Sandy Raysor-Taylor, Esq.
“I Choose the Mountain.”
“I choose the mountain and I will never stop climbing. I choose the mountain and I shall forever be ascending.” These words by Howard Simon have fed Sandy Raysor-Taylor’s spirit her entire life, and anyone who’s ever crossed paths with her will tell you that she is the very embodiment of this sentiment. She’s not only the founder and principal attorney of her namesake firm, Raysor-Taylor Law, in Baltimore, Maryland, but as the former division chief of the Life and Health Division of the Maryland Insurance Administration, Sandy stands as the first female and the first African American to hold this position and she is the recipient of MIA’s Citation of Excellence Award. With a 24-year history as a passionate legal advocate specializing in consumer bankruptcy, complex tax litigation, domestic law, catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death, Sandy has climbed mountains on behalf of thousands of people, ushering them through some of the most challenging times of their lives. Along the way, she was victorious in the precedent-setting case of In Re: Megginson (2007) against the United States Department of Justice, which tremendously impacted bankruptcy laws and allowed debtors to be eligible to continue to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy who would be otherwise required to file a Chapter 13 after the 2005 bankruptcy reform. Sandy was recognized for her accomplishments with the Barred & Beautiful Award in 2021, a commendation that honors outstanding female attorneys and their contributions to the legal profession.
Sandy’s rise to prominence was not driven by ego, or glory, or status, or even the desire to be the unwitting trailblazer that she’s become. It was driven by the simple yet profound desire to help people, which began long ago in the tiny Southern town of Blackville, South Carolina, where Main Street spans a single stoplight, Dollar General is the social epicenter, and the high school homecoming game is a holiday celebrated by all. It is an unassuming hamlet where the tradition of helping one another is as much a part of the fabric of the community as the storied lore of the secret powers held by the waters of Healing Springs. This is the village that nurtured the fearless spirit of a small-town girl determined to make a difference, who rose to break barriers in the vein of her hero, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and become an award-winning attorney and the leader of thriving practice in one of the largest cities in the country. Yet Sandy’s humility belies her credentials and her remarkable achievements, reflecting the same genuine, caring spirit that first compelled her to the law long ago, so poignantly captured in her own words: “Just knowing that I made a difference in a person’s life. That is my greatest reward.”
We had the privilege of talking with Sandy to learn more about her journey, her practice, and why she still chooses to work personally with each and every one of her clients.
Let’s start at the beginning. Why did you decide to become an attorney and start your practice in Baltimore?
Even as a child, I had a reputation for being tenacious and extremely outspoken in school. I was very competitive and did a lot of public speaking in the community. My public speaking started in my hometown church of Shrub Branch Missionary Baptist Church in Blackville, SC, where my parents, William and Elouise Raysor, would take me every Sunday. I began speaking at church events at the tender age of three years old. I couldn’t read yet, so my grandmother Ella would teach me to memorize my speeches. Everyone always told me, “You should be a lawyer.” I decided at 20 that’s what I was going to be, and I was going to help people who needed it most. After college, I worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina in the Legal Department and eventually moved to Maryland and transferred to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland, where I worked as an underwriter and a contracts administrator, negotiating software and other vendor contracts for the company. I did this while I cared for my ailing Mother and attended law school at night. It was hard, but with the love and support of family and friends, I did it - because nothing was going to stop me—“I chose the mountain.” The rest is history. I opened my practice in 1998 to focus on specifically on these areas of law because that’s where the most need was, especially in the area of domestic law.
Domestic law is particularly close to your heart. Tell us about your work in this area.
It really is. The majority of my cases involve defending people in matters of domestic violence, child custody, guardianship, child support, and divorce. A lot of my clients are women who are afraid of their husbands or are in abusive relationships, and so many of them are traumatized, so my first goal is to empower them to fight their spouse and mentally prepare for it before I even think to go to court. My motto is “Power Women Empower Women!” It’s not just about serving as their legal advocate or litigator who knows the law; there’s a lot of therapy involved in what I do, and my undergraduate degree in psychology helps tremendously. They’re understandably distraught, depressed, and they’re at their wits end—and they’re looking to me for strength. For me, the fight is on. I will climb that mountain that for her.
Is this why you still choose to work personally with your clients? That’s a rare approach for most leaders of a thriving law firm.
It absolutely is, and I think the one-on-one relationship I have with each of my clients is what sets me apart. A lot of attorneys assign admin staff or paralegals to work with their clients, but in doing so, they don’t get that personal experience to be able to effectively defend them. The best-laid strategy can run amok in court if the other attorney throws something out of left field, and if you, as their advocate, don’t know your client’s whole story, you can’t defend them because you’re not fully prepared. I’ve so often prevailed on behalf of my clients in court because I have great insight into their lives, personalities, nuances of their situations, so I’m prepared for these curve balls.
Let’s end with a personal question, Sandy. What do you enjoy most about your work?
Helping people and making a difference in their lives. I have clients whose children were babies when I helped them, and now they’re grown, and they send me cards, like, “Thank you so much for helping us. Because of you, I was able to go to college, and now I’m successful in my dream job.” That’s what makes me smile, just knowing that I made a difference in a person’s life. That is truly my greatest reward.
Sandy is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and holds an LL. M. in taxation, a Doctorate of Jurisprudence, and a master’s in public administration from the University of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD where she was honored as an Angelos Scholar. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in health education from Columbia College, Columbia, SC. Sandy is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy in criminal justice at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.
Sandy Raysor-Taylor, Esq.
Founder & Principal Attorney—Raysor-Taylor Law
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