Selma Paty's Legacy

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Much has been said of the accolades of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and rightfully so.  I wanted to remind everyone that Chattanooga had its own lady attorney who made many in-roads for females in the legal field.

Selma (Sunny) Paty actually began her legal career before Justice Ginsburg.  She likewise was Jewish and being a female in the 1950's, when she started her practice, was not easy.  She faced many obstacles in a male-oriented profession but she certainly overcame them.

Selma started her law practice and developed a tremendous practice and reputation.  She mentored many lady attorneys who were starting out in the profession.  Some in her own family.

She was so well respected within the legal community that she was selected as president of the Chattanooga Bar Association; president of the Chattanooga Trial Lawyers Association as well as serving as an officers for the Tennessee Bar Association, the Tennessee Juvenile Court Commission and the Tennessee Commission on Status of Women supporting the rights of women.

Selma passed away a few years back but her legacy lives on.  She touched many lives.  Female lawyers and judges of Chattanooga, Hamilton County and Tennessee should be extremely grateful for the progress Selma made for females in the legal profession.

Russell Bean


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