Speed Reads


Trailblazing lawyer Alice Lee, sister of To Kill a Mockingbird author, dies at 103

Alice Lee, one of the first women to practice law in Alabama and the sister of To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee, died Monday in Monroeville, Alabama. She was 103.

Lee was born Sept. 11, 1911, and grew up in Monroeville. In the early 1930s, she worked at a newspaper her father had purchased, and in 1937, became employed at the IRS in Birmingham in the newly created Social Security division. Lee began to attend night classes at the Birmingham School of Law in 1939, and in 1943 graduated and passed the bar exam.

She joined her father's law firm, Barnett, Bugg, and Lee, as partner and became an expert in tax law. Lee was also a devoted volunteer, one of the first to give 500 hours of service at the Monroe County Hospital. She was a devout churchgoer, too, and in 1992, the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church established the Alice Lee Award for outstanding women leaders in the church.

At the age of 100, she was still practicing law, the oldest attorney in Alabama — and likely the entire country. She reflected on her life in a 2011 interview with the Press-Register: "I would consider I've had a good life. A good life to me is one that has been happy, one that has been productive. Things I have done have been good for other people. I've tried to be a good citizen in my community."