M. Minnette Massey, an original glass ceiling shatterer and leading advocate for diversity, decades before the word entered the popular vernacular, died Sunday at the age of 89.
The fair-haired, green-eyed spitfire was one of the “First Wave,” of fourteen woman pioneers who elbowed their way into the male-dominated world of American law school professors. (Miami Law supplied two others – Soia Mentschikoff and Jeanette Ozanne Smith.) Massey began teaching legal research as an assistant law librarian but rapidly asserted her dominance in the machinations of Florida civil procedure.
M. Minnette Massey
Massey would catch the attention of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, who admired her dazzling intellect and skills as a raconteur. Think Shirley MacLaine, only loads smarter. She ascended to assistant dean, then first woman dean, all the while imprinting armies of young lawyers as masters of the intricacies of litigation and the rightful leaders of their profession. She was a force to behold and used her powers to lead the law school into the integration of both the faculty and student body.
"The University of Miami Law School has lost perhaps its greatest champion," said Charlton Copeland, holder of the first M. Minnette Massey Chair in Law. "She believed in the excellence of this law school. She believed in the excellence of her students. She believed that together they might build a more excellent future.
"But she was not taken with nostalgia or bygone days. Her commitment was a commitment to a more inclusive, more relevant excellence. If that is not the mark of a great institutional and, and civic, champion, I don't know what is. I mourn Minnette's passing, but I also mourn something of the passing of Minnette's vision for Miami Law, for our law students, and for our collective civic lives," Copeland said
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
RIP Minnette Massey
She was the fierce civil procedure professor who taught scores of Florida lawyers to "READ THE RULE!" In many ways though, she was a rule-breaker, shattering old restrictions for women lawyers. She passed away at the age of 89 (via UM Law):