INTERVIEW OF JUDGE HOGAN SCOLA
Taken by: Amber Kornreich
● How did you become involved in MDFAWL?
You’re going to love this. In 1980, I was a law student, and they had just started the Miami-Dade Chapter of FAWL. There was already a chapter in Tallahassee. They recruited folks at the law school. I remember going to the first meeting we had. We had at least two (2) male members: Judge Michael Salmon and Federal Magistrate Judge Ted Klein. At the time, it became the Dade-County Florida Association “for” Women Lawyers, rather than “of” Women Lawyers, which is how it was originally. . We had our first meeting in Key Biscayne near the Sand Dollar. It was really fun. Judge Joan Lenard was one of the members then, and I think Edith Osman was there. She was a year behind me in law school. Ellen Leesfield was also a founding member. It was really uplifting. It was a small group, but a close-knit group. It went in fits and starts. There were times our membership was larger and times it was smaller. I was involved throughout. Once I got established as a lawyer, I became more involved.
● What is your best memory from your years in MDFAWL?
My best memory was, when Edith Osman was President of The Florida Bar, we had the First 150 Women Lawyers Celebration. I was either Vice President or President then; it was around 1999-2000. It was during the Elian Gonzalez debacle. Janet Reno was our featured guest, and there were large protests outside. We had a big dinner party on Miami Beach. We put together an entire booklet working with women from all over the state in various chapters. We put together the biographies of the 150 women who were the original women lawyers. I spearheaded the video project. We had a videographer, and we went to the still-living 150 women lawyers around town. They became honored guests at the Celebration, and we showed the video of these living women who were the original lawyers. There was also a Black Women Lawyers Organization (it may not have been named after Gwen S. Cherry yet), and they also did highlighted first African-American Women Lawyers in Florida. The only bad part was all the protests. That was sad, but it was generally an excellent event. I have a copy of the book still. I don’t have a copy of the video, but a year or two ago, someone told me they went somewhere and they played it, and at the end it said: “Produced, Directed and Coordinated by Jacqueline Hogan Scola.” I wasn’t a judge yet.
● What is the one piece of advice you wish someone told you when you were a junior attorney/just starting out?
All women start out thinking: “If I’m smarter and work harder than men, I’ll be as successful as men.” That’s not what it’s about. You have to get out there, meet people, and make connections; it really is who you know as much as what you know. It’s especially important to bond with other women. Make connections and keep them up.
● What is your favorite MDFAWL program?
I like the Past Presidents Brunch because it brings former Presidents back into the fold. I don’t know if you have noticed this, but after you’re the President, you are put out to pasture. Past Presidents have a lot to offer and want to stay involved.
● Who inspires you?
Many of my good friends who have figured out the life-work balance and do it with grace and panache. Too many to list here.
● What do you think is the biggest issue facing women in the law today?
It’s always been, and continues to be, life balance. I do think, for instance, with our Parental Leave Rule of Judicial Administration proposal, that it’s just one of many examples of ways the world is getting smarter about accommodating the whole person. Everything in life has to come from the new generation. The old generation is stuck in their old ways. The guys are out golfing, and the women still aren’t networking like they should. They network at baby parties and PTA meetings; that’s the tough part. The new generation is going to get it. When I became President, my speech described the greatest moment of my life. One day, I turned to my child who wasn’t feeling well, and I told him: “I’m taking you to a specialist.” We had a female pediatrician, dentist, and veterinarian at the time. My son said: “What’s her name?” I said: “It’s not a woman doctor.” He asked: “Can men be doctors, too?” My sons are real feminists. They will be great fathers. One of my sons is already a great husband. He cooks for his wife every night. He moved to NYC to support her career. This younger generation sees you and me out there in the work world. The biggest gift we can give kids is to model for them a two (2) income, two (2) parent working family where we are going to work together. That’s where it will come from. All change is generational.
● What are you doing now?
I’m wrapping up my judicial career in the next 6 months. I am going to retire from the Bench and try my hand at mediating and arbitrating. If I don’t like it, I’ll teach yoga. I’m hoping I can have more flexibility, make money, travel with my husband and see my kids. If my kids reproduce, I will be “stalker granny” as well as a “granny nanny.”
● Anything else you would like to share?
It’s important that everyone – especially women – we work so hard, personally and professionally – women lawyers – that we be physically active. That is a touchstone in my life, making sure I have time to do something – even just a brisk walk, something to secure my body as my temple, my vessel. Women are focused on personal appearance. But being mentally and physically healthy – they are one and the same. I urge everyone to do the same.