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At The Wharton Law Firm, it’s about the basics

Ruby R. Wharton of The Wharton Law Firm has helped paved the way for many female lawyers during the course of her stellar career.

Carlee McCullough

Ruby R. Wharton of The Wharton Law Firm has helped paved the way for many female lawyers during the course of her stellar career. With Women’s History Month as the backdrop, this is the initial installment in a two-part conversation.

Carlee McCullough: What would you say influenced you to become an attorney and how did you begin your career?

Ruby Wharton: I believe it was the time that I was a sixth-grade student I began to think about law. Part of the reason may have been that I got into a lot of trouble at school defending my classmates who were sometimes wrongfully accused. My mother always told me that I should consider being a lawyer because I was always defending someone.

CM: As a business owner and someone who has served as counsel and confidant for many businesses, what are some of the life lessons you might want to share with our readers?

 Ruby Wharton
Ruby R. Wharton

RW: I would state unequivocally that a businessperson must be prepared to work extremely hard, sacrifice sometimes with low pay (especially if you are a lawyer), and ultimately be capable of making sacrifices. I believe overall I have no regrets of being a businessperson. I encourage anyone who is out there and may be reading this article, to aim high, set some goals, and be willing to work hard every single day, if you are interested in becoming a business owner.

CM: The Wharton Law Firm is truly a family business. Tell us, how have you kept your family business viable for so many years?

RW: The answer is quite simple. I give credit to my husband (A C Wharton Jr., mayor of Memphis) for setting a wonderful model for us to follow. That model consists of hard work, accessibility, and quality services. These basic principles I will credit as the reason we are still in business nearly 32 years later.

CM: I understand that your sons have joined the firm.  How did this come about and what impact has this had on your business?

RW: Yes, my three sons have joined the business. Two of them are lawyers and the other is a paralegal. At least two of my children have always spoken strongly about coming back to Memphis and it was their desire, once becoming a lawyer, to return to the city and work in the family law firm. I can truly attest to the fact that all of my sons work extremely hard and they are very bright and capable assets to the firm. This has been a continuing contribution in allowing our business to remain viable.

CM: Your children joining the firm have to be a source of pride. Can you elaborate on the feeling?

RW: I can truly state that to witness my sons practice before the judiciary here in Shelby County has been so fulfilling and in some instances overwhelming in emotions for me. I am so proud of Alex and Andre’, as lawyers, being able to take a case from day one, to prepare and know the law in the area, and to stand tall, shoulder by shoulder with any lawyer who is their adversary.

CM: What are some of the challenges in a family business?

RW: The major challenge in a family business is captured in two thoughts: (1) trying not to talk about the business often when we are together and (2) trying to remember that you need to leave the feelings in the office and not take them home with you when you are upset with one another.

CM: What are some of the benefits of a family business?

RW: I would sum up the benefit in one expression, a family’s love and concern for one another is enough to embody the feeling as expressed in a poem – “He is not heavy, he is my brother.”

(Contact Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 5308 Cottonwood Road, Suite 1A, Memphis, TN 38118, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

(For more information visit: www.TheWhartonLawFirm.com.)


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