March is Women’s History Month – a month to commemorate and draw special attention to the remarkable women who have played a role in shaping our nation through their work, actions, and words. And Lynn Jackson is proud to highlight its very own, Barbara Anderson Lewis.
Barb was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota. She is one of five children. From an early age, Barb was taught the value of hard work and grit. She was expected to keep up with (and often out did) her older brother on the family ranch.
After graduating from Black Hills State University and realizing she had a natural ability to argue, and argue effectively, as well as strong analytical skills, Barb decided to go to law school. Barb relates that her decision was a “stretch for what women did” at that time.
Barb entered law school at the University of South Dakota in 1981. While currently the USD Law School is composed of closer to 50% women and 50% men, Barb recalls women made up only about a third of her class.
When asked if law school was different for women in the early 80’s, Barb boldly explained that it never felt different her. Barb approached law school with an “anything you can do, I can do better” attitude. Having grown up working along side the men in her life, Barb never thought being a woman should make any situation different for her. Barb explained that she never really felt a bias because she was there to do a job, and no one was going to stop her.
With that attitude, Barb became the first woman associate at Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith, PC in Sioux Falls. And the day she had her son, Barb was voted as the first woman partner at Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith.
For 38 years Barb has been an extraordinary member of the legal community. She has represented hundreds of individuals, corporations, and other entities involved in disputes through an active trial practice. Barb has also argued on behalf of clients in appeals to the South Dakota Supreme Court, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
At Lynn Jackson, Barb is affectionately referred to as “Law Mom.” Her calm, even demeanor, vast knowledge, and experience makes her often sought after by her partners and colleagues. Barb has been a powerful mentor to many.
As a fellow woman litigator, I feel immense gratitude to Barb and the path she has paved. Barb exudes what it means to be a litigator. She is impeccable with her words. She teaches put in the work before hand, pay attention to details, know the facts. Timeliness and respectfulness are truths she holds dear. As a result, her reputation in the legal community and with the Court is without exception.
Barb, Lynn Jackson thanks you for being a valuable member of our Firm and making a difference in the legal community.