1952 - Her First Job


The Power of Perseverance

“Miss Day, how well do you type?” This was the question Sandra heard when she applied for a job at a California law firm after she completed Stanford Law. It was a pretty stunning comment. After all, Sandra had been a top law student, graduating third in her class. But as she made the rounds looking for a job, she was either turned away or offered secretarial positions. As with every other firm she applied to, this one told her, “We have never hired a woman as a lawyer here. And we don’t anticipate doing it.” O’Connor was rejected by every law firm she applied to, but she wasn’t about to let that stop her.

She finally convinced the district attorney in San Mateo County, California, that she would be helpful in his office. How did she make it happen? By offering to work for free and share space with his secretary. But a vacancy soon opened up, and O’Connor became a full-fledged deputy county attorney. Around the same time, Sandra married another Stanford Law grad, John O’Connor. Later the couple moved to Germany, where John worked as a lawyer for the U.S. Army and Sandra got a job as a civilian lawyer.