When we think of compassionate leaders, we tend to think of such institutions as the American Civil Liberties Union, certain defense lawyers who vouch for poor clients and work pro bono. Erin's compassion made her a leader in the sense that she provided the push and the pull to not let this specific case drag on interminably.
What makes Erin Brockovich so unusual, as a display of leadership qualities, and, perhaps what made the film so popular, is that she was hardly a leadership type. Out of work, three children, two marriages and divorces, and no real employable skills. And yet, she had a combination sensitive and pugnacious quality. She was inquisitive and, although she at first seemed like a fish out of water in Masry's office, she showed an independence and inquisitiveness that turned an ordinary pro bono real estate case into a major suit against a large utility. She shows a combination of observation and perception (which) both deal with attending to events around us" (Hughes et al, 2002, p. 51). There is no doubt that her own life's experiences drew her closer to the victims of the poisoning of the water than was Ed Masry, whose nose was usually stuck in law books, eager for fees. If leadership also requires good common sense, then Erin was a good example of how an unschooled, persistent, compassionate, determined young woman ended up on the