Before she became founding partner of Sholes & Miller, LLP, Sarah Sholes got a glimpse into her future in the early 1970s, while still a high school student. Just prior to the landmark Title IX ruling (protecting students from gender-based discrimination), Sholes led a campaign that forced her school to reorganize its sports programs to include female athletes. More than 40 years later, the legal crusader runs a 12-person, multi-location legal firm, representing healthcare providers from around the Hudson Valley and also investigating Title IX complaints for educational institutions and other nonprofit organizations.
When Sholes graduated from law school and moved to New York City as a trial lawyer, male law students still outnumbered women 4:1. While she experienced her share of discriminatory attitudes, it was her mother’s example that got her through. “My mom was my inspiration and, although not a lawyer, she was a physics teacher and chairperson of a high school science department during a time when working mothers were a minority,” Sholes says. Her mom also served as a board of education member for 15 years and as a county legislator for 10 years.
After a decade of lawyering in Manhattan, Sholes moved to the Valley in 1988 to raise her family; her law firm was founded in 2000. “While New York City was an excellent place to start my career, I love practicing in the Hudson Valley where the practice is much more collegial,” she says.
If you could give your younger self advice, what would you say?
“Nothing. I loved everything about my career.”