ILNews

Prominent employment attorney dies

Jennifer Nelson
September 16, 2008
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Virginia O'Leary, a prominent employment attorney in southern Indiana, died yesterday at the age of 74. O'Leary spent more than 30 years representing women and minorities seeking equal employment opportunities.

"She was the hardest working person we know," said Ginger Rawls, litigation secretary at O'Leary & Associates in Oakland City.

The well-known attorney represented more than 1,000 individual claimants and more than 6,000 class members in employment discrimination and other civil rights cases, according to a nomination form recommending O'Leary for the 2004 Torchbearer Awards presented by the state. She won the honor that year.

"She cared a whole lot about her clients," Rawls said, noting that the clients cared just as much about their attorney.

O'Leary was honored by the Indiana State Bar Association's Women in the Law Committee in 1993 and she received the 1980 Indiana Citizen of the Year award from the Indiana Council for the Social Studies for her work in civil rights.

O'Leary earned her law degree at the University of Louisville in 1971. Prior to becoming an attorney, she worked in Ohio and Kentucky as a teacher.

O'Leary's cause of death is unknown at this time. Rawls said O'Leary had diabetes and had a slight heart attack a few weeks ago, but was improving. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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