Abby not only works for Olivia, she's one of her best friends. The two of them have been together since law school and have been close ever since. That kind of longtime, close friendship makes Abby the best person in the office to tell Olivia the hard truths, something she's had to do from time to time.
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Abby wears her personal and her political beliefs on her sleeve and has no problem telling anyone what she thinks. She will often vote on whether or not to take on a client based on how she feels about them and their actions both in their public and private lives. For example, she wasn't keen on helping Captain Sullivan based on his career as a poster boy for conservatives.
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Abby is always looking to protect those who can't protect themselves, even confronting Olivia when she needs to. When the firm was helping General Benicio Florez, a South American dictator, find his missing wife and children, Abby openly defied Olivia when it became apparent that the General's wife was trying to leave him. We also learned that Abby had been in an abusive marriage, and Olivia fixed that particular problem with a tire iron.