When Nina Totenberg, NPR’s American legal affairs correspondent, appeared on the screen at the Martha’s Vineyard film center via Skype Thursday evening, there were gasps. She had called in for a question and answer session before a screening of the documentary “RBG” about her long-time friend and Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“I just emailed Nina and said this is what we’re doing, and she said yes right away,” said Edgartown attorney Ron Rappaport. His firm organized the community screening of the documentary, and there was not an empty seat in the theatre.

Ms. Totenberg met Justice Ginsburg when the latter was a professor at Rutgers University Law School.

Ron Rappaport and Isabelle Lew of Reynolds, Rappaport, Kaplan & Hackney, LLC. — Ray Ewing

“I was a first time reporter covering the Supreme Court,” Ms. Totenberg said. She was covering a sex discrimination case, and in need of guidance. “I called then-professor Ginsburg, and I got an hour-long lecture,” she recalled with a laugh.

The two stayed in touch. Ms. Totenberg went on to break major stories, including Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. “Then-professor Ginsburg,” went on to serve on the nation’s highest court, and to unexpectedly become a pop culture icon, Ms. Totenberg said.

Ms. Totenberg said all the hype took the justice by surprise.

“I don’t think anybody expected this,” she said. “She’s tapped into something special.”

Ms. Totenberg appears throughout the documentary, which follows Justice Ginsburg from her experiences being one of few women studying at Cornell, Harvard and Columbia, through her long career fighting for women’s rights, landing her in the Supreme Court. The film captures the justice in private moments too: working out with her personal trainer, reading old love letters with her granddaughter, giving a tour of her wardrobe of collars she wears with her robes.

The screening was attorney Isabelle Lew’s idea. She grew up on the Island and returned about a year and a half ago to work at Reynolds, Rappaport, Kaplan & Hackney, LLC, after completing law school and beginning her career in Boston.

“[Ruth Bader Ginsburg] is a total inspiration. I’ve always followed her,” Ms. Lew said.

The documentary will continue to screen at the film center in coming weeks.

“The documentary makes you feel good about her, about us, and about the country too,” Ms. Totenberg said. “In this movie, you see the best of us.”