Patricia Ireland brings a unique perspective to her practice in labor law. Before beginning a career as an attorney. Ireland worked as a flight attendant for Pan Am. After discovering gender-based discrepancies in the treatment of insurance coverage for spouses of employees. Ireland brought a formal complaint and fought for a change in coverage. Her first victory came when the United States Department of Labor ruled in her favor and she immediately began law school and performing volunteer work for the National Organization for Women. She has advocated extensively for the rights of poor women, gays and lesbians, and African-American women. She has also advocated electing female candidates and training people to defend clinics from pro-life protesters around the United States.
As an attorney in practice from 1975 to 1987, she represented Eastern Airlines flight attendants’ union in grievances and in enforcing the rights of union representatives. As the longest-serving president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) from 1991 to 2001, Ms. Ireland picketed, marched, and spoke at rallies for labor campaigns across the country and worked with unions on ballot measures, legal issues, and legislation. Ireland was former Senator Carol Moseley Braun's national campaign manager during Braun's 2004 presidential bid. Ms. Ireland has advocated for clients by negotiating, mediating, and arbitrating employment and labor disputes, as well as teaching negotiations as an adjunct professor at University of Miami School of Law.
The University of Western Massachusetts College of Law, University of Rhode Island, Indiana University and Sweetbriar College have all awarded her honorary degrees. She is currently working on a second book to follow her political autobiography, What Women Want.
University of Miami School of Law; J.D., 1975
University of Tennessee; B.A., 1966
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
Labor & Employment Section of the Florida Bar
Former President of National Organization for Women (1991-2001)
What Women Want. New York: Dutton, 1996.