A LIFE IN THE LAW
A Woman Lawyer’s Life in Post-World War II Albuquerque, New Mexico
By Mary M. Dunlap with Mary Kay Stein
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In 1949, when attorney Mary M. Dunlap moved her law practice and her young children from urban Denver, Colorado to their new home in Albuquerque, New Mexico she had no idea what was waiting for her, starting literally at the first stoplight in town. Her career would span more than forty years, bringing her into daily contact with crafty politicians, pueblo Indians, justices of the peace, and an improbable cast of clients—from nuclear scientists and Ziegfeld Follies stars to arsonists, hoboes, and petty criminals. And, to make life more interesting, she and her husband and their children ran a small farm at the same time. The days started early, the work was hard, and then it was time to go to the office, where the day was long, the work was hard, and then it was time to go home. She recalled that she was challenged by men who said that she couldn’t be a real lawyer because she was a woman, or had calluses on her hands or because she drove a pickup. They all changed their minds once they got into court.
Mary Kay Stein, the oldest daughter of Mary M. Dunlap, is president of MD Communications, in Tucson, Arizona. She is a longtime medical writer and editor and also is owner of Desert Light Photography, also in Tucson. Mary Kay is the author of continuing education textbooks for nurses, including Caring for the AIDS Patient; Child Abuse; The Spectrum of HIV Infections; Lifetime Weight Control; Substance Abuse: Guidelines for Professionals; AIDS: A Short Course for Nurses; and Cardiovascular Disease, Evaluation and Prevention. Her poetry appears in Arizona: 100 Years, 100 Poems, 100 Poets. Mary Kay grew up in Corrales, New Mexico and met and knew many of her mother’s fellow attorneys and clients.
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