When Fern A. Fisher ’78 had to list every place she had ever lived on her New York bar application, she filled two pages. She had moved frequently, as her mother, a domestic violence survivor, was pushed by poverty and evictions to move the family to new homes. On the day Fisher graduated from Harvard Law School, she learned that her mother had just lost her latest home to foreclosure. Fisher’s mother could not understand, therefore, why her daughter turned down the financial security offered by private law firms to take what was then the highly unusual path of pursuing a career in public interest.
In August 2017, after her nomination by President Donald Trump and unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Beth Williams ’04 became assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy in the U.S. Department of Justice. At HLS, she was president of the Harvard Federalist Society. Williams recently received a top award from the Harvard Federalist Society and was designated a 2019 D.C. Rising Star by The National Law Journal. The Bulletin interviewed Williams in the fall.
When Marvin Ammori ’03 was a child, he asked his uncle whether there was MTV in Iraq. His uncle, who stayed in the country for a while after his parents had left, said no: Iraq had only two channels, and both showcased President Saddam Hussein. The lack of options left an impression. “That seemed like an injustice,” Ammori says with a laugh.
Judge Rya Zobel ’56 of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts was among 23 women appointed in 1979 to the federal judiciary, more than double the number of women appointed as federal judges in the previous 190 years. In a group of pioneering women lawyers, her journey to the federal bench was perhaps the most remarkable.