Kathleen O'Connor

Lawyer; Owns law firm

One of the places where I think women—or where I had challenges -- was the law profession is not equalized between men and women and that’s also one of the reasons why I’m in my own business.  Men still dominate the legal profession within larger firms in particular.  I would say they, as a whole, make a lot more money, they have wives—they have wives to do their housekeeping, take care of their children and so forth so it’s very different working in an environment where you’re expected to work 70 hours a week.  When it’s the mother who has the children to go home to, it’s very different.  It’s what the expectations are, and especially if you’re a new lawyer, you’re expected to just be there as long as necessary, sometimes 11 o’clock at night.  If the client’s needs demanded it, you just had to do the work: weekends, Sunday mornings, and so during the time that I was working at that rate, even though I was so-called part-time because I was only working 45 hours, I would go home, sometimes eight o’clock at night and I had not seen my children since seven o’clock that morning.  So you do feel that your—the balance is out of balance when that occurs.  It’s always a constant rebalancing act. 

Kathleen O’Connor was born in the Elm Park area of Worcester in 1950, and has lived in Worcester for most of her life. Kathleen discusses her life and memories of growing up in Worcester. She describes how the city has changed over her life, including the closing and opening of stores, facilities, etc., as well as the future plans for the city, what she thinks of it, and what she recommends for the city. Kathleen explains her experience in education, describes how the educational system has changed from what it was, and how it has become more friendly towards women. Kathleen then elaborates on work experience and how she came to work at a law firm. Kathleen says that working at a law firm was tough for her, having to balance time for work with time for her children and her husband, who was in declining health. Kathleen also shares personal memories, how the Vietnam War educational strikes inspired her to pursue law, and how her family life affected her education.

Interview
Interview Date: 
March 14, 2011
Transcript: 
Interview Focus: