Abrahamson, a New York City native, graduated first in her class from Indiana University Law School in 1956, three years after her marriage to Seymour Abrahamson. The couple moved to Madison and her husband, a world-renowned geneticist, joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1961. He died in 2016. She earned a law degree from UW-Madison in 1962. Abrahamson worked as a professor and joined a Madison law firm, hired by the father of future Gov. Jim Doyle, in 1962.