Judge Diane Ward's Rejection From Anthropology Programs Led Her To Law

, Daily Business Review


Diane V. Ward
Diane V. Ward

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Diane Ward might have been an anthropologist, if any of the grad schools she applied to had accepted her.

They didn't. The University of Miami School of Law did.

That was after she'd gone to live with a family in Iran and almost got stuck there.

In short, her path to the law, and the bench, was anything but conventional. In fact, she applied to law school only after she ran out of money in Panama and wound up as a bartender in Fort Lauderdale.

"I knew I didn't want to turn 30 tending bar," she said.

Her unconventional path in life and perhaps her wanderlust may have been in her blood.

The daughter of a stage actor, Ward was born in New York, lived her early years in Boulder, Colo., was in Washington when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and wound up in Pompano Beach as she hit her teens.

She ended up in an experimental program at Nova High School—effectively the kids could study just about anything they wanted to. Or not.

"It was just a wonderful creative time," she said.

When she graduated, she picked a college as far across the continent as she could get, Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore.

What's being said

  • not available

    She reads, asks excellent questions, and is able to master unfamiliar fields.

  • not available

    I know why the law schools took her. She gets it.

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