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Ropes & Gray Celebrates Ruth Reardon O’Brien’s Accomplishments

On Oct. 11, Ropes & Gray held a celebratory reception for retired partner Ruth Reardon O’Brien. The reception was held in honor of Ms. O’Brien receiving the “2017 Pioneer Relauncher Award” from iRelaunch, a career reentry organization, which recognized her pioneering return to work after a career break. The Women’s Forum, Boston office and our real estate group were proud to sponsor this event.

Ruth O’Brien was a “re-ttorney” ahead of her time. Having graduated as one of four women in the Yale Law School class of 1956, Ms. O'Brien began her career at Ropes & Gray shortly after completing a judicial clerkship. She worked at the firm until 1960, when she became pregnant with her first child. After ten years at home raising five children, Ms. O'Brien rejoined the firm part-time, and after a brief maternity leave for her sixth child, she rejoined the firm full-time. Ms. O’Brien became the second female partner in the firm’s history in 1978. She retired in 1996, 25 years after she relaunched. In this video, produced by iRelaunch, Ms. O’Brien and her family discuss her unique experience and her inspiring decision to return to work.

Ms. O'Brien's credo was to "always be totally reliable and dependable. Do not ever disappoint your clients, co-workers, or anybody with whom you have a working relationship."

Among those in attendance at Ropes & Gray’s event were many members of Ms. O’Brien’s family, including her son, comedian and late night host Conan O’Brien.

Ruth Readon O'Brien 

Ruth O’Brien receives the 2017 Pioneer Relauncher Award.


Ruth Reardon O’Brien Celebration 

Women’s Forum co-chair Amanda Morrison welcomes honoree Ruth O’Brien, her family and other guests.