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Raising the Bar: A Lawyer's Memoir


Raising the Bar: A Lawyer's Memoir

In this dynamic memoir, Ruth Rymer’s deep longing for independence and recognition is gradually transmuted into her abilities as a lawyer. While in college studying music in the 1950s, Rymer envisioned for herself a typical female existence. She might enjoy a career until she gets married, at which point it would become a mere sideline to staying at home and raising children while her husband goes to the office and brings home the paycheck. Such was the thinking in that era.

When Rymer met Sherwin Miller and fell happily in love, wedding bells were ringing in their future until her parents learned that Sherwin was Jewish. Their reaction, especially that of her coldly dictatorial father, was sudden, almost violent. He issued threats of utter rejection if she were to marry a man who, simply by his implied race and religion, might sully his own chances of success in life. But Rymer did marry Sherwin, a medical student whose education and career naturally overshadowed hers.

"Rymer’s story is told in simple terms, expressing the sorrows, joys and frustrations with which any female can readily identify."

Eventually Sherwin would prove as narcissistic and domineering as Rymer’s father. When the swinging 1960s rolled in, Rymer would find herself betrayed multiple times by Sherwin, but was finally able to pursue her own ambition to become a lawyer, fulfilling the sense of personal pride and accomplishment for which she secretly longed.

Rymer’s story is told in simple terms, expressing the sorrows, joys and frustrations with which any female can readily identify. This proves that, along with her erudition and numerous achievements and honors, she knows how to spin a good yarn. She depicts not only the alienation from family that gave her such pain as a young woman, but also a reconciliation in later years with her mother, her dedication to helping less privileged people, especially those embroiled in marital conflict, and her deep loyalty and support of her children. That love is felt most poignantly when her second son passes away, which is described in emotive language that brings this sort of tragedy to the minds and hearts of all loving parents.

Rymer avers that of all the qualities she could have adopted in the conflicts she experienced, she chose not rebellion but resilience. In 2008, she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Queen’s Bench Bar Association, which, like her, seeks to enhance and enhearten the path of women in the realm of jurisprudence. Now, in her older and even wiser years, Rymer offers RAISING THE BAR for her family, for anyone approaching a legal career, and for ambitiously striving women of any age and clime.

Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott on April 8, 2022

Raising the Bar: A Lawyer's Memoir
by Ruth Rymer

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2022
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 1662832044
  • ISBN-13: 9781662832048