For as long as she can remember, back to when she was growing up in Oxford, Mississippi, Doris Causey has been concerned with what is fair and what is right. Maybe it was being the youngest of six children. Maybe it was the influence of family friend and pioneering civil rights lawyer Alvin O. Chambliss Jr., who for decades fought against racial inequities in Mississippi’s higher education system.
“I wanted to make things right for people,” explains Causey.
However, in college at the University of Mississippi, Causey found that her choice of major (political science) and her career plans (law) were met with skepticism from her family of educators. “How many people have jobs in political science?” her parents asked her. And, “Law school—what if that doesn’t work out?”
Legal aid “will baptize you into the fire,” she says, “because so many people need help.”
“Nobody in my family was an attorney,” she says. So she added a math major and for five years taught the subject in high school, work she did indeed love. Even today, she says she “wouldn’t mind stepping back into a classroom.” But the law beckoned, and making things right still mattered to her. Moving to Richmond with her husband Tracy after she completed law school at Texas Southern University, Causey immediately began volunteering with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society—a pro bono housing case for CVLAS would be the first she would ever try as a lawyer. (She won.)