Law and Conversation

December 12, 2012

R.I.P. Mary Lee Leahy

Filed under: Law,lawyers,women — Helen Gunnarsson @ 10:08 pm

I am very sad to learn that Mary Lee Leahy, a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, who had many cases before me when I was an administrative law judge at the Illinois Human Rights Commission, passed away today. She was not only a lovely person but a wonderful lawyer with a long and distinguished career. You can read transcripts of interviews in which she recounts some great stories from her practice online at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. My deepest sympathy to her family.


  1. One of Illinois’ brightest lights is out tonight. I was privileged to know her personally and awed to witness her work on behalf of workers in this state. She was one of a kind with a big heart, beautiful eyes and a spine of steel. She put the fear of God in state government bureacrats that deserved to shake in her wake. Thank you Mary Lee. You certainly fought the good fight. God help workers now that she’s gone. There’s a war on workers going on all over and the general in the defense team is gone. God Bless Her.

    Comment by Valeri DeCastris — December 13, 2012 @ 4:02 am | Reply

    • Mary Lee was always pleasant and professional, even when I was a very new and inexperienced ALJ. As a former colleague noted, there are not many lawyers in Springfield or anywhere else who can claim that they argued and won not one but two important U.S. Supreme Court cases.

      Comment by Helen Gunnarsson — December 13, 2012 @ 7:51 am | Reply

  2. What an interesting life! I hope that others will follow her example of caring for workers and people who are ordinary citizens, not part of the powerful.

    Comment by Rachel Tickner — December 14, 2012 @ 8:35 am | Reply

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