When Nancy Scott Rogers graduated from Emory University and passed the bar exam in 1977, she joined her father’s prominent criminal defense law practice. A few months later, her father died, leaving the young lawyer to run the practice herself.
She proceeded to do so well that, in 1988, she was named president of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Rogers, described as a tough attorney who didn’t suffer fools, was the first female attorney to take the role.
On Friday, the current president of the association, Laura Hogue, presented Rogers with the new Trailblazer Award during a conference held at the State Bar of Georgia’s office in downtown Atlanta.
“Blazing a trail takes guts,” Hogue told the crowd. “She was — she is — a trailblazer.”
Hogue is the 10th woman to lead the organization founded nearly 50 years ago, which supports criminal defense attorneys with seminars, publications and networking. Hogue looked to the left side of the conference room, where a group of women stood.
One by one, Hogue summoned the other eight women who’d been president of the organization to the stage.
All the other female presidents surrounded Rogers and posed for photos as Rogers smiled.
Rogers chose not to make an acceptance speech. But others, especially Hogue, had plenty to say about her, stories of many a court victory fought and won, each one showing other female attorneys in Georgia that they too can find success in a courtroom.
“You’re the reason, you’re the strength that enabled all of us to hold his honored office,” Hogue told Rogers. “And we thank you.”
Later, Rogers said she was honored and surprised by the praise.
“It was really cool,” she said. “It just is very rewarding to see where the organization has gone.”
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