Highlighting Jessica Rafferty (Women’s History Month)
March 19, 2021
Hello, this is Vince Quatrini here today to talk to you about Women’s History Month, and three women who have made a difference in our law firm: Tereasa Rerko, Joyce-Novotny Prettiman, and Jessica Rafferty.
Jessica Rafferty is the daughter of Dennis Rafferty, my partner and my friend since first grade. I’ve watched Jessica grow up into a fine attorney. The steps she took to get here, you need to know about, because it’s what defines Jessica beyond her knowledge of the law. She went to Bucknell. She went to George Mason Law School. But, before she entered the practice, she took a detour into the Peace Corps. In Honduras. Think about that when you’re sitting in front of Jessica and she’s giving you legal advice. That’s pretty impressive. And, what she’s done as life has gone on is get involved in causes of young people separate and apart from her expertise in her areas of practice.
CASA is a group that helps support children who have been removed from a home because of abuse. Jessica is one of those court appointed individuals. Jessica is also been involved with what I love, Animal Friends. Her passion for animal welfare is contagious, and it’s again, just a different piece of her personality you don’t get to see.
Would you want to know that Jessica has run the Boston marathon, and many other marathons? Think about the discipline it takes to accomplish that. Those are the women of QuatriniRafferty. Jessica Rafferty, being involved also in the Latrobe Youth Commission, is one of those individuals that we’re proud of.
Hi everyone! I’m Jessica Rafferty. I’m an attorney at QuatriniRafferty, and welcome to our celebration of Women’s History Month. So, things are kind of slow as far as gender equality goes, but I do believe that society as a whole is starting to change their perception of women and what women are capable of doing. And I’ve seen that in my own family, as I’m sure many of you have.
So for example, my dad, he was one of eight children. There were seven boys and one girl in his household. It was a very male-dominated household. My Grandpop was a football coach at St. Vincent college and a teacher there. My grandma stayed at home and she took care of the house. She did the cleaning, cooking, everybody’s laundry. She never learned how to drive and she relied on my grandpa a lot to take her where she needed to go.
My dad who grew up in that household had a different perspective on things, and I think part of that was due to societal changes, part of it was due to him marrying my mom. But, I think a pretty big part of it was due to the fact that he had two kids, and they were both girls. And I will tell you as a little girl, I never once thought that I could not do everything that a boy could do. And, my parents were really focused on making sure that my sister and I realized that.
I remember I was probably six years old, my sister would have been about four, and my parents took us to a boys basketball game at Latrobe Highschool. And we were watching the boys play, and my mom pointed out the cheerleaders, and they were all girls. And my dad was very quick to say “You know you don’t have to cheer for anybody. You can be the one playing.” And it was nothing to do with it wasn’t anything negative against the cheerleaders, he just wanted us to know that we had options, and we could do anything we wanted to do. And that really stuck with me, and my sister and I both went on to play all kinds of sports in high school, and then into college actually, and my mom, my dad, and my grandpap were some of our biggest cheerleaders.
So, fast forward probably about 15 years and I was a young woman that was interested in becoming an attorney. And, I had the opportunity to meet Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Whether you love her or hate her, agree with her or disagree with her, there is no question that this woman was a force. And, she really was a trailblazer. And so when I met Ruth Bader Ginsburg she wasn’t an intimidating person at all. She wasn’t large in stature, she was very soft-spoken. And up until that point, my image of an attorney was a man. And more specifically, my dad, who was a six-foot-tall, six-foot-two-tall, guy who can be very intimidating, and he knows he can and he uses that to his advantage with his clients when he’s representing them, as he should. But, I am not that. But, when I met Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I realized I didn’t have to be. And to be a strong advocate for my client, I didn’t have to be like the men I saw as attorneys when I was a kid growing up. I could develop my own style and I could be just as big a force in the courtroom as my male counterparts.
So, my advice to any women or girls out there is actually advice from Dolly Parton and that is “Figure out who you are, and do it on purpose.” And really, I believe if you do that, the world’s going to be a much better place.
Thank you guys so much! Have a wonderful day!