Mary Schroeder (1965)  

Reminiscences of the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder

Attending the University of Chicago Law School in the early 1960s was not for the faint hearted. Those were the days before Burton-Judson became co-ed; before any color other than grey appeared on the campus facades across the midway, and before global warming. When my mother saw my first year apartment, in an isolated tenement that passed for graduate women’s housing at 55th and Ellis, she cried. The only reason she did not haul me out of there physically was because leaving my roommate there alone was tantamount to reckless endangerment.

Yet, somehow, I, along with my five female classmates, persevered. And we succeeded. One of us has had a spectacular career as a prosecutor, another as a plaintiffs’ employment lawyer and another is a law school dean.

One reason, no doubt, was that we received a better legal education than our peers who attended other law schools, even the other so called “prestigious” ones. I learned this early on in my career at the Department of Justice litigating government contract cases. There I steadfastly applied my perceptions of Malcolm Sharp’s enigmatic teachings, as I pursued my oxymoronic task of making the government’s position appear to represent the fair result. As I learned later, in private practice, when I was on the other side, I probably won many more cases for the government than I should have – thanks to Malcolm Sharp.

This may all suggest that I have had a love late relationship with the Law School -- but now as it celebrates its 100th year, love is in the ascendency. I express my gratitude for the education I received and the friendships I forged among students and faculty. These include especially my husband Milton and my lifelong friend Bernie Meltzer. And this March, as always, I will close my Phoenix office for an afternoon to attend a Cubs’ spring training game and to celebrate “Harry Kalven Day.”