In 1968, Betty Boone became the first female president of First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego. As only the second woman to graduate from the University of San Diego School of Law she was truly a trailblazer. “I went to San Diego State University to enroll in a Master’s program, and while I was there I just happened to hear someone mention that there was a law school at USD. So I took the kids back home, called up the law school and found out they were enrolling that night!” For the next five years, Betty worked full time as legal secretary while attending law school at night. “I started with 78 classmates, all men except me. By midterm we were down to 28."
After graduating from law school, her biggest challenge was finding a job because neither private law firms or government offices would hire female attorneys. Through perseverance she did finally get a position and quickly excelled. As the first female attorney in the Office of the San Diego County Counsel, Boone specialized in Administrative Law and School Law; providing legal counsel to school boards and school administrators. When she left the Office of County Counsel in 1981, there were ten female attorneys employed in the office. She continued her career as an Independent Hearing Officer for both the city and county of San Diego. In 2013 she was inducted into the San Diego Women’s Hall of Fame for her efforts to increase the hiring of female attorneys in San Diego in the 1960’s. Today Betty lives in La Jolla where there are enough female attorneys to gather for dinner once a month and share stories. She also volunteers, swims regularly and still actively participates with the Lawyer’s Club of San Diego.
“When I tried to get a job and they told me they weren’t hiring women, I knew then that I was a pioneer.” ~ Betty Boone
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