She was an incredibly important influence on my life, and I’ve always been grateful to her for what she did for me.
She taught me how to write – and how to work very, very hard. Even more important, she was my first real professional role model, and she helped to convince me that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. I had really never known a female lawyer before – and certainly not one who was so eminent and so brilliant. During my first year of law school at Columbia (in 1981), there was not a single woman on the tenure track faculty, and although I liked many of the male faculty members, I could never really see myself growing up to be like them. Justice Abrahamson was different. She gave me enormous confidence in myself.
In 1990, that confidence helped convince me to leave the legal profession and begin working on a PhD in American history at UCLA (inspired in part by Justice A’s early career as a legal historian). I earned my PhD in 1998, then spent most of the last 20 years teaching in the History Department at California State University San Marcos. I retired at the end of 2018 so that I could spend more time writing (and enjoying time with my new grandson).