July 1, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News Jacksonville couple has been practicing for 50 years Jan Pudlow Senior Editor She was the only woman when she entered law school in 1949 at the University of Florida, back in a time 45 men would stand against the blackboard waiting for her to leave the classroom first.He was a certified public accountant in Atlanta, lured to law school by his young wife, graduating a year later from UF in 1955.Together, June and A.B. Blackburn had double reason to celebrate when the 50-year members of The Florida Bar gathered at Annual Meeting in Orlando.The Jacksonville duo, married since December 1950, each boast at least 50 years as Florida lawyers.June C. Blackburn, a retired Duval County judge, says of her tax-lawyer husband: “I am proud of the fact that he is honest, and how he treats these elderly people who don’t have children to look after them. He is concerned that nobody scams these women, his clients who are in their 80s and 90s, and one lady is 101. He has always looked out for people. When they have to go to the hospital, they call A.B. to take their jewelry to the bank.”And A.B. Blackburn, Jr., who still practices law with their son Bryan at Blackburn & Blackburn, says of his wife: “I have been proud of her all the time. She speaks softly and carries a big stick.”“He doesn’t think I’m afraid of anybody,” adds June, who doesn’t dispute that.“You know, June had an uphill battle because the mentality of most people back then was male. I give her credit that it took guts to stick it out,” A.B. says of his feisty wife, who was a freshman in law school while he was finishing up his bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting.To hear June tell it, she was always comfortable in a man’s world, from the time she was a kindergartner winning all the boys’ marbles, to playing catcher on the boys’ high school baseball team during practice, but not allowed to compete against other teams.Entering the UF College of Law in 1949, she was one of three females among 500 males. One co-ed left to join the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service); one dropped out for financial reasons, so June found herself “the only girl.”She has fond memories of law school, where she was treated like a lady by her classmates, although with a paternalistic tinge.“Most of the law instructors were very, very gentlemanly,” June recalls. “But one or two of the very young ones would call on me with questions on rape cases. The guys in my class did not like that. They were very protective.”To let the professor know they disapproved of such graphic questions of the slender, blonde woman in class, the men would shuffle their feet under their seats.When class was over, she said “45 men would wait for me, standing against the blackboard, waiting for me to go out.”Once she had earned her law degree in 1954, finding a job as a lawyer proved difficult.“They were not used to hiring women. You were kind of a fluke,” June said. “Nobody would hire me. Some wanted to hire me as a secretary. My first degree was in business, and I knew shorthand and typing. I said, ‘Look guys, I didn’t go to law school to be a secretary. Why would you go to all that trouble?’”Already, she had taught high school in Atlanta for a year and worked as a secretary and assistant law librarian while in law school.Turned down time and time again for a job practicing law, June said, many law firms rejected her with the excuse that she would “send cases off to your husband.”She started a family instead, at a time there was no family leave for having babies, and every time she rejoined the work force, she would have to start anew at the bottom rung.First came daughter Alice Blackburn, who has a master’s in divinity; then Bryan Blackburn, the lawyer, was born in 1958.In 1960, June and A.B. Blackburn opened their own law firm.“But to buy groceries both of us taught at Jacksonville University part-time,” June said.In 1963, their third child was born, Mark Blackburn, now a health care executive.When the Blackburns look back on their accomplishments through the years, their children make them most proud.“One of the judges told me in the grocery store, ‘Your son is a gentleman.’ That makes you feel good,” A.B. Blackburn says.This married legal duo ended up thriving in contrasting areas of law.For June, the thrill was in trial work. After a stint as assistant general counsel for the City of Jacksonville in 1976, she honed her expertise in the courtroom as an assistant public defender in 1981 until 1988 “where I had my eyes opened, and sometimes had them opened up more than I wanted.”In 1988, she successfully ran for county judge, where she presided over “everyday people. People who don’t have a lawyer. People whose kids are in trouble. You just try to be honest and fair with them and help them try to work it out.”Then in 1998, the year she turned 70, Florida law said it was mandatory for June to retire from the bench.“Just because it’s your birthday, you have to quit. That’s pretty sad,” she said, adding that she worked two and a half years as a senior judge.Her advice to young lawyers: “Don’t get discouraged. Tie a knot and hang on. Take the bumps in the road. That’s what I had to do.”A.B. still gets his kicks saving people money on their taxes.“I started my career in public accounting and then switched to law. What I found fascinating about it is you could help people both in their personal estate or business tax planning and avoid taxes in a lot of cases. With some simple planning you could help people save considerable amounts of money. saving people money on their taxes, it was like they were making money,” A.B. says.“A.B. used to work with the IRS,” June adds.“Not with them,” A.B. gently corrects, “But to keep it from being a cat fight. I was calm and collected.”A member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law and Elder Law sections, A.B. served on the Probate and Guardianship Rules Committee and the Elder Law Committee before it was a section.He still goes to the office to see clients several days a week, chuckling when he says, “I now come in late, and to make up for it I leave early. I’d rather do that than stay home, because June would keep me too busy.”What is their secret for a long, happy marriage with dual careers in the law?“Whatever you say, dear,” A.B. is quick to retort.“Don’t let him kid you,” says June, the former judge, who gets the last word. Jacksonville couple has been practicing for 50 years
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Ted Cruz has made multiple trip is a few days to the Hoosier State.Cruz was in Plainfield and Lebanon asking for votes.He also challenged front runner Donald Trump to an Indiana debate.No word on whether Trump will accept.