the fact that I do something different
almost every day. I enjoy my clients.
My clients are in a number of different
industries, and that’s fun to be around
types of people whose companies do
different types of work. I like the flexibility;
as a mother, that’s been great. Unless
I’m in trial or depositions, I can leave at 4
o’clock to go to children’s sports and leave
to go to a program at school. I think that’s
one of the best things about practicing law
for any parent—mother or father.
It’s always interesting. It’s human nature.
You never know what people will do,
never know what’s going on with
people’s minds in the workplace.
organizations. … If I have a friend running
for a statewide office, I know who to call to
this day in Birmingham to help her. Or him,
for that matter. [Editor’s note: The Alabama
Solution does not appear on the current
registry of political action committees with
Alabama’s secretary of state.]
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I’m big on exercise. Our office is next-door to the YMCA and I’m over there most
days unless I have a scheduling conflict. I’m
a triathlete. I used to be an avid triathlete.
I’ve slowed down to one or two a year, but I
still do that, which requires training. And I
took up tennis last year.
Q: When did you start participating in
A: I guess it was about 14 years ago, after
my children started getting a little bit older
and I had a little bit more free time—for a
while there, there was none. I was literally
watching the Hawaii Ironman on TV one
afternoon and I was thinking, “I could do
that.” … I’ve not done an Ironman, but
there were shorter versions available.
They were interviewing all these people
that weren’t particularly athletic or even
particularly fit for their whole lives. They
were talking about how they got into it
and I was like, “I could do that,” and then I
started doing it. It was fun. [But] if you did
them the whole triathlon season, you had
to train about nine months a year—swim,
bike, run two or three times a week each
for nine months. [It] just kind of got old and
I got a little burned out, so now I just do
one or two a year. I can just train for about
two months, do them and then move onto
tennis or whatever.
for Public Leadership, which was designed
to encourage women to get involved in
politics either as a candidate or as a financial
supporter, as a campaign manager, whatever
aspect. The national Y sent national trainers
down to do the program. The program
was very successful. I can’t remember the
number we had, but it was far more than we
anticipated participating in the event. Out
of that evolved some discussion from some
of the participants that we needed to do
something in the Mobile area to get women
involved. There was a woman named Ann
Bedsole who was a state senator—she may
have been one of our first [women] state
senators—who is still a leader among women
politicians in this area. She was heavily
involved with helping us to get it going and
she knew the campaign finance laws and
helped us with all of that.
Q: In the early ‘90s, you were the president
of an organization called HOPE (Help Open
Politics to Everyone) Chest. Tell me a bit
about how and why you got involved.
A: I was on the board of the local YWCA,
and, in connection with the national YWCA,
we presented a workshop called Institute
Q: Were those efforts successful in getting
more women into the political circle?
A: Yes, I think in a lot of respects. We had
started HOPE Chest down here and in the
same time frame, Birmingham started
something called [the] Alabama Solution.
It was the same mission; both were
patterned after EMILY’s List, which was
a national women’s PAC [political action
committee] that had been around for some
time. … We decided to merge the two
because we felt like it made more sense to
just have one for the whole state.
There was an article in our paper the
other day that said unfortunately Alabama
is still 47th or 48th in women in the state
legislature, so we haven’t made a lot
of progress there. But if you look at our
judiciary and our statewide offices, we’ve
had a woman lieutenant governor, treasurer,
on and on and on. I think the progress is
amazing, and I think the HOPE Chest and
Alabama Solution helped with that because
not only did it encourage women to get
involved, but it provided a network—a good
ol’ girls network, if you will—that women
could rely on to start up their campaigns
and then go from there. The network has
remained that we created through the
Q: What advice do you have for young
A: They need to remember that there’s a
lot you can do with a law degree. If you get
in a firm or a type of practice that you’re
not happy in, you should try to explore
other options quickly rather than waiting.
I’ve known too many people, my whole
career, really, [who] got into the practice of
law or private practice or even government
jobs and that’s not where they want to
be and they were miserable. I love what
I do so it kind of saddens me [that] one
of my colleagues is just miserable in that
life. There are a lot of options available
when you have a law degree for different
career paths you can follow. For instance,
government employment, public service,
Q: What do you know now that you didn’t
when you graduated from law school?
A: Like anybody that comes out of school,
I thought that the law is the law and I’m
going to win every case if the law’s on my
side. And it doesn’t always work that way,
particularly when you have juries that
aren’t lawyers, that aren’t applying the law
strictly. I think I’ve realized when I go to
trial, I know my case, I know all the facts, I
know them backwards and forwards, and
I’m sure I’m going to win, but when you
get to court, you can’t get all that evidence
admitted, for one reason or another, so
the juries never know the whole story. I try
to think in terms of what have they heard,
and leave out what they weren’t allowed to
hear, when I’m doing my closing argument.
That’s the only way I can win.
SUPER LAWYERS / ALABAMA 2011 9