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Focus Stories

Grace Glavin Law

by Michael Kramer

Featured Photo from Grace Glavin Law

"The apple never falls far from the tree.” 

In the case of Grace Anne Glavin, the adage is right on the money. Since Grace was five years old, her fondest dream was to become an attorney. And it’s not difficult to understand why. 

Her father interrupted his attendance at Albany Law School to enlist in the Army during World War II. After the war he pursued a career in law enforcement administration for the New York Central Railroad, Amtrak, and Conrail. 

“My dad wasn’t content to just retire from his railroad job,” says Grace, “so he became the justice in Onondaga County, Manlius, New York.” 
Grace was also influenced by her mother, who was a prominent New Deal Democrat and crony of the then- Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. 
“I suppose a career in law for their only child was a logical path, but was it their path or mine?” muses Grace. “It didn’t matter though. I loved the law and to advocate for people.” Grace was always on every debate team through school. She then majored in government at Smith College and graduated cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law. 

Grace also had the honor of being the first and only woman lawyer employed at Hiscock, Lee, Rogers, Henley & Barclay, a renowned banking and general civil practice firm in Syracuse. It was certainly a feather in her cap after attending a law school for three years in a class with only five percent women. 

“While the firm employed well over 100 male attorneys, it hired no other women for the five years that I was there,” Grace recalls. “I was the first and only female attorney at the courthouse in downtown Syracuse.” But it was not an easy path   for Grace.

“I was not allowed by the courthouse to use the male attorneys’ cloak room,” says Grace. “After walking six blocks to the courthouse in the Syracuse blizzards, I had no place to put my boots and coat. Such are the things that you remember as a young person.” 

Nevertheless, the attorneys at the firm and in the city were very fair and kind to Grace, who received an invaluable education as a young practitioner. 

“I was taught to look at the big picture in every case and to treat every judge and opposing attorney and litigant with a smile,” Grace points out. “The cases come and go, but your reputation of helping people stays with you permanently.”

And that has been Grace’s mission since becoming an attorney. She has helped thousands of families and businesses through good and bad economic times. 

“That is why I am an attorney,” Grace says proudly. 

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