The Working Woman in Law

Since the beginning of time, women have traditionally been known as the caregiver, the child-bearer, and many more stereotypes representing the personification of what a woman “should” be. Fulfilling the role of house-wife, child-bearer, and other traditionally gendered jobs is good, challenging, and needed. The limits placed on what a woman should be (based on society’s perceptions of what she was capable of doing) is where the issue lies.

However, the American Civil War drastically changed the “role” of a woman and what the average “house-wife” was able to do. Women have since taken the roles of lead political figures, CEO’s of fortune companies and the like, paving a future that envisions women capable of more.

Take Arabella Mansfield for example. In 1869, four years after the Civil War ended, she was admitted to the Iowa Bar, making her the first female lawyer in the United States. During this time, an Iowa state law only allowed white males, 21 or older, to take the exam. At the age of 23, Arabella not only challenged the law and won, but also passed the exam with high scores. In the same year, Iowa became the first state to change its licensing law to allow women and minorities to be accepted into its bar. Other states followed and, just three years later in 1872, the first minority woman, Charlotte E. Ray, was the first Black American female lawyer in the United States admitted to the bar in the District of Colombia.

According to Britannica, Mansfield went on to become a university professor at Iowa Wesleyan, while also serving as an activist in the organization of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Society. The Rudnicki Firm celebrates and keeps the memory of women like Arabella Mansfield and Charlotte E. Ray alive for the simple lesson of not taking “no” for an answer.

Without the courage of Arabella and other monumental figures like Women’s Suffrage Leader Carrie Chapman Catt and Jeannette Pickering Rankin (the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives), our 100% woman-owned and managed law firm would cease to exist.

Attorney Margaret Meier, a partner here at the Rudnicki Firm and Iowa native says this about Mansfield’s precedent. “I’ve always been proud to be from Iowa and fellow Iowan Arabella Mansfield pioneering her way into the law is just one of the reasons why. I admire her that she was unwilling to accept the status quo.”

Ms. Meier also serves as co-chair of the National Association of Women Lawyers Membership Committee, the same organization that honors the legacy of Mansfield through the Arabella Mansfield Award. This award recognizes women who illustrate the same dedication and grit that Arabella did in her lifetime.

“[Arabella] found a way,” says Meier, “through hard work, dedication, and perseverance to get what she wanted and also single-handedly paved the road for thousands of women lawyers who followed her, including me and the dynamic group of woman at The Rudnicki Firm who are pioneering our way as a women-owned, operated, and led firm.”

Today, there are more than 400,000 women attorneys who make up just over 1 in 3 (38 percent) of lawyers*. Arabella Mansfield is undoubtedly inspiring, not only for what she achieved but also for something that is personified by the female attorneys that work at The Rudnicki Firm today – grit.


*Information from the United States Census Bureau as of May 08, 2018 https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2018/05/women-lawyers.html

The Rudnicki Firm Celebrates June Wins!

This summer’s heat doesn’t stop the Rudnicki Firm from steamrolling in with the wins. This month, The Rudnicki Firm’s “Brief This!” Lip-sync group, brought down the house and took home the prize for best Lip Sync performance during the Oklahoma Bar Foundation’s Rock the Foundation – Lip Sync Fundraiser! The event was hosted by the Oklahoma Bar Foundation for its Access for Justice Program, a program that helps individuals obtain pro bono and low-cost legal help when they otherwise couldn’t afford it.

“We were all excited to participate in this event because it was supporting a great cause. We had a great time preparing for the event and participating with our peers,” said Jennifer Warren, attorney at the Rudnicki Firm.

The event raised $26,094 for its first fundraiser debut and even though “Brief This!” experienced some technical difficulty in their final part of the performance, the ever-adaptable women of The Rudnicki Firm finished a cappella, further representing how Access to Justice will not let lower income or other disadvantages get in the way of providing legal services to all, no matter their situation.

Next up, The Rudnicki Firm's own Kristin Meloni was awarded the Oklahoma County Bar Associations Outstanding Young Lawyers Division Director Award at the 2019 OCBA Annual Awards Luncheon this month! Kristin has been a member of the Oklahoma County Bar Association YLD since 2016.

“I am so honored to have been selected for this prestigious award! I look forward to my continued involvement with the OCBA YLD,” said Kristin Meloni.

Last but not least, The Rudnicki Firm's Managing Partner Leah Rudnicki was honored as a 2019 Super Lawyer.

“I’m happy to be joining the ranks of such stellar lawyers like Mike E. Smith, Stan Ward and others,” said Leah Rudnicki.

Rudnicki Firm Partner Meredith Wolfe was also peer-nominated and selected for the 2019 Super Lawyers Rising Stars!

“I’m honored to be recognized by the legal community and appreciate being included among this list of outstanding lawyers,” said Meredith Wolfe.

Leah and Meredith are already considered super lawyers around the firm, and we are thrilled to see them receive this outside recognition. See the profiles of all of The Rudnicki Firm’s June winners at the following links: Meredith Wolfe 2019 Rising Star; Leah Rudnicki 2019 Super Lawyer; and Kristin Meloni Outstanding YLD Director.

Attorney Spotlight - Meredith W. Wolfe

 

Meredith Wolfe joined The Rudnicki Firm as a Partner in February 2018. She earned both her B.A. in History and, later, her J.D. from the University of Oklahoma and has been practicing law for nearly a decade. Meredith has worked closely with high profile governors and judges and most recently has become well-versed in consumer defense while a member of the team at The Rudnicki Firm that serves as national counsel for a collection agency. While in law school, Meredith earned the American Achievement Award for the highest grade in Contracts, the Paul K. Frost II Memorial Award, and the Best Brief Award from the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Team. Meredith also served as an Articles Editor on the American Indian Law Review and was named the best second year law student on that publication.

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Who is Meredith, other than a rock star attorney? She is an Oklahoma native from Seminole who has five younger siblings. She is also a wife to her loving husband, Mike Wolfe and mother of fraternal twins, Georgia and James.

Meredith loves to read in her spare time, especially non-fiction and World War II history books. She is particularly interested in this time period because both of her grandfathers served in the navy during World War II. Meredith also enjoys learning more about the Great Depression era as that time period was such an important influence on the life of her hero – her grandmother, Paris. Paris grew up as one of six children during the worst economic downturn in modern history.

“My grandmother’s family mortgaged the family cow so that she could afford a train ticket to Philadelphia to get a job with the civil service. She was a very independent and strong woman. Education was very important to her, and she always regretted not being able to go to college,” says Wolfe.

With the emphasis of education ingrained in Meredith’s upbringing, she pursued a career in law because she knew it’d be a job that would be intellectually challenging but, at the same time, she’d be able to help others in the best way she could.

“I like that working [at The Rudnicki Firm] challenges me, and that I’m able to work closely with our clients” says Wolfe.

However, if Meredith didn’t go on to be lawyer she would have become a professional chef. Cooking is one of her passions and one of her favorite things to do outside of work. Currently, she enjoys watching “The Great American Baking Show” with her children.

In addition to cooking, Meredith loves to show her horses. She is the proud owner of two Morgan horses - Jubilee and Lucy. Meredith has also traveled to all 77 counties in the state of Oklahoma and studied abroad in Spain while in college.

With all the experience, merits, and awards Meredith has collected over her educational and legal career, the one addition she is most proud of on her resume is working at The Rudnicki Firm. Likewise, The Rudnicki Firm is honored to have her as part of the team.

The Rudnicki Firm Starts the New Year on Two Good “Feat”

The Rudnicki Firm Celebrates Sharon Thomas and is honored by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® 2019.

OKLAHOMA CITY, January 15, 2019 - The Rudnicki Firm is pleased to announce that the firm’s very own Appellate Counsel, Sharon Thomas, is recognized by The Best Lawyers in America ® 2019 for Oil & Gas and Energy Law. In addition, The Rudnicki Firm has received a second-tier ranking in Oklahoma City for Energy Law and Oil & Gas Law by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® for the Ninth Edition of “Best Law Firms”.

“I feel honored to be recognized by The Best Lawyers in America ® 2019.  I will do my best to merit this recognition,” said Sharon Thomas.

With nearly 40 years of practicing law, Sharon specializes in appellate litigation. She is also well-versed Oil & Gas Law and Environmental and Commercial Litigation. Sharon’s outstanding reputation as an attorney in Oklahoma is well-deserved as her practice has benefited both her clients and The Rudnicki Firm. The Rudnicki Firm, in turn, is honored to have the opportunity to have her on the team.

Receiving a second-tier ranking in Oklahoma City for Energy Law and Oil & Gas Law by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® for the Ninth Edition of “Best Law Firms”, is a significant honor for the firm, especially considering that this is the second year the firm has been in business. The Rudnicki Firm is very honored by this acknowledgment. However, building strong relationships with clients, while also keeping the client’s needs first, will always be the firm's end goal.

For more information about The Rudnicki Firm, visit www.rudnickifirm.com.