From the moment I heard about Phyllis Gratz Poff’s career, I was intrigued. When I met her in person, I was awestruck.
BizVoice® magazine profiles Poff (at age 87, she’s Indiana’s longest-practicing female attorney) in our current issue, which features a special law firm section. I traveled to her downtown office in Auburn, which she’s occupied for 45-plus years.
During an impromptu lunch, we ran into attorney Eric Weber who affectionately proclaimed, “She’s a legend around here!” At least a handful of others acknowledged her with a hug, a wave or chat.
Young attorneys in the area starting their careers often seek guidance from Poff. “Just as I did (in her early days),” she observes.
In addition to knowledge and experience, what makes her such a vital part of the community is her spirit:
- Grit: In 1953, she graduated from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago (she was the only female in her class.)
- Civic service: Between 1960 and 1964, Poff served as the attorney for DeKalb County and Watlerloo, her hometown. In addition, she presided as Auburn city judge (1967 to 1979), among other roles.
- Resilience: She refuses to surrender to cancer and other health issues. Three weeks after having back surgery, for instance, she returned to work. My jaw dropped upon learning this! Poff didn’t bat an eye. Why? Devotion to clients is a way of life.
During our chat, she tells childhood stories, shares legal lessons and imparts words of wisdom: “You can never give up on the human race,” she reflects.
I was so inspired, I asked her to take a photo with me to commemorate my visit. It’s one I’ll cherish.
Read more about Poff in BizVoice (starting on page 19).