LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 29, 2016) — The University of Kentucky College of Law Women’s Law Caucus (WLC) hosted Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine (UK Law ’94) last Tuesday as the first speaker of a new lecture series titled, "Inspirational Women in the Law.”
The idea for the lecture series is credited to Allie Vaughan Miller, a third-year law student and WLC education chair. Through the series, WLC hopes to provide students with access to prominent women attorneys and judges who can serve as an inspiration to both young women and men entering the legal profession.
The first lecture did not disappoint. Goodwine shared with UK Law students her incredible life story and experience on the bench. Those in attendance quickly learned that her path to success was not an easy one. After the passing of the two most important people in her life, her parents, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Her life-threatening health issues eventually led to a procedure to remove her colon. When Goodwine left the hospital, the likelihood of ever working again was slim to none.
But, against all odds, Goodwine recovered, and in 1991 she received her undergraduate degree in management from UK. She went on to receive her juris doctor from UK Law in 1994, and following graduation, joined the firm of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs in Lexington. Many questioned her decision to join a firm with no African-American attorneys. Goodwine responded, “Maybe I will open the door for others, not only for women but for minorities.”
Everyone believed the Youngstown, Ohio, native would one day lose sight of her vision to wear a black robe. But in 1999, she became the first African-American female judge in Fayette County through an appointment, then subsequent election, as a district judge. In 2003, she was elected a circuit judge in Fayette County, a role she has held for 14 years.
“I love my job and I love the impact I have on the circuit court bench,” Goodwine said.
After sharing her story, she answered questions from students and encouraged the next generation of lawyers to be prompt, be professional and be prepared — three qualities she says are on the decline.
“If you remember the three P’s and the Optimist Creed, you’ll all have very promising careers,” said Judge Goodwine as she ended the lecture.
“Judge Goodwine was a perfect fit for our very first speaker in the WLC ‘Inspirational Women in the Law’ Lecture Series,” said Brittany Crouch, third-year law student and president of WLC. “It was great for both our students and members to hear a local judge and UK Law graduate candidly discuss the personal hurdles she encountered on the way to achieving her lifelong dream of becoming a judge. I think her discussion today proved to be a very real and vivid reminder that you can accomplish so much if you believe in yourself and work hard for your goals.”
The Women's Law Caucus is a student organization at UK Law devoted to celebrating and fostering the contributions of women in the legal field. They lead a mentorship program with area attorneys, bring awareness to domestic and sexual violence, provide opportunities for personal and professional development, and host social and networking events in Lexington.
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