After spending two decades as a private practice trial lawyer, Shirley shifted the focus of her career to public service. She credits WFS with instilling in her the many values needed to be an effective U.S. Magistrate Judge.
How did you choose to be a magistrate judge?
I became a lawyer because the idea of helping people resolve problems has always appealed to me. After working almost two decades as a trial lawyer in private practice, I wanted to apply my skills and professional experience in a broader way and to a broader audience. I realized that only public service would give me that reach and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as a federal magistrate judge.
What are your current interests and passions?
I am lucky to have a job that incorporates many of my interests and passions: reading, writing, and helping people. I started running 20 years ago and though I run much less now, running continues to be a passion. I still write the occasional poem, love all genres of music, enjoy cooking, and spending time with my family.
How has WFS impacted you since graduation?
WFS gave me a solid foundation for the future and played a significant role in mapping the blueprint for what followed after graduation. It was at Friends that I first learned the importance of being still, mindful, and contemplative in meeting for worship (a practice I follow today); it was at Friends that I deepened my love for all poetry and literature in Mr. Brown’s class; it was at Friends in Mrs. Holmes Algebra 2 class that I gained confidence in my ability to find solutions to problems that differed from the book’s approach and sometimes the teacher’s approach; it was at Friends that l learned to respect and value different religions and cultures and learned to value social reformers like Dr. Martin Luther King even before his impact was being acknowledged nationally. This foundation helped to develop qualities like intellectual curiosity and desire for the evenhanded administration of justice that are important to being a judge.