The American Lawyer Features Story on Pioneering Alumna Dr. Pauli Murray

April 16, 2018

The American Lawyer published a feature article on April 16 about Paul, Weiss’s sponsorship of a new play about alumna Dr. Pauli Murray, “To Buy the Sun: The Challenge of Pauli Murray.” Murray, the firm's first African-American woman associate, practiced at the firm in the 1950s and went on to become a trailblazer for gender and racial equality. The original play by Lynden Harris exploring Murray's life and place in history was recently performed at Howard, Yale, Columbia and the historic St. Paul's Chapel at Trinity Church Wall Street. Corporate partner Amran Hussein, co-chair of the firm’s diversity committee, was quoted in the article discussing the significance of Murray’s unique contribution to the history of Paul, Weiss.

In her autobiography, Murray recalled her experience at Paul, Weiss as “decisive for my future growth,” writing, “When I left the firm after three years, I carried with me the assurance of having been tested by the most exacting standards of the legal profession, an experience that enabled me to face new challenges with greater self-confidence.” Thurgood Marshall referred to Murray’s 750-page book on segregation as “the bible” that lay behind his arguments in the landmark desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

Murray would later write to Judge Rifkind to express gratitude for her transformative time at the firm, in a letter preserved in the firm’s archive: “I often think of you and the model of professional excellence you represented to me when I was an associate in the bullpen of the Litigation Department. You will never know how much it meant to me to work with you.”

In the article, Amran comments, “It’s such a part of the Paul, Weiss story. There were just so many firsts with her... I’m standing on her shoulders without even knowing it.”

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