of Mary Anne Sedey
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED AND EDITED BY ROSS PFUND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DON IPOCK
The St. Louis-based employment litigator speaks on
pushing through discovery, her voir dire strategy and
giving legal advice to Thurgood Marshall
Q: Human Resource Executive magazine named
you one of the top 10 plaintiff’s attorneys to
fear the most.
A: They did.
Q: Seems like a dubious honor in their eyes.
A: Great honor in mine.
Q: What first got you interested in the law?
A: I’m kind of a child of the ‘60s, and I was very
involved in the women’s movement as a young
woman, and I wanted work where I could do
something about the status of women, and also
make a living, and so I was very interested in
the law. That brought me into employment law.
And I quickly became aware that lots of people
besides women had problems on the job, and so
that kind of expanded my interest, and I never
Q: How did you get started?
A: I went to law school in the height of the
Q: I can’t imagine that there were many all-
feminist movement. The year before I went to law
school, there were four or five women in the entire
class. The year I went, there were 30 of us. So
now, it’s half and half. Three of the other women
that I went to law school with and I started an all-
women’s law firm when we graduated from law
school. We went out and we hung up our shingle
[as Anderson, Everett, Sedey & Van Amburg in
1975]. There just were not very many women
lawyers, and women wanted women lawyers for
some of their problems, so that was kind of how
we got our start.
women firms at that time. Did you have to deal
with any skepticism?
A: You know what? We got so much
encouragement. I remember we went to our
law school graduation, and they talked about
what we were going to do. They thought it was
wonderful. And then we got into practice. We
were quite inexperienced, and we relied on other
lawyers. Many, many lawyers around town, most
all of whom were men just because that’s who
was in the profession at the time, were very good
to us. They helped us out. They gave us ideas.
They shared pleadings. They gave us advice. It
was really a wonderful experience.