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'A Persistent Woman Is Unstoppable': Former Prosecutor Loni Coombs On The Best Advice She's Received

In honor of Women's History Month, Loni Coombs discusses what being a "last first" in her family means to her.

What does it mean when a woman is a "last first?"

For Women's History Month, Oxygen is honoring women from all walks of life who became the "last first" to achieve something — whether it be in their families, their careers, or other aspects of their lives.

Loni Coombs, a former prosecutor with over 20 years of professional experience, has achieved this life and career milestone. Coombs, a legal commentator, has hosted multiple Oxygen specials, including "Final Appeal," "Death At The Mansion: Rebecca Zahau," and "Lovers' Lane Murders."

"I was the first woman to go to law school in my family. I was the first woman to become an attorney in my family. I was the first woman to buy my own home all by myself," Coombs told Oxygen in a recent interview.

Raised in Southern California, Coombs started out as a criminal trial prosecutor for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. From there, she went on to work as the deputy in charge of the district attorney's Malibu office before heading up the district attorney's Hate Crimes Unit, working on discrimination cases. In 2006, she made a major leap, leaving the world of courts and prosecution behind for the broadcast field as a legal commentator.

As she's made her way in an intense and competitive field, Coombs says that one particular event in her life remains significant — both for herself and her associates — as a major moment of empowerment. 

"The thing that made the most impact is, I got divorced," she said. "I was young and I had a baby and I was told, 'You will not make it without your husband.' I walked away. I was able to show other women you can do it. They understood they had a choice." 

Despite some personal and professional hurdles, Coombs has found success while working as a legal commentator and analyst. She's covered some of the most famous trials over the past few decades, including the sensational cases of O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias, and George Zimmerman.

The best advice she ever got, Coombs reflected, came from her mother.

"Learn to do it for yourself or do without it. It was a motto of empowerment," she said.

While looking back on her life, which has been filled with an abundance of accomplishments, Coombs shared her take on how she'd advise women in 2021 — which involves a phrase about Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the Senate voted to silence her amid a crucial 2017 vote.

"The advice I would give to future generations of young women is encapsulated in a phrase that I have hanging on my office wall, and that is, 'Nevertheless, she persisted,'" she shared. 

"I think that all of us are on different paths. We all have different lives. We have different strengths and weaknesses," she added. "We're going to face different challenges and trials. But the one thing that we can all do is persist to keep moving forward, to not let anything stop us from getting to our dreams. 

"A persistent woman is unstoppable," she concluded.

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