She took on the huge political patronage machine in Illinois... and won.
Mary Lee Leahy is being remembered today as a tenacious and principled fighter for ethics and justice.
Leahy was the lead attorney in the Rutan case, which eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court and led to a landmark ruling that overturned the political hiring system in state government.
Leahy died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer.
She was 72.