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Vicki Kennedy Finds Her Way Back In Life

October 16, 2017

The wife of Senator Edward Kennedy, Vicki Kennedy, is making her comeback into life eight years after the death of the man known as the Lion of the Senate.

In 2015, she returned to work at a law firm after a nearly 20-year hiatus, renewing a career she left to avoid the appearance of conflicts with her husband’s Senate work. As a senior counsel in the corporate practice group at Greenberg Traurig, an international firm she had worked for in the 1990s, she advises business clients, while shuffling between the law firm’s Boston and Washington, D.C., offices. It’s the kind of legal work that generally stays out of public view, which seems to fit a lawyer comfortable advocating for a client or a cause, but who is reluctant to talk publicly about herself.

“I think she may be one of the better-kept secrets,” said Jeri Asher, cofounder and executive vice president of Jibo Inc., a robotics company Kennedy represents. “In Boston it takes people a while when they know you in one role to recontextualize you in another. I can see there would be a little transition, and then people rediscovering Vicki completely on her own merits.

In Ted Kennedy’s absence, Vicki Kennedy has remained active in civic life. She serves on boards for charities, such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Most prominently, she is president of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, a kind of classroom in governance and homage to American democracy next to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Biden, who thinks of Vicki Kennedy “like a sister,” said she has an abiding personal commitment to the institute, which Biden illustrated with a story:

Among the thousands of condolences Biden received after the death of his son, Beau, in 2015, one of his most treasured came from Vicki Kennedy, Biden said.

In her note, Vicki recalled that every time Ted Kennedy would feel down, he’d reread a letter his father, US Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., had written to a friend about losing his son Joe Jr. in World War II. Vicki sent Biden a copy of the elder Kennedy’s letter.

“He said, ‘I realize I could make no sense of why this happened,’ ” Biden recalled, paraphrasing Joe Sr.’s letter. “ ‘Then one day, because life has to continue to be lived, I thought to myself, what would Joe do if he were still alive? And decided to devote my life to doing what he would have done.’ ”

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