the lives of my female colleagues, and, indeed, the lives of men, are touched everyday by a door she opened. I am keenly aware now, more than before, that it is because of her work, her tireless effort, and her brilliant long-term strategies, that I can own a home, have credit, and make key decisions about my own body. I’m grateful that she touched my life, and that she has inspired so many young women.”
Van Wey shared how RBG’s relentless drive inspired her to make the difference she wants to see in the world.
“I relate to RBG on so many levels. She was a person short in stature like me. She didn’t let her size affect the impact she wanted to make on the world. She was energized by the important work she did, despite her own personal health issues. She loved working and making a difference.
No one, least of all little old me, would fill the shoes of RBG, but we can each do our part. Don’t wait for someone to choose you. Choose yourself. You are just one person, but one person can make an enormous impact.”
Van Wey also had some words of wisdom inspired by RBG for other trial lawyers:
“When you get tired and discouraged by the rigors of the life of a trial lawyer remember that most of us aren’t the advanced age or ill health that RBG was in when she kept fighting and fighting until her last breath.
I have self-appointed myself to be a changemaker and I encourage you today to self-appoint yourselves to continue your hard work and work until your last breath to leave this world a better place.”
Presby reflected on how RBG was an example for leaders to put aside their differences and coexist respectfully, and when needed, work together toward the common goal to help others.
The Ruth Bader Ginsberg example and lesson I will strive to never forget is this: it is possible to find common ground with everyone. We need to look for the common ground across gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic divide. That’s what we need in our cruelly divided world and, with our opponents in the legal field. When we share a laugh with someone whose ideas are not always our own, we open ourselves and them to the possibility of working together for the good of the whole.
Let’s do RBG’s legacy justice by upholding these values and continuing to put in the work to create better communities and a better world. And don’t forget to exercise your right as an American citizen and vote on November 3rd. It’s what RBG would have wanted.