I Wish I'd Known

Vol. 40 No. 2

By

Mary L. Bonauto has been the Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) since 1990.

"Develop and expertise to make a difference," says Mary L. Bonauto, project director at GLAD since 1990.

 

We are a nation that endeavors to continue perfecting itself.—Justice Ruth Bader

Ginsburg describes our constitutional history as the history of extending constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored or excluded. I’ve been seeking equal justice under law for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people for most of my professional life. Despite the many types of discrimination our nation has overcome and continues to address, what shines through over time is the commitment to fairness in our people, our laws, and our government. The great principles of equality and liberty would have died on the vine generations ago but for the ultimate willingness to wrestle through the fairness issues.

Lawyers who do equal justice work tend to be impatient people. I certainly am.  It’s important to know that a hefty dose of patience is a job requirement. Patience is not sitting on the sidelines. It is doing all of the types of groundwork necessary to hasten the day when you can seek and achieve a just result. Good timing helps make milestones. Bad timing can make damaging precedent that takes years to reverse or repeal. 

I believe that much is expected from those to whom much is given. A law degree is both a gift and a powerful tool. Every lawyer can use that gift and tool to help others.  Many of my closest collaborators work in private law firms. Whatever your area of interest, you can develop an expertise to make a meaningful difference.

 

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