Lawyers on Their Legal Heroes

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In the latest Readers Respond, we asked attorneys and judges to tell us who their legal hero is — real or fictional — and the reasons they find this individual an inspiration for their legal career. 

My first boss, Carlo Coppo, who, sadly passed away two months ago is my legal hero. He was and is the smartest person I have ever worked for. His mantra: “to be a truly great lawyer you need to have the intellect to understand the law. But you need the passion just as much. The passion will make you connect with others. Don’t lose it. If you do, find another gig.”

Srinivas Hanumadass, Partner at CaseyGerry

It may be cliché for me, as a female lawyer, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg truly is an inspiration for me for both professional and for personal reasons. Professionally, she demonstrated that women can rise above insurmountable challenges by being clever, persistent but kind. She also role modeled the value of finding common ground and valuing people, even those who have diverse viewpoints. In my personal life, I always was inspired that she was brave enough to acknowledge that “you can’t have it all, all at once” but yet she proved that you can have it all in the course of your journey.

Pam Whitmore, Attorney at Eckberg Lammers

Atticus Finch is my legal hero. I love everything he stood for. Atticus stepped up and took a case he knew would earn him the scorn of the community. Despite this, Atticus zealously advocated for a client whose life depended on it. This job requires me to make many decisions, often unpopular ones, because the law requires it. Criticism from newspapers or the public cannot affect my rulings or I have failed in my duties. Judges can learn lots from Atticus.

Judge Ada Brown, Northern District of Texas

My legal hero is Thurgood Marshall. Thurgood Marshall used his intelligence and the law as a tool to fight injustice despite being faced with intolerance, violence, and hate. His perseverance and experience motivates me daily. On the other hand, Monique Pressley is my modern day shero. Ms. Pressley is an attorney in Washington D.C. Her on-camera presence is amazing! I am influenced by her “trial-style” and admire how she asserts her intelligence and wit to zealously defend her clients.

Lauren Dyer, Jacksonville Public Defender

My legal hero is Harry L. Shorstein. His only instruction to us was to do the right thing for the case, never throw low blows in court, and be a man of your word. Even when doing the right thing means hurting your case, you still do the right thing.

Judge Mose Floyd, Duval County Court Judge

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