RAISING THE BAR America Celebrates 150 Years of Women Lawyers
National Conference of Womenâ€™s Bar Associations
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150 Years of Women Lawyers and their contribution to the legal profession
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RAISING THE BAR America Celebrates 150 Years of Women Lawyers
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Celebrating Women Who Broke Barriers Sidley joins in honoring the 150th anniversary of the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the United States – Arabella Mansfield. As we commemorate this achievement, our firm remains dedicated to advancing her vision of diversity and equality in the legal profession, creating a workplace where women lawyers thrive. Find out more about how we are empowering women lawyers at sidley.com/diversity Sidley’s Committee on Retention and Promotion of Women Co-Chairs: Jennifer C. Hagle, Laurin Blumenthal Kleiman, Kara L. McCall and Angela C. Zambrano
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A Message from NCWBA Leadership
e are delighted to bring you this publication, which commemorates 150 years since women were admitted to practice law in the United States. In the years following Arabella Mansfield’s 1869 admission to the Iowa Bar, women lawyers often labored alone. Many women lawyers were unable to practice law due to societal barriers. When they did find law-related positions, often in the firms of their fathers or husbands, they were relegated to support tasks. Those who opened their own practices frequently struggled to find paying clients. Almost without exception, they had to explain to a curious public – and, sometimes, to their own family and friends – why a woman would want to enter the legal profession and how she could possibly be an effective advocate. Women lawyers were largely, in the words of attorney and author Karen Berger Morello, members of “The Invisible Bar.” With the advent of women’s bar associations, women lawyers were able to find other like-minded colleagues. They realized that even if they were the only woman in their practice setting, they weren’t alone. They collaborated on projects emphasizing civic engagement and the welfare of women and children. They discussed issues at first thought to be unique to women in the legal profession: things like balancing family and career, achieving pay equity, and overcoming obstacles to attaining leadership positions. Since 1981, the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations has served as a clearinghouse of information in support of women’s bar groups by sharing best practices, emphasizing innovative program ideas, and identifying issues and trends of special interest to women lawyers. One important task of any organization is to acknowledge the hard work of those who have laid the groundwork for current successes and future advancement. We hope that the stories highlighted in these pages will lead to a greater appreciation of those who came before us and serve as an inspiration to continue to work toward equality for all in the legal profession and society at large.
Angel Zimmerman Topeka, Kansas NCWBA President, 2018-2019
Jeanne Marie Clavere Seattle, Washington NCWBA President, 2019-2020
ITâ€™S THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA.
3 A Message from NCWBA Leadership
6 Arabella Babb Mansfield: America’s First Woman Lawyer By Craig Collins
12 First Women Graduates of a Selection of Law Schools
14 The National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
17 NCWBA Member Organizations
19 Member Histories Submitted by NCWBA Member Organizations
77 Looking to the Future By Deborah Guyol
RAISING THE BAR America Celebrates 150 Years of Women Lawyers
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Arabella Babb Mansfield: America’s First Woman Lawyer By Craig Collins
he phrase is used so often today it’s lost most of its meaning; people who hear or read the words “she was ahead of her time” rarely stop to think about what they mean. But the case of Arabella Babb Mansfield is worth more than a moment’s notice. When she passed the Iowa bar on June 15, 1869, she earned the right to argue laws in court a full 50 years and one month before ratification of the 19th Amendment guaranteed American women the right to vote. An unusual convergence of circumstances laid the groundwork for her achievement. She was born Belle Aurelia Babb on May 23, 1846, on her family farm near Burlington, Iowa, to parents Miles Babb and Mary Moyer. In 1850, Miles was swept up in the California gold rush, and secured a position as a superintendent of a mining company in the Sierra Nevada foothills. He was killed in a mine tunnel cave-in on Dec. 21, 1852. The Babbs were a close family, and the news was devastating, but Miles had made provisions in his will for the education of Belle and her older brother, Washington Irving (W.I.). Mary purchased scholarships to hold places for each of her children at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, about 30 miles northwest of Burlington, and all three of them moved there together in 1860, when W.I. reached college age. By then, Mount Pleasant, a town of more than 3,500 people, had become the cultural and intellectual hub of Iowa’s progressive southeastern corner, and its reputation
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
for educational excellence had earned it an honorific nickname: the “Athens of Iowa.” It was home to learned, cultured citizens who tended to be progressive on the issues of the day, particularly slavery and women’s rights – but its progressivism was firmly rooted in the countercultural traditions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, whose congregants had founded Iowa Wesleyan, Iowa’s first fouryear college, in 1841. By the 1850s, the school was one of just a few nationwide to admit women students. Sometime around her enrollment at Iowa Wesleyan in the fall of 1862, Belle, perhaps deciding she didn’t like the sound of “Belle Babb,” began calling herself Arabella. Her enrollment, more than a year after the start of the Civil War, coincided with a lull in activity on campus; much of the university’s funding was being redirected to soldier relief efforts, and many of the students were off fighting the war – including W.I., who served in the 8th Iowa Cavalry from 1863 to 1865 and returned to school in time to graduate in the same class as his sister. At Iowa Wesleyan, Arabella met many of the friends and acquaintances who would become her inner social circle – including her future husband, John Mansfield, who was a junior when Arabella was a freshman and who joined the Iowa Wesleyan faculty in the fall of 1864 as a professor of chemistry and natural history. It’s not clear when the two became romantically attached, but given the small size of the campus community at the time, they surely knew each other when they were at the university together.
Archives and Special Collectios of DePauw University
Arabella Mansfield, the first woman lawyer admitted to practice in the United States.
Passing the Bar By the time she’d become a university student, then, the external factors of Arabella Mansfield’s life – a close, loving family that prioritized education; a religious tradition of advocating for social justice; and a progressive community – had put her in a position to do what no woman had done before. The most important factor in any personal achievement, of course, is the person herself – but it’s difficult to determine the reasons behind some of Arabella Mansfield’s choices, despite the fact that she was a public figure. Historians have been forced to draw inferences from the record of her life. She was obviously intelligent; she was valedictorian of her graduating class (her
brother was the salutatorian), but because the text of her valedictory address, titled “The Two Temples,” has been lost to history, nobody knows what she had to say on the occasion. After graduation, she moved to Indianola, Iowa, a town just south of Des Moines, to join the faculty of a Methodist college. It’s also unclear why Arabella left Indianola a year later to return to Mount Pleasant, at the age of 21, and embark on a full-time study of law at the office of H. & R. Ambler, where W.I. was studying and about to pass the bar (he would later join the firm, which would become Ambler & Babb). An attachment to John Mansfield may have had something to do with it: John, too, began studying law at the Ambler offices, and the two of them were married on June 23, 1868. When Arabella Mansfield stood before the bar examiners at the Mount Pleasant courthouse on June 15, 1869, John was by her side. Both would be examined and admitted to the bar on the same day. The examining committee was fully aware of the history being made that day, as they stated: Your Committee take unusual pleasure in recommending the admission of Mrs. Mansfield, not only because she is the first lady that has thus applied for this authority, in the State, but because, in her examination, she has given the very best rebuke possible to the imputation that ladies cannot qualify themselves for the practice of law. In order to make way for Arabella’s admission, the District Court judge, Francis Springer, generously interpreted the Iowa code, which restricted the practice of law in the state to qualifying “white males.” But Springer had also unearthed a line in the state’s general construction statute that read: “words importing the masculine gender only may be extended to females.” Springer interpreted this to mean the code did not exclude women from the practice of law. It was a remarkably easy victory for Arabella Mansfield; many aspiring women lawyers, in states with similarly written codes, had been denied and would continue to battle to join the legal profession.
Beyond the Mount Pleasant Journal, which noted the accomplishment with the headline “The Athens of Iowa Ahead: A Lady Admitted to Practice Law,” only a handful of publications took notice of the occasion, which might have had a more obvious impact if Mansfield had chosen to practice law. Why she didn’t is another mystery – but circumstances suggest she had turned her attention to another challenge: winning the right for women to vote. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
CELEBRATING WOMEN IN LEGAL EDUCATION
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The historic Union Block Building in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, where Mansfield took her oath as the first female lawyer in the United States.
Beyond the Mount Pleasant Journal, which noted the accomplishment with the headline “The Athens of Iowa Ahead: A Lady Admitted to Practice Law,” only a handful of publications took notice of the occasion, which might have had a more obvious impact if Mansfield had chosen to practice law. Why she didn’t is another mystery – but circumstances suggest she had turned her attention to another challenge: winning the right for women to vote.
A Champion for Woman Suffrage The suffrage movement, in fact, may have had something to do with Arabella’s decision to return to Mount Pleasant in the fall of 1867, when the issue was heating up. National leaders such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy Stone had always considered the rights of women and African-Americans to be bound together in an endeavor to realize the Constitution’s promise of a government of, by, and for the people. But this bond was weakening; opponents of suffrage for both women and African-Americans had shrewdly deployed the divideand-conquer strategy. In 1867, for example, two referenda were placed before voters in the Kansas territory: one that would extend voting rights to black men, and one that would extend suffrage to women. Knowing public sentiment was more aligned with African-American suffrage than woman suffrage, opponents of both claimed it would be appalling for (white, male) voters to raise uneducated former slaves
to a status above their own mothers, wives, and sisters. Arguments ensued, both Kansas measures failed, and radical Republicans in Congress dropped the issue of woman suffrage, proposing a 15th Amendment to the Constitution that forbid denial of the right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” – but not sex. Women who’d fought so long for abolition and voting rights felt betrayed, and the movement splintered into two competing factions. The radicals, led by Anthony and Stanton, vowed to oppose the 15th Amendment if it excluded women. The moderates, led by Stone, acknowledged black male suffrage as a step forward and pledged their support. All of this happened while Arabella Mansfield was studying for her bar examination, and within months of earning her law license, she threw herself behind the cause of woman suffrage. She and John were among a group of Iowans who called for a delegate convention for Stone’s faction, the American Woman Suffrage Association, and these delegates later elected Mansfield to be Iowa’s executive committee member. In June 1870, the 24-year-old Mansfield chaired Iowa’s first statewide suffrage convention and achieved the ambitious goal of uniting Iowa’s woman suffragists, radicals and moderates alike, in forming the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association (IWSA). Afterward, Mansfield helped to establish the local auxiliary, the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
The Open Door The failure of these efforts appears to have abruptly ended Arabella Mansfield’s lobbying career. Though she retained an intense interest in the law, she threw herself into life as an educator and administrator, joining the faculty of Iowa Wesleyan, where she’d been awarded a master’s degree in 1870 and a bachelor of laws degree in 1872. She resigned her position in 1879 to move with John to Greencastle, Indiana, where John had joined the science faculty at Indiana Asbury University (later DePauw University), and after John fell ill in 1884, she worked to support him and pay his medical expenses until his death in 1894. At DePauw, Mansfield did some teaching but devoted much of her time and energy to administrative matters as dean of women and dean of the schools of art and music. Mansfield remained active in both university life and in Greencastle’s Methodist community, teaching Sunday school, delivering frequent lectures, and leading social and charity projects aimed at educational reform and opportunities for women. Edwin H. Hughes, DePauw’s president from 1903 to 1909, described her as “the strongest and truest woman I have ever known ... a brave, patient, effective worker.” In serving these institutions, Mansfield no doubt had a direct effect on the welfare of many young women – but the enduring legacy of her 1869 achievement has been the encouragement it offered other aspiring women lawyers. The barrier to women hoping to practice law, once cleared, was destined to fall for women elsewhere. In Iowa, at least, it fell quickly. In March 1870, less than a year after Mansfield’s admission to the bar, the
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Photo courtesy of Iowa Wesleyan Newsom Archives
Henry County Woman Suffrage Association, and was elected its president. Mansfield’s attempts at unifying the radical and moderate factions couldn’t hold. Many Iowans – and particularly the Methodists of Mount Pleasant – were upset by the increasingly scandalous public pronouncements of the Cady/Stanton faction’s new firebrand, Victoria Woodhull. The daughter of a fortune-teller and snake oil salesman, Woodhull espoused “free love,” argued for legalized prostitution, and shared the idea, sometimes suggested in the rhetoric of Stanton, that marriage was a form of “sexual slavery” – a shocking choice of words, but one derived from fact: It wasn’t until 1993, more than 120 years later, that all 50 state legislatures made it illegal for a husband to force sexual intercourse on an unwilling wife. Both Anthony and Stanton, and later Woodhull herself, distanced themselves from some of these views – and pointed out that they had nothing to do with the issue of voting rights – but they were damaging. The IWSA was compelled to publicly assert its support of the institution of marriage. Despite the association’s valiant efforts to make peace, the fractured movement failed to mount a successful lobbying campaign, and a proposed woman suffrage amendment to the Iowa Constitution died in the Legislature in March 1872.
Arabella Mansfield, standing in the back row, is pictured with fellow Iowa Wesleyan University faculty in the 1870s.
Iowa Legislature made it the first state to expressly admit women to the bar by removing the words “white” and “male” from the state’s bar admission statute and adding the words “or she.” Within two years, several more women had joined Arabella Mansfield at the Iowa bar, and in 1873, Mary B. Hickey became the first woman graduate of the University of Iowa’s law school. Not everyone emboldened by Mansfield’s accomplishment met with immediate success. In Illinois, Myra Bradwell, an accomplished legal scholar and publisher of the Chicago Legal News, was denied in her application to the state bar, a denial upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1873 ruling in Bradwell v. Illinois. The language used in Justice Joseph Bradley’s written concurrence is a striking reminder not only of the views many powerful men held regarding women’s ambitions, but also of how often these views had little to do with the law: Man is, or should be, woman’s protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belong to the female sex evidently unfit it for many of the occupations of civil life ... The paramount destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. Seventeen years passed before Bradwell finally was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1890. According to the American Bar Association, she’d become one of only about 200 women lawyers in the United States at the time. Arabella Mansfield was aware of and enjoyed her status as one who’d opened the door for other women. At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the Congress of Women Lawyers recognized her as the nation’s first woman lawyer, and she addressed a group of about 30 women who wanted to hear her story. Afterward, at the age of 47, Mansfield became a charter member of the newly formed National League of Women Lawyers. It was one of few occasions during her life that Mansfield’s achievement would be recognized. It would
take decades – another century, really – for the magnitude of what she’d achieved to come into focus. Most of her honors were awarded long after her death from cancer in 1911: DePauw Women’s Hall, built in 1885, was renamed Mansfield Hall in her honor in 1918, but was destroyed by fire in 1933. In 1980, Mansfield was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. In 1996, the National Association of Women Lawyers named its most prestigious award, bestowed annually to women luminaries in law, the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award; past recipients include all three sitting women justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2002, the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys established the Arabella Mansfield Award to recognize outstanding women lawyers in the state. In 2008, a statue of Belle Babb Mansfield was unveiled on the Iowa Wesleyan campus. One of the reasons Arabella Mansfield lived so quietly and was so rarely honored for her breakthrough may simply be the grim fact that the legal profession changed very little in her lifetime, or for many years afterward. In 1960, when future U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno graduated from law school, fewer than 1 in 25 American lawyers were women. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage is now nearly 4 in 10. The 400,000
women lawyers in the United States make up 38 percent of American lawyers – a sharp increase, but women remain under-represented demographically. A strategy to introduce women and other minorities into the legal profession’s leadership ranks, hatched in 2016 by the advocacy initiative Diversity Lab and nearly 50 of the nation’s leading law firms, was called the Mansfield Rule. To date, more than 65 American law firms have adopted a pilot rollout of the Mansfield Rule, which requires firms to consider a pool of candidates for significant leadership roles that is at least 30 percent women, minority, or LGBTQ+ applicants or recruits. It’s too early to tell whether the rule has affected promotions at U.S. firms, but the first year of the pilot generated data that has awakened firm leaders to some humbling realities – for example, that the vast majority of them do not track the diversity of leadership and governance candidates, nor have written job descriptions for leadership positions. Arabella Mansfield was, strictly speaking, a radical – but she was also a devout Methodist Episcopalian who believed in following the rules. If it turns out that a rule, named after her, introduces more women and minorities to leadership and management positions in the nation’s leading law firms, it may amount to her highest honor yet.
First Women Graduates of a Selection of Law Schools University of Akron School of Law Aileen Trusler 1925
University of Denver Sturm College of Law Anna Hunt 1894
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law Lucy Stanton 1921
University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (formerly Antioch Law) Susan Fox, Marietta Moore, Peggy McLaughlin-Pepper, K. Colleen Nunnelly, Emily D’Orazio, Karin Gjording, Terry Besbris Paule, Eve Chesbro, Helen Ward, Nancy Shia, Bea Valdez, Jan Xaver, Julie Williams Scroggin, Barbara Ferrara, Paula Stahmer, Susan Powell Mauk, Judith Ferber, Virginia Huebner, Lesley Guyton, Leslie Gerwin, Anne Pilsbury, Beryl Blaustone, Judy Avner, Susan Wood, Maury Knight, Lee Robinson, Shirley Bergert, Betty Justice 1975
Arizona Summit Law School Sherry Miller 2008 University of Arkansas School of Law Gayle Pettus Pontz 1937 Baylor Law Margaret Amsler Harris, Pauline Ream Hoover 1937 Boston University School of Law Lelia Josephine Robinson 1881 J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University Elizabeth Berntsen, Linda Goold, Catherine Hardy, Loraine Ivins, Sheila McCleve, Susan Meyer, Margaret Nelson, Sherri Rigby, Cheryl Russell 1976 Capital University Law School Esther H. Brocker 1926 UCLA School of Law Jean Bauer Fisler, Laverne Sagmaster, Helen Curren, Bette Hewitt, Geraldine Hemmerling 1952 University of Chicago Law School Sophonisba Breckinridge 1904 University of Cincinnati College of Law Nellie Grace Robinson, Edna Lavina Gray 1893 Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Elizabeth A. Williams 1908
Duquesne University School of Law Anna Louise Schultz 1924
University of Houston Law Center Kathleen “Rita” Keenan 1952 Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law Tamar (Althouse) Scholz 1892 The University of Iowa College of Law Mary B. Hickey 1873
Florida International University College of Law Rosann Spiegel 2004
The John Marshall Law School Jessie Cook 1903
Florida State University College of Law The Hon. Susan Roberts 1969
University of Kansas School of Law Ella Weiss Brown 1891
Fordham University School of Law Patricia A. O’Connell, Mildred L. O’Connor, Ella L. Ralston 1921
Lewis & Clark Law School Ida Ruth Gordon, Harriet E. Moore 1918
University of Georgia School of Law Edith Elizabeth House 1925
Liberty University School of Law Ashli Arbo, Beverly Barr, Debra Beale, Martha Jane Cordell, Teresa Gordon, Kelly Osterbind (née Helmick), Allison Landrum, Heather MacLean, Margaret McNamara, Yvonne Schewel, Hannah Schultz, Sarah Seitz, Sarah Smith, Jennifer Termini, Heidi Thompson, Jacqueline Tweedy, Tara Wyant, Amanda Zimmerman, Ann Zimmermann 2007
Georgia State University College of Law Sharon Mackenzie, Diana McDonald-Burks 1984
Louisiana State University Law Center Clift Martin 1916
Gonzaga University School of Law Helen Grigware 1935
Mercer University School of Law Kathryn Pierce Weekley 1919
George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School Elizabeth Oyster, Susan Turner, J. Valerie Meigs, Marie E. Hardane 1976
University of Dayton School of Law Viola Allen, Mildred McCarthy 1926
University of Hawai‘i at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law Nancy Callahan, Catherine O.Y. Chang, Calleen J. Ching, Patricia C. Eads, Carol A. Fukunaga, Mary L. Hudson, Mary Blaine Johnston, Harriet H.Y. Lewis, Melody K. MacKenzie, Marjorie Higa Manuia, Barbara Melvin, Shirley Ann Mesher, Jennifer Ahn Minami, Lani Nakazawa, Abelina M. Shaw, T. Lynne Wasson, Cynthia Winegar, Terry N. Yoshinaga 1976
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University of Miami School of Law Dixie L. Herlong Chastain 1930
University of Michigan Law School Sarah Killgore Wertman 1871
University of Oregon School of Law Nina (Anna) E. Wood 1896
Syracuse University College of Law Bessie Seeley 1903
Michigan State University College of Law Lizzie McSweeney 1893
Pepperdine University School of Law Geraldine G. Lemacks, Jean H. Rheinheimer, Elizabeth Wade 1970
Temple University Beasley School of Law Anna Dickinson, Joan Kenworthy 1920
University of Minnesota Law School Flora Matteson, Nora Morton, Marie A. McDermott 1893
Penn State Dickinson Law Julie Radle 1899
University of Mississippi School of Law Bessie Young 1915
University of Pittsburgh School of Law Sara Soffel 1916
Mississippi College School of Law Betty B. Tucker 1938
University of Richmond School of Law Jane Brown Ranson 1923
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Hattie Zimmer Young 1897
University of San Diego School of Law Mary Eleanor Harvey 1959
University of Missouri School of Law Carly Marnie Carroll 1896 Monterey College of Law Eleanor DeLashmitt, Ann Folsom, Florence Hunter, Joanne Kelly, Eileen Norberg, June O’Shields, Roberta Poise 1977 North Carolina Central University School of Law Ruth Norman, Catherine Johnson, Marcia McDonald 1948 Northeastern University School of Law Henrietta Duncan Duren 1925 Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law Loraine Cain, Florence Hornback 1921 Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Ada Kepley 1870 Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law Rana Ellen Epstein, Jeanne Evons Faiks, Mona Fandel, Kathleen T. Finkel, Shirley B. Fischler, Lynn Harnik Gelman, Valerie Hrechko Hall, June Laran Johnson, Constance J. Kaplan, Patricia Lee Kiefer, Susan Tucker Lewis, Joan Bowen Melvin, June Owen, Mary Ann Scherer, Mary Ellen Shoemaker, Jacquelyn Elleen Steinberg, Suanne D. Steinman, Mary Margaret Viator, Rita M. Wallach, Barbara Wolf 1977
University of Tennessee College of Law Maude Riseden Hughett 1909
Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law Erin Bain Jones 1928 University of South Carolina School of Law Claudia James Sullivan 1918
Texas A&M University School of Law Joyce Byrd, Shirley Jeffers Clark, Frances Cowden 1993 Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law Lois Prestage Woods 1951 Tulane University Law School Bettie Runnels 1898 University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Rebecca Garelick 1924 Valparaiso University Law School Florence Higgins 1898
South Texas College of Law Houston Ann Marie Hollenberg 1928
Vanderbilt Law School Clara Weber 1919
Southern Illinois University School of Law Debra Buchman, Mary Lou Heath Rouhandeh, Shari Rhode, Eugenia Hunter, Denise Ambrose, Nancyann Pacheco Leeder, Barbara Ann Jones, Gayle Simonds Pyatt, Ellen Schanzle-Haskins, Linda Krueger MacLachlan, Kathleen Walker Vaught, Glora Farha Flentje 1976
Vermont Law School Mary Eva Colalillo, Gale LaMendola, Catherine Campbell Stern 1976
Southwestern Law School Betty Trier Berry 1915
University of Virginia School of Law Elizabeth Tompkins 1923
St. John’s University School of Law Mabel Birnkrant, Gladys Bishop, Bessie Borsuk, Rose Breslow, Rebecca Brownstein, Grace Freuder, Ruth Gwirtzman, Irene M. Halamka, Ida Jablow, Mary Levinsky, Sarah Lipschutz, Joan Maslow, Agnes Claire McGeary, Etsie Morris, Elsa Napolis, Rebecca M. Newman, Pearl Lievman, Pearl A. Lipkowitz, Rose L. Rediker, Rose Silverstein, Lucy H. Smyth, Sylvia Wasserman 1928
Washburn University School of Law Jessie Junette Nye 1912
St. Mary’s University School of Law Mary Agnes Aird 1936
Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law Jeanne W. Ryan 1956
Washington University in St. Louis School of Law Phoebe Wilson Couzins 1869 Wayne Law Teresa Cable Flower, Elizabeth Boyers Taylor 1928 West Virginia University College of Law Agnes Westbrook Morrison 1895
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
The National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations S
ince the establishment of the Equity Club at the University of Michigan in 1886, women lawyers and law students have formed associations of their own: sometimes because they were excluded from the mentoring networks of men, sometimes for a special purpose (such as getting a woman on the bench), or sometimes just to share common concerns in a supportive setting. In the 1970s, as women entered the profession in everincreasing numbers, there was great leadership in the women’s bar associations’ pipeline but little recognition of it in the establishment bars. In 1980, when Timmerman Daugherty, the first elected president of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (NCWBA), spoke at the Maryland State Bar Association’s midyear meeting, the largely male audience cheered and applauded at the news that, in 1946, their association had been the last to “give in” and admit women. In 1981, the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia compiled a list of women’s bar groups and asked them to send a representative to New Orleans to attend the American Bar Association (ABA) annual meeting. Participants at this initial gathering, many of whom had been instrumental in founding or strengthening the women’s bar groups in their own states, were enthusiastic about starting an organization of women’s bar associations, and the NCWBA was born. Susan Low of Washington, D.C., served informally as the first acting president. By 1983, NCWBA was formally organized and elected its first officers and directors. At the 1991 ABA annual meeting, the House of Delegates recognized the NCWBA as an affiliate organization. Not everyone was
Photos courtesy of NCWBA unless otherwise noted
Top: NCWBA President Delores Pegram Wilson presents the 1986 Public Service Award to Gill Freeman, who accepted the recognition on behalf of Miami-Dade FAWL. Above: Board members gather for NCWBA’s 10th anniversary dinner in Atlanta, Georgia. Left: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg congratulates NCWBA board members after their admission to the U.S. Supreme Court in November 1997.
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Photo by Nick Carter
Top left: The NCWBA board meets in Toronto in 2011. Top right: Pictured from left to right, NCWBA board members Shiloh Theberge, Leigh-Ann Durant, and Nicolette Zachary at the NCWBA Annual Summit welcome reception in San Francisco in 2016. Left: Pictured from left to right, Robin Bresky, Amanda Green Alexander, Phyllis Solomon, and Angel Zimmerman at the 2017 NCWBA Annual Summit welcome reception at Fordham University School of Law. Above: Past presidents gather in San Francisco in 2007 to celebrate the NCWBA. They are, from left: Lynne Albert (2006-07), Nancy Newman (2001-02), Carole Aciman (2005-06), Anne Martin (199899), Ellen Kearns (2004-05), Katherine O’Neil (1993-94), Delores Pegram Wilson (1986-87), Jo Harriet Strickler (1991-92), Pauline Weaver (1989-90), Mary Wolverton (2000-01), and Lisa Hill Fenning (1987-88).
comfortable with increasing the influence of women’s bar associations. In a telephone poll reported in the March 1984 ABA Journal, nearly 100 years after the establishment of the Equity Club, only 52 percent of female lawyers and 31 percent of male lawyers answered affirmatively that women’s bar associations would help women lawyers. In February 1985, during testimony before the ABA’s Task Force on Minorities, Daugherty outlined the purposes of the NCWBA: to protect the interests of women lawyers and to achieve their full participation in the legal profession; to advance opportunities for women attorneys and to improve their access to positions of merit and responsibility; to promote and assist in the organization and growth of local and statewide women’s bar associations; and to
serve as a vehicle for the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas among women’s bar associations. Women’s bar groups are now widely viewed as important and effective partners with other state, local, and specialty bar groups. Former NCWBA board members have become judges or presidents of their local and state bar associations or other civic groups. Two have served as ABA president. Despite these successes, the work of the NCWBA and each of our member associations continues. In the words of Mary Ann Coffey, founding board member and long-time executive director, “As long as women are still leaving the profession and are not able to develop their full potential, we need women’s voices to join together to demand change. Women’s bar associations are not disappearing.” National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Diversity Recognizing that experience and diversity are inextricably intertwined, Baker Botts is committed to fostering diversity in the firm, as well as in the legal profession. We believe diversity is a common thread that binds us together and brings valuable perspectives, knowledge and talents to the firm, thereby allowing us to be more creative and effective in the practice of law and in service to our clients. The firm’s uncompromising commitment to diversity has led to important diversity recognition. Baker Botts is consistently ranked among the Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity on American Lawyer’s annual Diversity Scorecard. In addition, we have received high marks, including perfect scores of 100, on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, which ranks organizations for policies, practices and benefits for LGBTQ employees.
AUSTIN BEIJING BRUSSELS DALLAS DUBAI HONG KONG HOUSTON LONDON MOSCOW NEW YORK PALO ALTO RIYADH SAN FRANCISCO WASHINGTON
NCWBA Member Organizations • Alabama State Bar Women’s Section
• New Mexico Women’s Bar Association
• Arizona Women Lawyers Association
• New York Women’s Bar Association
• Association for Women Attorneys (New Orleans)
• North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
• Association for Women Lawyers (Wisconsin)
• Oregon Women Lawyers
• Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City
• Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation
• Bexar County Women’s Bar Association
• Polk County Women Attorneys
• California Women Lawyers
• Queen’s Bench Bar Association of the San Francisco Bay Area
• Canadian Bar Association Women Lawyers Forum
• Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association
• Colorado Women’s Bar Association
• Santa Barbara Women Lawyers
• Dallas Women Lawyers Association
• South Carolina Women Lawyers Association
• El Paso Women’s Bar Association
• Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women
• Florida Association for Women Lawyers
• Texas Women Lawyers
• Georgia Association for Women Lawyers
• Virginia Women Attorneys Association
• Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys
• Washington Women Lawyers
• Hawaii Women Lawyers
• West Virginia Women Attorneys
• Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys
• Wichita Women Attorneys Association
• Kansas Women Attorneys Association
• Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County
• Lawyers Association for Women–Marion Griffin Chapter
• Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
• Lawyers Club of San Diego
• Women Lawyers Association of Michigan
• Maine State Bar Women’s Law Section
• Women Lawyers of Alameda County
• Metro Jackson Black Women Lawyers Association
• Women Lawyers of Sacramento
• Military Spouse JD Network
• Women Lawyers of Utah
• Minnesota Women Lawyers
• Women Lawyers Section, Birmingham Bar Association
• Mississippi Women Lawyers Association
• Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
• Mobile Bar Association Women Lawyers
• Women’s Bar Association of Maryland
• Ms. JD
• Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
• New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association
• Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia
• New Jersey Women Lawyers Association
• Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Educating practice-ready attorneys since 1923 September 24, 1923 The first class consists of 34 students. Notable for the day, five are women.
May 31, 1928 Ann Marie Hollenberg is the first woman to graduate from South Texas School of Law.
August, 2018 The current enrollment of 942 students includes 53 percent women.
2018-2020 Officers and board members of the Women’s Law Society at South Texas College of Law Houston, whose mission is to encourage mentorship and peer support among members.
South Texas College of Law Houston: Named BEST of the DECADE by PreLaw Magazine for Best Moot Court Named a BEST VALUE and MOST DIVERSE institution Winner of 131 National Advocacy Championships No other law school has won half as many
1303 SAN JACINTO • HOUSTON, TEXAS 77002 • 713-659-8040 • STCL.EDU
MEMBER HISTORIES I
n the 150 years since Arabella Babb Mansfield overcame the first obstacle for women seeking to enter the legal profession in the United States, numerous others, most long forgotten, have continued to break barriers and pave the way for those who followed. We invited our members to send us the stories of the women who pioneered law practice in their jurisdictions and to tell us how their own women’s bar groups came into being. We were gratified to receive their accounts of women lawyers who truly made a difference through individual efforts and by collective activities. Unfortunately, we can only share a small portion of the articles and photographs we received. Taken as a whole, they paint a distinct picture of the challenges and successes women lawyers have faced.
We hope this sampling of histories will inspire you to learn more. You’ll find links to individual biographies of women lawyers as well as much more information about the history and accomplishments of women’s bar associations on our website at https://ncwba.org/history/. We also hope you will take an active interest in researching the history of women lawyers and preserving the history that is still being made today by women in your own communities. Record the recollections of senior women attorneys, but don’t neglect to learn about the experiences of current law students and newer lawyers. Most importantly, share what you learn with others. Knowing our history enriches our present and provides guidance for the future.
ALABAMA HOW DID WE GET STARTED? Birmingham Bar Association Women Lawyers Section Alabama State Bar Women’s Section Mobile Bar Association Women’s Section
n the late 1970s and early 1980s, small groups of women lawyers in Birmingham organized get-togethers that were the forerunner of the Birmingham Bar’s Women Lawyers Section. Some of those same women finally formally organized a section and got the approval of the Birmingham Bar Association (BBA). The group continues as a strong section with representation on the BBA’s Executive Committee, offering its members leadership, networking, and volunteer opportunities. The section awards the Nina Miglionico Paving the Way Award to recognize those who advance women lawyers. The section also sponsors scholarships and networking with women law students. In the 1990s, the Alabama State Bar (ASB) president appointed a Task Force on Women in the Profession that met for several years and organized a luncheon at the midyear meeting of the Alabama State Bar to honor women judges. Following the example of the Birmingham Bar’s Women
The 1999 NCWBA Public Service Award presented to the Birmingham Bar Association Women Lawyers Section. Pictured from left to right are NCWBA President Anne Martin, Martha Jane Patton, Anne Moses, and Helen Kathryn Downs.
Lawyers Section, the task force proposed the creation of a section to the Alabama State Bar. The ASB Women’s Section was formed in May 2000, and voted on by the Board of Bar Commissioners on May 5, 2000. The section continues to host a brunch to honor Alabama’s women judges and awards the Maud McLure Kelly Award in honor of the first female admitted to practice law in Alabama and the Susan B. Livingston Leadership Award to honor women who exemplify service to the community. The section sponsors a silent auction to fund the Janie Shores Scholarship for women law students who intend to practice in the State of Alabama. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
The Mobile Bar Association Women Lawyers (MBAWL) is an unofficial section of the Mobile Bar Association that dates back to the 1970s. Back when there were just a few women practicing law in Mobile, the late Alice M. Meadows (1923-1995) prompted these women to begin meeting for lunch on a regular basis so they could share advice and support one another. These lunch meetings took hold and eventually became more formalized. The group now meets regularly, elects officers, and hosts several annual events. MBAWL recognizes a local “trailblazer” – a woman attorney who has cleared the path for others – each May. MBAWL also hosts a networking event for women lawyers and other professionals in October. In recent years, MBAWL has moderated a panel discussion on the topic of women in elected office. Throughout the year, MBAWL holds lunch meetings and happy hours. One thing has not changed throughout the years, however, and that is the unique networking opportunity provided to those who attend the meetings and other events. Alabama’s women lawyers decided to work within the established bar associations rather than create a separate organization. This has allowed us to capitalize on the existing structure and resources of those bar associations as well as their financial support.
ARIZONA ARIZONA FIRSTS By Aubrey Coffey-Urban and Diana Theos
rizona was the last of the 48 contiguous states to achieve statehood (Feb. 14, 1912), but it was far from the last to advance women in law. As a western frontier, Arizona attracted women who would stake a claim on history through their achievements, and they continue to propel us forward. Sarah Sorin – Throwing Down the Gauntlet Sarah Herring Sorin (1861-1914) was the first woman attorney in Arizona, becoming barred in the Arizona Territory in 1892.1 Born in New York City on Jan. 15, 1861, Sorin’s family moved to Tombstone, Arizona, in 1882, at a time when Tombstone was the epitome of the Wild West. Her father, William Herring, was a prominent attorney there, sometimes finding himself involved in legal matters with the infamous Wyatt Earp.2 Sorin taught school when she arrived in Tombstone, becoming one of Arizona’s first female educators and possibly Arizona’s first female school principal. But when her brother Howard died in 1891, she decided to become an attorney at William’s firm to help him in Howard’s absence. Several Arizona papers reported that Sorin had now “… thrown down the gauntlet … in asserting the right of woman to enter the race of life on equal terms with man.”3
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
After she was admitted to the bar, she attended New York University’s School of Law and graduated fourth in her class in 1894. She returned to work at William’s firm, specializing in mining law.4 In 1897, the Herring family left Tombstone and relocated to Tucson, where Sarah married Thomas Sorin in 1898. Changing the name of their firm to Herring and Sorin, she continued to practice law with her father. In 1906, William submitted a motion to admit Sorin to practice in front of the United States Supreme Court.5 She was the 24th woman to be admitted to practice before the Supreme Court.6 Sorin appeared before the Court on four occasions, twice with her father and once with her brother-in-law, Selim M. Franklin. Her fourth case was in 1913, Work v. United Globe Mines, in which she was the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court without the assistance of a male attorney. Shortly after this triumph, Sorin died of pneumonia in 1914.7 Sorin’s motivation in practicing law seemed to come entirely from her desire to help her father in the family business after her brother died. Not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, she didn’t believe women should have the right to vote.8 Regardless, she started a trajectory of women lawyers that continues to expand today. In 1999, the Arizona Women Lawyers Association created the Sarah Sorin Award for members who have “demonstrated support and encouragement for the advancement of women in the legal profession.”9 Lorna Lockwood – The Snowplow10 Lorna Lockwood (1903-1977) was the first woman to be elected to the Arizona Supreme Court and the first woman chief justice of any state.11 But before that, she held many other firsts, including the first woman: to become assistant attorney general of any state; to become trial judge on the Arizona Superior Court; to graduate from the University of Arizona with a J.D.; and to chair the Arizona House Judiciary Committee.12 She also formed the first all-woman law partnership in Arizona with Loretta Savage Whitney in 1932.13 She accomplished all of this despite being told law school, the practice of law, law firms, and the bench were not places for women.14 Lockwood was born in the town of Douglas in the Arizona Territory on March 24, 1903.15 Right on the border with Mexico, Douglas was as rough a town as Tombstone at the time,16 so much so that the citizens, including Lorna and her father, used to sit on rooftops and watch the battles of the Mexican Revolution.17 Many things influenced her to go into law, including that her father was a lawyer, and Sorin’s career.18 She attended the University of Arizona, majoring in Spanish (which she would speak fluently19) and minoring in psychology.20 She became the first woman to earn her J.D. from the university in 1925. After graduating law school, it would be 14 years before Lockwood would practice law.21 Unlike Sorin, she was not able to start practicing with her father as he had become a judge.22 She worked as a secretary and legal clerk until she
established the firm with Whitney in 1939.23 In 1942, they dissolved that practice as they were not making enough money.24 She would eventually begin practicing with her father in 1945, after he lost a judicial election.25 In 1938, Lockwood ran for the Arizona House of Representatives, her long dedication to community and various women networks no doubt helping her win.26 She had been involved with many community activities, including sports, chorus, and founding a sorority in college,27 and later the Democratic Party, Eastern Star, Campfire Girls, her church, and many other organizations.28 Lockwood was re-elected in 1940. During her time in office, she worked on a merit-based system for government employees, a more equal tax system, and better assistance for the elderly.29 Lockwood eventually returned to the practice of law, then was appointed an assistant attorney general in 1949 (government jobs were some of the only ones open to women attorneys at the time).30 Lockwood applied for membership in the Lawyers Club of Phoenix but was denied. So instead, she formed her own group of women lawyers with a standing lunch date at The Flame, a popular place for lawyers at the time, where all their male colleagues could see them regularly.31 This group formed the foundation for what would become the Arizona Women Lawyers Association.32 When Lockwood had been recommended to the governor for appointment to a vacancy on the Maricopa County Superior Court, he refused. “Lorna is a fine lady, and she may be a good lawyer. But no woman is capable of being a judge.”33 So instead, she ran for the position during the regular election cycle and won her place on the court in 1950, becoming Arizona’s first woman judge.34 On the trial court, she gained a reputation for being a tough, but fair, judge. She demanded order in her courtroom and was not afraid to reverse her decisions or question precedent.35 In 1953, Lockwood began her service on the juvenile court, an issue that was very close to her heart.36 The young people who appeared in her courtroom often came back to thank her for whatever sentence, advice, or direction they received from her.37 In addition to her impact on children, Lockwood mentored many women lawyers and encouraged many to become judges.38 In 1961, she became the first woman justice of the Arizona Supreme Court (there was no intermediate appellate court at the time).39 She served as chief justice in 1965-66 and 1970-71, becoming the first woman to become chief justice of any state supreme court.40 When Lockwood retired in 1975, a banquet was held in her honor with more than 2,000 attendees from all over the state.41 In 1981, Lockwood’s goal of becoming a U.S. Supreme Court justice was realized by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. O’Connor said, “Each position I held in Arizona was one that was attained by following a course made far more accessible because Lorna Lockwood had prepared the way by proving it could be done and done well by a woman.”42 Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Referred to by many people of her time as the most
powerful woman in America,43 O’Connor is undoubtedly a legendary figure. But her roots are humble Arizona ones. Born in 1930, O’Connor was raised on her family’s Arizona ranch (which extended into New Mexico), the Lazy B.44 In contrast to the Wild West experiences of Sorin and Lockwood, O’Connor’s life in the West was much more isolated, except when she went to live with her aunt in Texas so that she could attend school.45 At the age of 16, O’Connor attended Stanford46 and graduated with both her undergraduate (economics) and law degrees in only six years.47 Although Stanford didn’t rank individual students at the time, it’s widely believed she was third in her class.48 However, she couldn’t get an interview with any firms, even though she applied to every position advertised at Stanford.49 The only firm that even replied wanted her to be a secretary.50 O’Connor got a job at the San Mateo county attorney’s office by working for free until they could pay her and sharing space with the secretary.51 After John O’Connor graduated from Stanford, they were married at the Lazy B in 1952 and moved to Arizona in 1957 after spending a few years in Germany.52 Back in Arizona, O’Connor again had trouble getting firms to hire her, so she opened her own firm with another attorney.53 She quit her practice in 1959 to be a stay-athome mother and to volunteer heavily in the community, before becoming state assistant attorney general and then being appointed to fill a vacancy as an Arizona senator.54 She became the first woman to be a party majority leader in any state senate in 1972.55 While her support for the Equal Rights Amendment was questionable,56 she systematically approached dismantling laws that discriminated against women. She made a list of such laws and in 1973 passed a measure amending more than 400 discriminatory statutes.57 In 1974, O’Connor was elected to the Maricopa County Superior Court.58 Similar to Lockwood, O’Connor kept tight control and had high standards for the behavior in her courtroom. She earned an excellent reputation as a fair judge with high-quality written opinions.59 She was invited to run for governor, but declined and became an appellate judge instead in 1979.60 In 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed her to be the first woman Supreme Court justice.61 During her 25 years on the court, she was very influential. Some even called it the “O’Connor Court” because she so often directed the decision of the Court, either by being a swing vote (she preferred “decisive” vote), or by crafting an opinion that could convince at least four justices to join her.62 Her retirement was delayed first by Bush v. Gore, as she felt it would have been “unattractive” to be a deciding vote and then have the winner appoint her successor,63 and then by the death of Justice William Rehnquist.64 She stepped down from the court in 2006 to take care of John, who had Alzheimer’s disease.65 In Arizona, both a law school (the first to be named after a woman) and a federal courthouse are named in her honor.66 After watching her mother, aunt, and husband die of Alzheimer’s, O’Connor herself, sadly, was diagnosed with it in 2016.67 National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Janet Napolitano – Continuing Legacies Continuing the legacies of many Arizona women lawyers before her, Janet Napolitano went on to achieve her own firsts, including being the first woman to hold the positions of attorney general of Arizona,68 secretary of Homeland Security,69 and president of the University of California.70 In 2012, Forbes ranked Napolitano the world’s ninth most powerful woman.71 Born in 1957 in New York City, Napolitano attended college at Santa Clara University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was the university’s first woman valedictorian.72 After graduating from University of Virginia School of Law, she clerked for Judge Mary M. Schroeder on the 9th Circuit and then became a partner at the Phoenix office of Lewis and Roca in 1989.73 While at Lewis and Roca, Napolitano was one of the attorneys to represent Anita Hill in her testimony to the U.S. Senate regarding Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Napolitano U.S. attorney for Arizona, during which time she prosecuted some of the first cybercrime cases.74 In 2002, Napolitano became Arizona’s third female governor. As governor, her accomplishments included a literacy program and investments in higher education. She won re-election, but left to serve as the first woman secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama. In this position, she created the TSA Pre-Check, expanded the Global Entry program, and spearheaded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).75 As president of the University of California, Napolitano has increased support for undocumented students, created a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025, and led efforts to combat sexual violence and harassment on campuses.76
26. David, supra note 10, at 68. 27. Id. at 18. 28. Id. at 27. 29. Id. at 30. 30. Johnson, supra note 13, at 144. 31. David, supra note 10, at 34. 32. Helen Perry Grimwood, We Still Need Women Bar Associations, Arizona Attorney, May 2001, at 44. 33. David, supra note 10, at xi. 34. Id. at 38, 40. 35. Id. at 44-46. 36. Id. at 49. 37. Id. at 51-52. 38. Id. at 52-53, 106-107. 39. Id. at 77-78. 40. Echeveste, supra note 12, at 3-5. 41. David, supra note 10, at 99-100. 42. Cleere, supra note 1, at 180. 43. Evan Thomas, First: Sandra Day O’Connor (2019) at 241. 44. Id. at 4-5. 45. Id. at 15. 46. Id. at 25. 47. Id. at 32-33. 48. Id. at 36. 49. Id. at 43. 50. Id. at 43. 51. Id. at 52. 52. Id. at 47, 54, 56. 53. Id. at 57. 54. Id. at 57, 68, 69. 55. Id. at 72. 56. Id. at 90. 57. Id. at 78, 94-95. 58. Id. at 103. 59. Id. at 104-105. 60. Id. at 110, 113. 61. Id. at 121. 62. Id. at xv, 297. 63. Id. at 333. 64. Id. at 378. 65. Id. at 320, 369. 66. Celebrating 10 Years as the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, https://law.asu.edu/asulawnewsletter/oconnor-renaming; Pub.L. 106–166. 67. Id. at xvi. 68. Ray Stern, Former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano Hospitalized With Cancer, but Recovering, Phoenix New Times, January 17, 2017, https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/ former-arizona-governor-janet-napolitano-hospitalized-with-cancer-but-recovering-8998232. 69. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security 2009 – 2013, October 31, 2017, https://www. dhs.gov/janet-napolitano. 70. Biography of President Napolitano, https://www.ucop.edu/president/about/index.html. 71. Power Women 2013, Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/profile/janet-napolitano/#2d7a75bf195e. 72. Janet Napolitano, The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/profiles/janetnapolitano-185708 73. Id. 74. Former Arizona Attorney General Confirmed as Homeland Security Secretary, NAAGazette, Vol. 3, No. 1, https://www.naag.org/publications/naagazette/volume-3-number-1/former-arizonaattorney-general-confirmed-as-homeland-security-secretary.php. 75. Supra note 74. 76. Supra note 75. 77. Thomas, supra note 46, at 269.
“As women achieve power, the barriers will fall.” – Justice O’Connor77 This year, the Arizona Women Lawyers Association celebrates its 50th anniversary, continuing to support the advancement of women in law, and continuing the legacy of so many Arizona Firsts. Endnotes 1. Jan Cleere, Levis & Lace: Arizona Women Who Made History (2011) at 154-159. 2. William Herring had attended Columbia law school and became a deputy district attorney and later served in the New York Legislature. Id. at 154. 3. Danielle Janitch, Sarah Herring Sorin: Arizona’s First Woman Attorney, Women in the Law: Stanford Law School, (2001), http://wlh-static.law.stanford.edu/papers0203/Sorin_DJanitch-S01. pdf, at 13. 4. Cleere, supra note 1, at 155. 5. Id. at 156. 6. Janitch, supra note 3, at 19. 7. Cleere, supra note 1, at 158. 8. Id. at 156-158 9. Id. at 159. 10. Lockwood was described by John Frank as “…the snowplow that broke the path for women in [Arizona].” Sonja White David, Lady Law: The Story of Arizona Supreme Court Justice Lorna Lockwood (2012) at 110. 11. Id. at xi, xii, 1, and 101. 12. Colleen Echeveste, Lorna Elizabeth Lockwood: In Pursuit of the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court Nomination, Women in the Legal Profession, Stanford Law School (2003), file:///C:/Users/Admin/ Downloads/LockwoodL-Echeveste03.pdf, 3-5. 13. James W. Johnson, Arizona Politicians: The Noble and the Notorious (2002), at 143. 14. David, supra note 10, at xi, 20, and 26. 15. Id. at 1. 16. Id. at 5-7. 17. Id. at 7-8. 18. While they didn’t know Sorin personally, her family would have discussed Sorin. Id. at 10-11. 19. Id. at 66. 20. Johnson, supra note 13, at 142. 21. David, supra note 10, at 23. 22. Johnson, supra note 13, at 143. 23. David, supra note 10, at 28. 24. Johnson, supra note 13, at 143. 25. Id. at 144.
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
CALIFORNIA WOMEN LAWYERS
ounded in 1974, California Women Lawyers (CWL) promotes the advancement of women in the legal profession and is an active advocate for the concerns of women in society. CWL’s mission is to advance women in the profession of law; to improve the administration of justice; to better the position of women in society; to eliminate all inequities based on gender; and to provide an organization for collective action and expression germane to the aforesaid purposes. As the only statewide bar association for women in California, CWL represents the interests of all facets of the legal profession, influencing lawyers, educators, students, and judges. CWL consistently provides a high level of support and commitment to their individual career goals, and to the collective goals of women in law and society. CWL provides unique resources and support to its members. Each year, CWL presents two awards to outstanding members of the judiciary: the Rose Bird
Memorial Award and the Joan Dempsey Klein Distinguished Jurist Award. These awards are named after, and presented to, members of the judiciary who are pioneers and luminaries for women in the legal profession.
WOMEN LAWYERS OF SACRAMENTO Founded in 1962, Women Lawyers of Sacramento (WLS) reaches beyond the practice of law by promoting the interests of women in the community. We advocate for legislative changes to benefit women and children, support qualified candidates for judicial and other public appointments, and sponsor events to provide our members with opportunities to meet other attorneys, judges, and legislators. WLS offers monthly luncheons and other programs featuring well-known speakers on a range of topics such as glass-ceiling issues, sexual harassment, judicial independence, civility, and health care reform. Our annual Supreme Court reception honors the justices of our state’s highest court, while our judicial and legislative receptions honor judges and legislators. WLS also encourages qualified women to seek judicial and other public appointments and supports legislation promoting the interests of women and children. We offer a monthly electronic newsletter with current legal issues, member achievements, upcoming events, and job opportunities. We engage in community outreach and work with other bar organizations on a variety of issues.
LAWYERS CLUB OF SAN DIEGO Sarah Boot, LC President 2012-2013 Introduction Founded in 1972, Lawyers Club of San Diego’s mission is to advance the status of women in the law and society. Lawyers Club is the largest specialty bar association in San Diego, with more than 1,300 members of all genders, including attorneys at various public agencies, law firm managing and equity partners, retired and active federal and state judges, current and former U.S. attorneys, current and former San Diego district attorneys, San Diego public defenders, and federal defenders of San Diego, as well as law firm associates, law students, and others in the San Diego community who share our mission of advancing the status of women in the law and society. We are a proud affiliate of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, the National Association of Women Lawyers, and California Women Lawyers. Our membership continues to grow each year, illustrating the value it provides to its members to advance the mission. Our charitable arm, the Lawyers Club Fund for Justice, is a donor-advised fund at The San Diego Foundation. Lawyers Club, through its Fund for Justice, has awarded more than $400,000 to 45 organizations since its inception in 1997.
In 2022, Lawyers Club will celebrate its 50th anniversary, marking a half-century of advocacy, activism, and shared vision focused on advancing the status of women in the law and society. Women Lawyers in San Diego County: The Early Years The San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA), which dates back to 1899, was run solely by males until January 1945. That’s when the Bar Association – at the time a membership-by-invitation-only organization – invited the 15 women who were practicing in San Diego County to join, serve on committees, and attend monthly luncheon/dinner bar meetings. On Aug. 22, 1945, a week after VJ Day, eight of these women met with the officers of the Bar Association for a luncheon meeting in the English Room of the U.S. Grant Hotel. They agreed to form the Women’s Division of the San Diego County Bar Association, which later was called Women Lawyers of San Diego. The first undertaking of this new group was to present the October Bar Association luncheon program featuring Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge May D. Lahey, who spoke on “Women in the Law.” After surveying the issue from ancient times down to the present day, Lahey suggested that the ideal law firm should include a woman attorney. The second undertaking of the female members of the SDCBA was to elect a woman to the bar board. Madge Bradley was elected and took her seat in January 1946. During the next 20 years, women lawyers continued to maintain a presence in the legal community as part of the SDCBA, but the number of women lawyers in the county remained relatively small. Among the many firsts and seconds for women attorneys in the mid 1960s were: Betty Boone, who graduated from University of San Diego Law School in 1964, was the first woman to be employed as trust counsel by Title Insurance and Trust Company and later the first woman deputy county counsel of San Diego County; Artie Henderson, who became the second woman to be employed as a San Diego deputy city attorney in 1967; and Marge Stein, who became the second woman deputy district attorney of San Diego County, also in 1967. Up until then, the San Diego legal community had grown accustomed to absorbing two or three new women lawyers a year. However, the second half of the 1960s saw the number of women attending law school grow tremendously. By the early 1970s, women comprised half of the students at some law schools. The new women attorneys coming to San Diego were less inclined than their predecessors to accept the fact that many professional clubs and meeting places were closed to them because of their gender. These and other concerns led to the formation of Lawyers Club of San Diego, which was created on March 27, 1972, pursuant to a resolution of the members of the Women Lawyers of San Diego, and, according to the July 1972 DICTA (a publication of SDCBA), “supersede[d] the informal group known as The Women Lawyers of San Diego.” National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
The 1970s: Organizing and Opening Doors In the 1970s, more young women were graduating from law schools, and women began making inroads into public agencies and private law firms, but women attorneys still were not very visible; they were few and not in high profile positions. Women and minorities were conspicuously missing from programs like Inns of Court. There were no women in the California Supreme Court until the controversial appointment of Rose Bird as chief justice, and there were no women in the U.S. Supreme Court until 1981. The first decade of Lawyers Club (LC) saw the birth of key initiatives and recurring events that continue to define the club. Raging political battles over issues including abortion, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and government funding for child care were frequently addressed. Legislative updates on proposed laws impacting women were regularly featured in the newsletter, including those addressing domestic violence, sexual harassment, and rape. Lawyers Club was not afraid to take on controversies, including an objectionable dress code ordered by a Superior Court judge but later stayed by a writ from the Court of Appeal. Members took note when a 1977 state study determined there wasn’t a single shelter for battered women in San Diego County. The board voted in 1978 to oppose the Briggs Initiative, which would have permitted the firing of homosexual teachers. In 1982, a club member discovered a “rape skit” was planned for the annual SDCBA dinner and Lawyers Club pressure took it off the program. By law, husbands managed community property and women couldn’t have credit in their own names; they needed their husbands’ written permission to open accounts. There were hardly any domestic violence arrests or cases filed. Many people considered domestic violence the parties’ private business and argued the victim obviously liked it or she would have left. These injustices angered us and inspired us to work for change. Women attorneys helped change the laws. Lawyers Club in 1972 The ERA was a national topic in 1972, and the fight was on to get states to ratify the amendment. In California, the process was stalled by a state senator. The fight for passage of the ERA in California was one of the first battles of LC. The Equal Rights Amendment was written by an attorney, Alice Paul. Paul, a leader of the woman suffrage movement, wrote the ERA in 1923, the same year it was introduced in Congress. It took 49 years before the House and Senate passed the proposed amendment (after additional rewording), sending it off to the states for ratification in 1972. The amendment to the U.S. Constitution sought to guarantee that equal rights under any federal, state, or local law could not be denied on account of sex. When Lawyers Club of San Diego was founded in 1972, the first order of business after installation of officers was to create the Equal Rights Amendment Committee, chaired by one of the original founders of Lawyers Club,
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Linda Navarro. It was agreed that a meeting with State Sen. James R. Mills (president pro tem of the Senate, and representing San Diego’s 40th District) should be arranged to “present arguments to rebut his opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment.” Navarro was tasked with coordinating the arguments written by each board member. She and Lawyers Club President Judith McConnell met with Mills, who assured them of the likely California passage of the ERA in January 1973. McConnell recalled Mills’ characterization of the ERA as “Mickey Mouse” and his use of position as chair of the Senate Rules Committee to block a vote on it in California. However, public support for passage and an impromptu meeting with Lynn Schenk, a Lawyers Club of San Diego founder, at a political dinner caused Mills to appoint a Blue Ribbon Committee, with members including McConnell, Sharron Voorhees, and Henderson (among others). “Our first and only meeting lasted less than 10 minutes as we all agreed the ERA should be supported,” said McConnell. Mills stated publicly that he would give “considerable weight” to the findings of the panel; and in fact, the legislation to ratify the amendment was released from his committee and sent to the Senate, where it was ratified on Nov. 13, 1972. The Assembly had earlier that spring voted to approve the resolution to ratify the ERA. Reflecting back, Schenk believes that seeking California ratification of the ERA “helped coalesce us and showed us how there is power in working together, and that we can make change working together.” Schenk said that with Lawyers Club being newly formed and generally unknown, the ERA push “helped expand the circle of people who knew about Lawyers Club.” She believed that Mills and others thought Lawyers Club was much bigger than it actually was at the time, “so we leveraged that.” In the legal profession, the day-to-day life of a lawyer was tough enough. The daily life of a female lawyer had additional layers of frustration heaped upon it. Even assuming female attorneys could find work in the profession, they were still excluded from the “old boys’ network.” As Schenk recalled, in those days, “people went out to lunch every day; it was the time to bond and to get the ‘deals’ done … There were only three decent places within walking distance of the courthouse: the Cuyamaca Club, which was private, the Westgate Hotel, and the Grant Grill. The Grill was ‘the’ place, and they would not let us in at lunch. Our decision to bring down that barrier … was made at the same time we were already forming LC. It was not the impetus for forming LC. However … it was an understandable symbol of all the other women ‘keep out’ signs in the laws, in the legal profession, and in society.” We wanted equal pay, equal treatment, and equal opportunities. It did not come easily. We knew if we were excluded from places where important decisions were being made, we wouldn’t have equality. McConnell, Schenk, and Elaine Alexander insisted on being served at the Grant Grill in 1972, opening the door to women.
The San Diego County Bar Association’s board of directors had a female board member, Dorothy Belkin. It was Schenk’s recollection that the then bar president felt that “one girl” was sufficient, and thus was resistant to women lawyers participating on bar committees. The founders and early supporters of Lawyers Club also wanted to take action to correct the underrepresentation of women in the judiciary. In April 1979, the club formed an Appointment Qualification Committee to help women seek judicial appointments, and so the club could issue endorsements to highly regarded candidates. Also offered were briefings about state board and commission vacancies and how to win them. The work of Lawyers Club’s mission – to advance the status of women in the law and in society – continues. And it will continue until we achieve gender equality, here in San Diego and beyond. We, as an organization, as a sisterhood standing with hundreds of male allies, still have a great deal of work to do. Our founding mothers and early members opened the doors to the legal profession for us … countless women have walked through these doors and made huge strides. Along the way, these women and their male allies have reached back to lift up the women coming behind them, and they have reached outward to improve the lives of women in this community. That’s what this organization is about. And it is clear that the work of Lawyers Club must continue. This history is extracted from Lawyers Club of San Diego at 40, A Look Back and Forward, 1972-2012 and Beyond, with specific articles and contributions from Rivian Taylor (Lawyers Club Newsletter, June 1997), Pamela Lawton Wilson, George W. Brewster Jr., Betty Evans Boone, Sarah Boot, Hon. Judith McConnell, and Hon. Lynn Schenk.
and society. The first Queen’s Bench planning meeting was held Dec. 11, 1920. Invitations were sent to every woman lawyer in the vicinity of San Francisco, California – a total of 26 at the time. Twenty-one women accepted and gathered at the Tait-Zinkand Cafe on O’Farrell Street in San Francisco. Some attendees felt the purpose of the organization should be to further professional contacts and create a substitute for the Bar Association of San Francisco, where intolerance by some male members made participation by women lawyers uncomfortable and difficult. The attendees were nevertheless mindful of those who believed that “it was inadvisable to emphasize a distinction between the sexes in the profession, and that a woman’s bar association would increase, rather than diminish, the obvious prejudice of men in the profession.” The final policy decision at the first meeting was not to create a separate bar association, but to work within the existing one. All 21 of the attendees at the December luncheon signed on as charter members, and another four women attorneys joined Queen’s Bench before the end of the year. Queen’s Bench eventually did become an independent bar association, however, in acknowledgment of the distinct issues women face in gaining equal recognition in the legal profession. Since that time, Queen’s Bench has gone on to see its membership and community grow, which includes many esteemed women judges, women judicial officers, and other distinguished women leaders in the legal profession. Queen’s Bench looks forward to celebrating its centennial in 2021.
QUEEN’S BENCH BAR ASSOCIATION OF THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
By Rebecca Hooley Queen’s Bench Bar Association of the San Francisco Bay Area was established in 1921, 43 years after the first woman lawyer, Clara Shortridge Foltz, was admitted to practice in California and, with the help of Foltz’s lobbying, the California state Woman Lawyer’s Bill, allowing admission to “any citizen or person,” was passed. The law was one of the earliest American statutes allowing women to practice law. Despite this success, Foltz and other women attorneys in California faced severe obstacles to the practice of law for many years to come. Women’s suffrage passed in California only in 1911, and it took until 1917 that another law was enacted allowing women on California juries. In 1920, 72 years after the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting all women the right to vote. It was in this context that the first women’s bar associations in California were formed. Begrudgingly granted admission to the California State Bar and to the Bar Association of San Francisco, women lawyers were not welcome. Ever resourceful, the women lawyers of the San Francisco Bay Area banded together to form Queen’s Bench to further the interests of women in law
HISTORY OF THE CANADIAN BAR ASSOCIATION WOMEN LAWYERS FORUM
he Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Women Lawyers Forum (WLF) is a much younger women’s bar association than many in the United States and other countries. The idea of creating it was first raised in the late 1990s and was the focus of a CBA President’s Forum held in 2001 in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC). The President’s Forum was such a success that it became apparent that the time had come to start a women lawyers section. Unlike the NCWBA, the WLF is a section of the Canadian Bar Association. The CBA is the equivalent of the American Bar Association. You must be a member of the CBA in order to join the WLF. However, the WLF is more similar in structure to the NCWBA than to the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, as it forms a cross-country network of provincial forums that work with the national WLF. The first WLF was formed in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2003, when the CBA BC Branch voted to create a new section devoted to women lawyers. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Celebrating women who pave the way.
As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first female lawyer in America, we applaud the trailblazing accomplishments of women past and present. BMO is honoured to have been a two-time winner of the prestigious Catalyst Award, dedicated to accelerating the progress of women in the workplace. We continue to be inspired by the leaders surrounding us every day.
Members of the Canadian Bar Association Women Lawyers Forum executive committee gather in Toronto in October 2018.
As the BC WLF was such an immediate success, the first BC WLF chair took the idea across Canada and spoke to many CBA provincial council meetings. As a result, a national WLF (as part of the CBA) was formally created in 2005. Each province was encouraged to start its own Women Lawyers Forum, and today, in addition to the national WLF, there is a forum in all 10 provinces and two of the three territories. Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, had a longstanding women lawyers association within the CBA called the Feminist Legal Action Committee. After some years of coexistence with the Ontario WLF, the two groups merged to form one women lawyers group known as the Ontario WLF. There are also a few cities in Canada that have longstanding independent women lawyers’ associations that are not part of the CBA. Some of these independent associations coexist alongside their provincial WLF while some remain the sole women lawyers’ group (often due to the small number of women lawyers in their region). Each provincial WLF has programs that suit its jurisdiction and population, such as educational workshops and speakers, networking events, local conferences, and awards recognizing outstanding women lawyers. One of the British Columbia WLF’s flagship programs is its Mentoring Program, which has seen more than 2,000 women mentors and mentees participate since 2003. It is the largest mentoring program for women lawyers in Canada. The BC WLF now has branches in three other regions around the province, each with its own local programs and access to programs run province-wide, such as the Mentoring Program. The national WLF holds a biannual two-day leadership conference. These conferences have been very successful at bringing women from across the country together. National Leadership Conferences have been held in Toronto in 2010, Montreal in 2013, Vancouver in 2015, and Calgary in 2017; in 2019, the conference will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The national WLF focuses its programs, research, and submissions to the national CBA on important women’s issues such as sexual harassment within the legal profession, equal pay, using gender-neutral language, and the appointment of more women judges.
The national CBA WLF is the only women lawyers’ association outside the United States to have formal liaison status with both the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession (since 2009) and with the NCWBA. A member of the WLF executive committee attends the ABA Midyear and Annual meetings and NCWBA Midyear meeting and annual Women’s Bar Leadership Summit to share knowledge and experience with our American sisters in law. The WLF has been an important reason why many women have joined the Canadian Bar Association as members and why it was chosen in 2018 for a special CBA Sections award. The WLF is seen as the voice of women lawyers within the CBA and in the public arena.
COLORADO FROM BARRED TO BAR: THE UNSINKABLE RISE OF THE COLORADO WOMEN’S BAR ASSOCIATION By Jessica A. Volz, Ph.D. The CWBA Marks 40 Years Forty years after filing its articles of incorporation with the Colorado secretary of state on June 1, 1979, marking its official formation as a nonprofit, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association (CWBA) continues to be the largest diversity bar association in Colorado, with nearly 1,300 active members, most of whom are in the Denver metro area. In the five years leading up to this anniversary, the CWBA engaged more than 2,000 women attorneys in its critical program of work. The CWBA’s mission remains unaltered since the organization’s inception in 1978: “to advance women in the legal profession and the interests of women generally.” Even if times have changed since the days when Past President (Judge) Theresa Spahn organized potlucks to stir up momentum for the CWBA, finding the fortitude to do what it takes to get the job done is something for which members have always had an insatiable appetite. Likewise, the CWBA recognizes that it must embrace change in order to effect it: In 1997, the CWBA was one of the first women’s bar associations to have a homepage on the World Wide Web; in 2006, Vanessa Walton became the first woman of color to be president of the CWBA; and in 2018, the organization embarked on a strategic plan prioritizing, among other objectives, increasing the diversity and retention rate of its membership by 2020.1 The need for a women’s bar association in Colorado has not diminished, as women’s issues remain a battleground to be conquered. The CWBA offers women attorneys an intergenerational forum for championing the elimination of affinity bias, discrimination, intimidation, and other roadblocks to achieving their goals. Since 2012, the organization has also focused on facilitating meaningful National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
networking and mentoring sessions for young women lawyers. A 1998 careers and compensation study found that the average net income for full-time female attorneys in Colorado was 59 percent of that of their male counterparts.2 Twenty years later, McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2018 indicated that though companies profess to be committed to gender diversity, desired outcomes are lagging.3 More disturbingly yet, in 2019, the World Bank reported that only six countries currently give women and men equal rights – and the United States is not one of them.4 Addressing the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which Titanic survivor and barrister Elsie Bowerman helped form,5 UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a pushback against the recent “pushback” on women’s rights.6 As the #MeToo, Time’s Up, and HeForShe movements shake up patriarchal power structures, the possibility of a society where women can “have it all” (or all that they want) – and get paid the same, too – presents the CWBA with an opportunity to shape the course of the future for women in the legal profession and beyond. Fueled by this boundless energy, the organization was the driving force behind the introduction of the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act in the Colorado General Assembly on Jan. 18, 2019. Today, the CWBA has eight chapters outside of the Denver metro area and offers a spectrum of committees dedicated to supporting women in the law and the welfare of all women. The CWBA recognizes that to promote a more just society, a woman’s place should be everywhere, from the legislature to the bench. Colorado is a role model in this respect, as women now make up 45 percent of the Colorado General Assembly – the highest proportion of any legislature in the nation – and represent 37 percent of the state’s judges.7 While these benchmarks indicate how far women in the state have come, gender parity remains a call to action rather than an actuality. Agents of Change The rise of the CWBA is inextricable from Colorado’s history of pioneering women in the law. According to most sources, the first woman licensed to practice law in the Centennial State was Mary S. Thomas, who, in 1891, successfully petitioned the state of Colorado for the right to practice law, making Colorado the 25th state to enable women to take up the profession.8 Though American women would have to wait until 1920 to vote in federal elections, in 1893, Colorado became the first in the nation to use a state referendum to pass women’s suffrage into law.9 Prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Colorado had opened a number of other doors to women. In 1894, Clara Cressingham, Carrie Holly, and Frances Klock were elected to the Colorado House of Representatives, becoming the first women to be elected to any legislature in U.S. history.10 In the 20th century, women lawyers continued to defy the limitations imposed on their private and professional lives. The commitments of motherhood and “lawyerhood” were not entirely incompatible. In 1911 – the year that witnessed the first International Women’s Day – Lydia B.
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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor visits Denver in 1988. She is pictured with 1987-1988 CWBA President Wendy Davis (center) and Judi Wagner (right), founder of the Women’s Bank of Denver. Wagner hired the first woman president and CEO of a bank in Colorado. Following this lead, other banks promoted women to management positions, where historically 80 percent of bank employees were women and less than 3 percent were in management.
Tague, a widow raising five children, was appointed as the first female judge in Colorado and possibly the nation.11 Nonetheless, gender-based discrimination endured. When Norma Comstock became the first female president of the Denver Bar Association in 1965, she was prohibited from attending the annual membership picnic because it was a “stag party.”12 Three years later, after applying to the FBI and receiving multiple rejections, Sandra Rothenberg was informed that “our Special Agent position must be limited to males.”13 Undaunted, the future president of the CWBA showcased her stamina as the lead plaintiff in a historic class action lawsuit alleging sexual discrimination by the FBI.14 Even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which established the illegality of discrimination on the basis of sex, the status of women in the legal and political spheres remained so lackluster that Pat Schroeder – the first woman to represent Colorado in Congress – had to share a single chair with the first black member of the House Armed Services Committee.15 The infamous “bathroom excuse” fortified skyscrapers’ glass ceilings as firms resorted to citing the nonexistence of a ladies’ room to veil their resolve not to hire women lawyers.16 Yet Colorado women persisted and prevailed: In 1974, Aurel M. Kelly became the first woman appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals; in 1977, Christine Arguello (now a federal judge) became the first Latina admitted to Harvard Law School; and in 1979, Jean Dubofsky became the first woman appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court.17 A Bar Is Born Despite the many strides that Colorado women lawyers made from 1891, when they secured the right to practice law, to 1979, the year when the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin entered into circulation, perhaps their greatest achievement lies in the formation of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association. On Jan. 19, 1978, Natalie Ellwood and 18
other women lawyers, similarly fed up with the status quo, convened in her law office’s basement to discuss the need for an independent power base in Colorado that promoted women in the law and the judiciary. As there was no debate as to whether such an organization should exist, the meeting concluded with Jo Ann Weinstein, who had been appointed temporary treasurer, collecting $10 from 17 attendees, amounting to $170 in dues.18 To put it more poetically, these women were, in their own way, fulfilling the call to action that Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother of feminism, had issued in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792): “I do not wish [women] to have power over men, but over themselves.”19 At the next meeting on March 2, 1978, the discussion returned to the pressing question: What were they to call the organization? The Bylaws and Constitution Committee had already thrown out, among other suggestions, “Amici Curiae” and “Colorado Women’s Law Caucus.”20 While some were concerned that the phrase “women’s bar association” would anger male attorneys, others concluded that “those who wish to view it benevolently will see it that way regardless of the name.”21 The case of Colorado Women’s Bar Association v. Some Other Name ended with a vote of 25-13 in favor of the use of Colorado Women’s Bar Association.22 Temporary officers were elected to serve for an initial period of three months, at which point a convention was to be held outside of Denver at a date, time, place, and expense that would be left to the recommendations of the Convention Committee.23 On July 22 and 23, 1978, approximately one-eighth of the female attorneys licensed to practice in Colorado ascended to Keystone to form their own bar association. The first Annual Convention of the CWBA attracted 105 attorneys and 15 law students.24 Acting President Ellwood called the meeting to order, paving the way for numerous motions to be made. Following a cookout lunch, Barbara Allen Babcock gave the keynote address. The event culminated in the unanimous election of the CWBA’s first official cohort of officers: Ellwood (president); Frances Koncilja (vice president); Sandra Rothenberg (secretary); Weinstein (treasurer); and Kathy Bonham (parliamentarian).25 The Annual Convention continues to represent a calendar highlight, with the 2018 edition at The Sebastian – Vail attracting record numbers and nationally renowned speakers, including Paulette Brown, the first woman of color to be president of the American Bar Association. Perhaps the most poignant summation of the impetus for a women’s bar association in Colorado appears in Ellwood’s article in the November 1978 edition of CWBA’s quarterly newsletter, The Advocate: At the age of thirty, after five years of practicing law, I suddenly realized that I had had an unrealistic dream about practicing law and being a woman. By the age of 34, I was made abruptly aware by an overbearing Denver District Court Judge ... that the dream was totally unrealistic; and never existed at all. The dream: that since I was a young woman who managed to thread my way through the rigors and boredom of law
school, that not only would I be accepted by the lawyer fraternity upon receiving my license, but that I would most certainly pave the way for acceptance in that same community for all women who desired to practice law. Wrong! ... I saw that when a female attorney entered the courtroom she was scrutinized by the male attorney with an eye I have never seen cast upon another male both in terms of ability and physical looks. Finally, I realized that women are definitely treated differently than men in my conservative profession, run and promoted for centuries by males. I also discovered that ... I yearned for support and companionship from women who shared common goals and ideas with me.26 Whereas Ellwood reflected on the past, other early contributors looked to the future with newfound hope. One article recorded 33 women from both major political parties as seeking office; another inclusion articulated the governor’s “desperate need” for the resumes of women attorneys interested in serving on judicial selection committees.27 A third contribution discussed the minimum continuing legal education (CLE) requirements for all Colorado attorneys and the CWBA’s resolve to provide accredited programs that shared the expertise of notable women professionals.28 By May 1979, Weinstein had reported that the organization’s budget was 180 members strong, and Judicial Committee Chair Beth McCann was fortifying women lawyers with her slogan, “You don’t have to be a Superman to be a Judge!”29 The Public Policy Committee, chaired by Janice Buchanan, was also translating talk into sustained action and had approved a lobbying effort in support of the continuation of Colorado’s Commission for Women.30 Thirteen years later, in 1992, the CWBA opposed Colorado’s Amendment 2, which would have prevented any city, town, or county in the state from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to recognize homosexuals or bisexuals as a protected class. Though Coloradans narrowly voted in favor of its passage, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled it as unconstitutional in Romer v. Evans. Fittingly, it was CWBA member Jean Dubofsky – Colorado’s first female Colorado Supreme Court justice – who, after returning to private practice, was the lead attorney on the case.31 From Funds to New Foundations The CWBA’s philanthropic reach continues to achieve altitude and influence. In 1988, the CWBA established a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable fund, now known as the CWBA Foundation. Its mission and purpose are to implement the charitable and educational work of the CWBA. The Foundation’s annual “Raising the Bar” dinner, introduced in 2006, honors women lawyers who have made a difference in the community and “raised the bar” for all women. Justice Mary Mullarkey, who starred in the CWBA’s 2004 Raising the Bar film, is one recipient of the CWBA’s Mary Lathrop Trailblazer Award who raised the bar in a way that laid the architectural foundations for a new skyline of justice in the state. As the first female and longestserving Colorado Supreme Court chief justice to date, she National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
has recognized that “the CWBA makes Colorado a better place for women to practice law.”32 Throughout Colorado’s phases of growth, there was one fixture that troubled her: the overcrowded and outdated justice center. After becoming chief justice in 1998, she found a way to achieve bipartisan support and ultimately secure the funds to pay for the state-of-the-art Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center through court filing fees and federal stimulus money.33 While a Colorado woman has yet to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor told a captivated CWBA audience in 1982 that “[i]f you’d like to come sit with me, I’ll save you a seat.”34 More than a decade after her departure, the dream lives on. This article is indebted to the CWBA’s historical records and those Colorado women lawyers who graciously provided their perspectives on the organization’s past, present, and future. Endnotes 1. This information is documented in the CWBA’s timeline and on the organization’s website. 2. This study is included in the CWBA’s timeline. 3. McKinsey’s report can be accessed here: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/genderequality/women-in-the-workplace-2018. 4. The World Bank’s study—Women, Business and the Law 2019—can be downloaded here: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/31327/WBL2019.pdf. 5. Many of Bowerman’s papers are housed in the Women’s Library at the London School of Economics: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/7faddc17-6891-4f8b-900450df790b0787. She and Margaret Brown were among the women’s rights activists who survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic on lifeboat 6. Bowerman went on to become the first woman barrister at the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales. In 1946, she was tapped to become the first secretary of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. 6. See, e.g., “UN chief warns of ‘relentless’ pushback on women’s rights” (March 11, 2019), The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/un-chief-warns-of-relentless-pushbackon-womens-rights/2019/03/11/17bd3d2c-4447-11e9-94ab-d2dda3c0df52_story.html?utm_ term=.0c5695b1dbd9. 7. Statistics supplied by CWBA Executive Director Kim Sporrer in March 2019. 8. See, e.g., Samantha T.F. Lillehoff’s “2018 National Women’s History Month: The 1891” in The Advocate (Spring 2018), pp. 7, 15. 9. See Jennifer Frost’s “Why Did Women Win the Right to Vote in Colorado in the 19th Century?” (October 14, 2018), History News Network, https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/170178. 10. See “7 women who led the way to equality in Colorado” (August 23, 2018), History Colorado Center, https://www.historycolorado.org/story/womens-history/2018/08/23/7-women-who-led-wayequality-colorado. 11. See The Hon. Mary A. Celeste’s “A Brief Herstory of Colorado Women Trailblazers in the Law” in The Advocate (December 2002), pp. 4–7. 12. Id. 13. The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame offers an evocative account of Rothenberg’s victories in combating discrimination: https://www.cogreatwomen.org/project/sandra-i-rothenberg. 14. See Alli Gerkman’s and Monica Rosenbluth’s article on Rosenberg in The Advocate (Winter 2014–15), p. 9. 15. See The Hon. Mary A. Celeste’s “A Brief Herstory of Colorado Women Trailblazers in the Law” in The Advocate (December 2002), pp. 4–7. 16. Id. 17. Id. 18. This information is documented in the Minutes. 19. See Volz, Visuality in the Novels of Austen, Radcliffe, Edgeworth and Burney (London and New York: Anthem Press, 2017), p. 210. 20. This information is documented in the Minutes. 21. Id. 22. Id. 23. Id. 24. See the first issue of The Advocate (September 1978), p. 1, and the Minutes. 25. Id. 26. See “Why A Women’s Bar?” in The Advocate (November 1978), p. 3. 27. See The Advocate (September 1978). 28. Id. 29. See The Advocate (May 1979). 30. Id. 31. See Susan Berry Casey’s Appealing for Justice (Denver: Gilpin Park Press, 2016). 32. Perspective supplied by Justice Mullarkey during an interview with her in December 2016. 33. See Volz, “A Conversation with CBA Award of Merit Recipient Justice Mary J. Mullarkey,” 46 The Colorado Lawyer 2 (February 2017), pp. 13–16. 34. See the CWBA’s “Women Lawyers in Colorado—Past, Present & Future.”
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WOMEN’S BAR ASSOCIATION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (WBA DC)
n 1917, the Bar Association of DC (BADC) refused to admit women, which inspired the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia’s (WBA DC) founders and visionaries,
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma M. Gillett, together with 29 other founding members, to create their own professional organization to address the needs of their female colleagues. Any woman in good standing with the Bar of the Supreme Court of DC could join for annual dues of $1.00. Membership increased rapidly, and by the end of 1917, at least 40 percent of those eligible had joined the WBA. One of the first WBA committees, and for decades one of its most active, was the Legislation Committee. In the WBA’s first decade alone, the committee drafted and testified on Capitol Hill in support of legislation to: • Repeal restrictions on the capacity of married women to contract; • Prevent discrimination against women under inheritance laws; • Support maternal health and hygiene, in order to reduce the unacceptably high death rate for women and their babies in childbirth; and • Guarantee protections to children born out of wedlock. The WBA also endorsed a proposed treaty providing for the extradition of men who had “deserted their families” by crossing the border between the United States and Canada. Prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the WBA’s founders were marching on Washington and demanding the right to vote. In addition to its focus on women’s suffrage, throughout its history, the WBA has advocated for voting rights for DC residents. The WBA’s founders, Mussey and Gillett, also founded what is now American University’s Washington College of Law (WCL). In 1924, the WBA began scholarships for women at the WCL and the National University School of Law (now The George Washington University Law School). During the late 1920s and 1930s, the WBA continued its legislative activism. The WBA endorsed revisions to the laws of descent and distribution in order to eliminate the preference for males over females, and in 1935, the Legislation Committee worked toward passage of a bill to further improve the inheritance status of women. In 1937, the WBA moved to endorse bills in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to revise the DC Code and reduce the barriers to women serving on juries. The WBA continued to champion DC suffrage. In 1936, the WBA endorsed joint resolutions of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives proposing a constitutional amendment to grant DC representation in the Senate, House, and Electoral College and provide the citizens of DC the same rights before courts as the residents of the states enjoyed. More than 20 years after the WBA’s founding, in 1941, the WBA successfully lobbied the BADC to amend its bylaws to admit women. The WBA’s Legislation Committee lobbied in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and laws on the equalization of inheritance rights. The WBA endorsed the Adoption Bill and the Juvenile Court Bill, both of which were passed by Congress in 1938. Continuing its ongoing campaign for DC suffrage, the WBA publicly supported a plebiscite on suffrage for DC residents
in 1946, and the WBA president gave a radio address in support of the vote in which she focused on reasons women in the District should want to vote in national elections. In the 1950s, the WBA supported the creation of a Legal Aid Society for DC. In addition, the WBA provided comments on proposed changes to DC laws regarding adoptions, the administration of estates, and the abolishment of dower and curtesy (a surviving spouse’s right to a set portion of a deceased spouse’s estate). The WBA also continued to voice public support for DC home rule and DC suffrage. In 1954, the WBA began a tradition that has continued into current times, sponsoring its first reception honoring new U.S. citizens. Following a naturalization ceremony at the federal courthouse in DC, 99 new citizens were greeted by members of the WBA. One of the most contentious yet important moments within the WBA’s history occurred in 1962, when the WBA voted to “break the color barrier” and admit its first AfricanAmerican member, Dovey Johnson Roundtree. Also in 1962, the WBA established a Committee on the Placement of Women Lawyers to assist members in identifying available legal positions, and it continued its endorsement of women lawyers for nomination to the bench. In 1965, the WBA sent a letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson decrying the lack of female judges in DC. In 1965, the WBA successfully lobbied the Presidential Commissioners appointed to oversee the District to include a prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex in new fair employment regulations. In the 1960s, the WBA also endorsed legislation eliminating rules allowing the federal government to specify “men only” when selecting employees, addressing requirements for obtaining divorces, confirming the rights of married women to own property, supporting the abolition of mandatory capital punishment, and reforming the role and scope of the juvenile courts. By 1966, more than 45 states had created commissions on the status of women, but DC had resisted. Consequently, the WBA sponsored a conference of local women’s organizations, which unanimously agreed that the creation of such a commission would be advantageous to the women in the District. As a result, DC instituted a local commission in 1967. In 1971, with the support of several WBA members as cofounders, the Women’s Legal Defense Fund, later renamed the National Partnership for Women & Families, was established to advance women’s rights through litigation, education, information, and counseling. Throughout the ’70s, the WBA endorsed legislation removing restrictions on the careers of female military officers and other forms of sexual discrimination, as well as measures targeting bail reform, drug crimes, and nofault insurance. In 1976, the WBA joined 50 women’s organizations in the Coalition for Women’s Appointments working to increase the number of women in administrative policy-making positions. The National Women’s Political Caucus reported that within three years of the coalition’s
founding, the number of women in full-time appointed positions increased by 10 percent. The WBA created a task force to assess the purposes and effectiveness of the WBA in 1979. Following a recommendation from that task force, in 1980, the WBA instituted a series of forums and committees intended to provide informal outlets for discussions between members with similar interests. Initially, the WBA launched a dozen forums centering around particular practice areas and, recognizing their unique concerns, also started groups for working parents and new lawyers. In 1980, the WBA voted to break a different gender barrier, accepting male members for the first time. During the ’80s, the WBA also endorsed federal bills relating to civil rights, domestic violence prevention and assistance, parental and medical leave, and equal pay for equal work for women. In 1981, the Women’s Bar Association Foundation (WBAF) was founded as the association’s charitable and philanthropic arm. An early project sponsored by the WBAF included an annual holiday party to collect donations for the House of Ruth, a shelter for homeless and battered women in DC. The WBA ushered in 1991 with the election of its first African-American president. Twice in four years, mayors of DC announced a Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia Day: Mayor Marion Barry on Oct. 2, 1989, and Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly on May 5, 1992, in celebration of the WBA’s 75th anniversary. In 1993, the WBA provided testimony before the DC Council’s Judiciary Committee in support of the Anti-Sexual Abuse Act of 1993. The WBA participated extensively in letter-writing campaigns, issued public statements, and lobbied Congress and the White House in support of the Family & Medical Leave Act of 1993. In 1994, the WBA submitted a letter supporting H.R. 966, which placed a numerical value on the unremunerated work related to family care and maintenance of households. The WBA was part of a coalition supporting the federal Freedom of Choice Act that would guarantee the right to abortion even if Roe v. Wade was overturned and joined a campaign to support the ABA’s reproductive rights resolution. Both actions were in keeping with the membership’s vote in 1989 to take steps to protect women’s right to choose. As this decade progressed, the WBA recognized that women’s advancement had stalled. While many of the battles to hire women seemed won, it became increasingly clear throughout the 1990s and early 2000s that, compared to men, there was disproportionate attrition of women and women of color from law firms and other places of legal employment. In 2006, recognizing the need for a more sustained focus on issues affecting women’s advancement and satisfaction in the profession, the WBA launched its groundbreaking Initiative on Advancement and Retention of Women. The initiative sought to create a dialogue among stakeholders in the profession and to facilitate women and women of color’s success in, and stem their disproportionate attrition from, law firms. In Phase I, the WBA brought National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
together law firm and corporate leaders, experts on diversity and inclusion, professors, and lawyers to discuss why women disproportionately leave law firm practice. The WBA used the findings from those programs to write its 2006 initiative report, Creating Pathways to Success. This report garnered national acclaim and can be found at www.wbadc.org/initiative. That same year, the WBA filed briefs and provided comments in connection with cases and legislation of interest to its membership, including filing an amicus brief in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and submitting a letter to U.S. senators urging passage of the Fair Pay Restoration Act. Through its newsletter, Raising the Bar, the WBA continued to spotlight and educate its members on critical issues affecting everyday rights, such as “Infertility and Contraception Coverage Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act” and “The New Battleground in Gender Discrimination Claims: Family Responsibilities Discrimination.” In 2007, the WBA wrote to every senator and representative in Congress asking them to vote in favor of the DC Voting Rights Act, which would have allowed DC’s delegate to vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2008, the WBA created the Task Force on Fair, Impartial, and Independent Courts, which held a series of seminars to explore how to promote and maintain fair, impartial, and independent courts and the role that diversity plays in ensuring the legitimacy of this third branch of government. Also in 2008, the WBA implemented Phase II of the Initiative on Advancement and Retention of Women and held a Diversity Summit. The purpose of the summit was to discuss issues facing women lawyers of color and to develop practical strategies for eliminating the barriers that lead to the disproportionately high attrition of women of color from law firms. From the findings of the summit, the WBA created its 2008 initiative report, Creating Pathways to Success for All, which is available at www.wbadc.org/initiative. The initiative also launched a daylong practical skills training program for third-year law students in 2009: “Hit the Ground Running: Practical Skills You Need to Succeed.” This program focused on bridging the transition from law school to legal practice. As a result, the WBA received the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (NCWBA) 2010 Outstanding Member Program Award. The third phase of the initiative, in 2010, turned its attention to advancement and retention of women in corporate law departments. The report, Navigating the Corporate Matrix, can be found at www.wbadc.org/initiative. In 2013, the WBA pursued the fourth phase of the initiative, which examined the variety of paths available to women to achieve success in the legal profession. This phase was called “Initiative 2.0: Creating a Path to Success in a Changing Economy.” Because the economic recession had a disparate impact on women lawyers, this phase tackled challenges encountered by women that have been
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
compounded by the rapid changes in the legal profession resulting from changing economic conditions. Recognizing that women’s rights are an international issue, the WBA and ABA held a program to discuss the global impact of the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) addressing and guaranteeing gender-related legal reforms. Support of CEDAW was particularly significant because the United States is one of the few nations in the world that has not ratified it. The WBA also participated in the 2012 International Women’s Day Summit. In 2017, the WBA celebrated its 100th anniversary! In honor of the celebratory annual dinner/meeting, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed May 17, 2017, the Women’s Bar Association of DC Day. The WBA continues to challenge the barriers to entry and success for women of color in the legal profession. In 2019, the WBA held “Dare to Make an Impact Conference: Advancing Women of Color.” The conference focused on impediments to success for women of color within the partnership ranks of law firms; strategies and tools for overcoming those barriers; and essential structures that must be built within firms to support the success and advancement of women of color. The focus was on how inhouse legal departments are uniquely positioned to help move the needle on the advancement of women of color by setting diversity standards for the management and staffing of their outside legal matters. Just as the WBA guided women through the battles for women’s suffrage and access to law school, and against barriers to equality found in unfriendly courts, laws that discriminated expressly because of gender, and doors to law firms and other legal jobs once locked tightly against women, today the WBA continues to fight to break down the more subtle impediments to success that stall women’s progress in the profession.
FLORIDA FAWL: THE EARLY YEARS – 1951 THROUGH THE 1980S By Wendy Loquasto, FAWL Historian
lorida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL) Historian Judge Mattie Belle Davis, trailblazing woman lawyer admitted to practice law in Florida in 1936, founding member and past president of FAWL (1957-58), past president of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), FAWL historian, matriarch, and mentor for generations of FAWL members, began A History of Florida Association for Women Lawyers 19512001 as follows:
In 1950, the year the Florida State Bar Association became integrated as The Florida Bar, and one year before the FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS was organized, 3,758 lawyers were authorized to practice law in Florida. Of these, less than 100 were women. Twenty-seven of these women assembled in Miami Beach on June 30, 1951, to discuss the need for a separate women’s bar association, to be called the FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS. ... FAWL’s founders believed that women lawyers would benefit from forming a women’s bar association that would meet at least annually “for the purpose of fellowship, having workshop discussions and talks on professional and timely subjects, helping to further the comradeship among the women lawyers of Florida, and fostering continued high standards of professional service ...” What started 69 years ago with 27 women in Miami has grown to 3,326 current female and male members in 26 local chapters stretching from Pensacola to Jacksonville and south to Tampa, Orlando, Naples, Palm Beach, and MiamiDade, and 11 law school chapters.2
Pictured from left to right at a FAWL retreat in August 1984 are: Gill Freeman, one of NCWBA’s founders; Diane Van Neff; and Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin.
During those early years of FAWL, when women were often deterred from attending any of the local bar association meetings, FAWL provided invaluable fellowship and support for women lawyers, as well as lawoffice management and practice advice. In the 1950s, FAWL started hosting legal forums on topics of interest, such as wills and estates, adoptions, landlordtenant, family law, and personal injuries. These forums provided a public platform for women lawyers to share information and to be seen and heard by citizens, with the aims of increasing their knowledge and demonstrating their competency and growing their practices. They also formed speakers’ bureaus to provide programs at civic and religious organizations for the same purpose.
continued to support over the years until its passage in 1969. In 1955, FAWL adopted the Uniform Divorce Bill as a project to support. It worked to eliminate gender bias in Florida’s constitution through the 1968 Constitution Revision Commission to substitute the words “natural person” for “men” and to make other gender-neutral revisions. FAWL members joined the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar in 1972 to study changes in dower and women’s rights, and they were vocal supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, urging the Florida Legislature and Gov. Lawton Chiles to ratify the ERA. In the early 1980s, FAWL worked to establish programs to help battered women, and it began focusing on gender bias in the legal profession and was instrumental in the creation of the Florida Supreme Court Gender Bias Study Commission in 1987. In the late 1980s, FAWL focused its attention on state court litigation involving women and children, reproductive freedom and Florida’s right of privacy, and DNA testing, which was useful in paternity cases seeking child support. In the spring of 1989, FAWL hosted its first Annual Legislative Reception in Tallahassee, and through these annual legislative receptions, FAWL has promoted a host of domestic legislation based upon recommendations of the Gender Bias Study Commission. In the 1990s, FAWL lobbied the Florida Legislature for gender equity on the Judicial Nominating Commissions. The mid-1990s saw renewed effort for ratification of the federal ERA, and then in 1997, FAWL focused on the Constitution Revision Commission and supported passage of Florida’s Basic Rights Amendment. Florida’s ERA was opposed by those who feared it would support gay rights, but was ultimately approved by Florida citizens in large part due to the stateby-state research of similarly worded ERAs gathered by FAWL’s members, particularly FAWL President Jennifer Coberly (1997-98). Fast forward to the present day, and FAWL’s efforts to better the lives of women in Florida can be seen through its lobbying and support of legislation to stop human trafficking.
Improving the Administration of Justice for Women
Advancing Women in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s
From its inception, FAWL actively supported legislation to benefit women. In 1953, FAWL partnered with the Legislative Committee of the Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs to present the “Equal Pay for Equal Work” bill to the Florida Legislature, which FAWL
FAWL actively recommended and supported qualified women for appointment to the judiciary, including the successful nomination of Past President Mattie Belle Davis as the first woman judge of the Metropolitan Court of Dade County in 1959.
NAWL Roots FAWL’s roots lie with the Women Lawyers’ Club founded by a group of 18 women lawyers in New York City in 1899, which became NAWL in 1923.3 In its infancy, FAWL encouraged its members to become NAWL members and attend its annual conventions, where they could connect with other women lawyers from around the nation. By serving on NAWL committees and as officers, FAWL members obtained important bar leadership skills and experience. FAWL’s association with NAWL has continued over its 69-year history. Accomplishing FAWL’s Mission
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
FAWL also successfully supported appointments to other leadership positions in the legal profession. In 1962, FAWL was recognized for the first time as an integral part of the Florida Bar and was permitted to give a brief report at the Board of Governors’ meeting. In 1972, FAWL was still a “small” organization by today’s standards, with only 77 paid members, but women lawyers were in many positions of power. The 1970s saw a substantial increase in the number of women lawyers in Florida, as well as around the nation. A Florida Bar News article published in 1979 reported that there were 1,627 women lawyers in Florida, which was about 7 percent of the then-total 24,000 Florida lawyers. Indeed, it was during the 1970s that women first became 10 percent of incoming law school classes. By the end of 1979, President Jimmy Carter had appointed 28 of the 32 women serving as federal judges, and of his 2,110 appointments, 22 percent were women. He appointed other women judges in 1980, bringing his total to 42, more than any previous president. Hispanic women lawyers advanced in the late 1970s. Cuban-American Maria Korvick, the first Hispanic woman judge, was elevated from the Dade County Court bench, where she had served since 1979, to the 11th Judicial Circuit Court by Gov. Bob Graham in 1981. Graham had appointed Margarita Esquiroz, who was also CubanAmerican, as Judge of Industrial Claims Court in 1979, and then appointed her to the 11th Judicial Circuit in 1984.4 The first African-American women lawyers were not admitted to practice law until the 1950s and 1960s: Bernice Gaines Dorn (1958), Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry (1965), Ruby Burrows McZier (1965), C. Bette Wimbish (1968), and Arthenia L. Joyner (1969).5 It would not be until 1981, however, that Florida would see its first AfricanAmerican woman judge: Leah Simms, who was appointed Dade County judge by Graham.6
were [also] amended to provide a procedure for FAWL to endorse and support qualified women. In 1980, the FAWL bylaws permitted political endorsements and candidates could qualify for contributions from FAWL’s political action committee (PAC). FAWL supported America’s first major party woman vice presidential candidate when it endorsed the Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro presidential ticket in 1984. The FAWL PAC was particularly active in regard to the ERA – Patricia Ireland then chaired FAWL’s ERA Committee. Ireland went on to become the first FAWL News editor and members received the first edition in October 1980. Spurred on by their ERA efforts and gender equity, FAWL amended its bylaws in 1981 and its name was changed from Florida Association of Women Lawyers to the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, thereby permitting men to become FAWL members. Breaking Glass Ceilings in the 1980s and 1990s As the decade of the 1980s opened, women numbered approximately 2,000 of the 27,000 Florida lawyers, but it was noted that women lawyers were a rarity in the bar’s power structure. FAWL members were encouraged to take part in the Florida Bar. The Florida Bar’s first female president, Patricia Seitz, was then the FAWL member on the Executive Committee of the Young Lawyers Section of the Board of Governors, and she spoke of involvement in bar activities. In 1982, there was only one woman on the Florida Bar Board of Governors – Kay Finley of Monroe County – but FAWL Past President Phyllis Shampanier (1965-66) was subsequently elected to the Board in March 1982. The glass ceiling for the Florida Supreme Court was finally broken when Graham appointed Rosemary Barkett, who was then on the 4th District Court of Appeal, after having served on the 15th Judicial Circuit Court since 1979, as Florida’s first woman Supreme Court justice. Her Nov. 15, 1985 investiture was a proud day for FAWL,
Bylaws Changes for Local Chapters & Endorsements In 1980, FAWL’s bylaws were amended to add local chapters and members were encouraged to form FAWL chapters in their home counties. As President Irene Redstone then explained, the time was ripe for the birth of local chapters: Because of the small number of women lawyers attending the Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with The Florida Bar annual convention [in June 1978], it appeared that women could not afford either the time or money, or both, to make the trip to meetings. It was common knowledge that the majority of women lawyers were being paid about 50% of men lawyers, although doing the same amount and quality of work. It seemed only common sense to have smaller meetings close to home, where only one day was required and very little expense, but would offer an opportunity for networking among women lawyers. There was a need for helping qualified women to be elected or appointed as judges and in policy-making posts, so the Bylaws
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Rosemary Barkett being sworn in as Florida’s first woman Supreme Court justice on Nov. 15, 1985.
as reported by then-President Gill Freeman in the FAWL News. Palm Beach FAWL President Lois Frankel, a longtime friend of Barkett, spoke at the investiture, remarking that everyone in the chambers was smiling, “but if you look closely at the women’s faces, you’ll see their smiles are just a little larger.” Barkett remained on the Florida Supreme Court until 1994, with the help of FAWL members during a contested retention election in 1992, and she became Florida’s first woman chief justice in 1992. FAWL was not to see a second woman on the Court until Justice Barbara Pariente was appointed in 1997, followed the next year by Justice Peggy Quince, Florida’s first African-American woman justice. It was not until the 1990s, however, that other glass ceilings were finally broken. It was 1993 when Miami prosecutor Janet Reno was nominated by President Bill Clinton to become the first female U.S. attorney general. It is interesting to note that when she enrolled in Harvard Law School in 1960, Reno was one of only 16 women in a class of more than 500 students. In the spring of 1993, Seitz was elected Florida’s first female bar president. Since the Florida Bar’s formation in 1950, 44 men had been presidents, so it was with a great deal of pride that FAWL welcomed Seitz as bar president. Seitz was no stranger to breaking glass ceilings, as she was the first woman lawyer at Steel Hector. Clinton subsequently appointed Seitz to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, where she remains today as a senior judge. FAWL & NCWBA FAWL’s leaders have always cultivated and valued its relationship with bar and professional associations from around the country, first with NAWL and then with the American Bar Association (ABA), but then later with the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (NCWBA). NCWBA was formed in 1981 and the ABA granted it a seat in its House of Delegates. FAWL was involved at the inception of the NCWBA, which it saw as a great resource for sharing ideas and assisting women in attaining leadership roles. FAWL member Gill Freeman, who would become FAWL president in 1984-85 and would chair the Florida Supreme Court Gender Bias Study Implementation Commission in 1991-94 and later the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Fairness in 1999, served as vice president of the NCWBA in 1983-84, and she remained on the board of directors in various roles from 1985-87. FAWL President Debra Weiss Goodman (1982-83) was also on the original NCWBA board in 1983-84 and remained on the board through 1985.7 Numerous FAWL members, including past presidents Redstone, Hawkins, and Davis, as well as FAWL members Denise Morris and Jenneth Pemberton, attended the joint NCWBA and NAWL meeting in New York in 1986, and Dade FAWL received an award recognizing its scholarship auction, which raised more than $34,000. FAWL President Edith Osman (1989-90) was on the NCWBA board in 1990-91; FAWL President Leslie Reicin Stein (1991-92) of Tampa was on the board in 1992-94; and
Dawn Siler-Nixon, also of Tampa, served on the board from 1998-2006, and as NCWBA president in 2002-03. Barbara Twine-Thomas, also of Tampa, joined Siler-Nixon on the NCWBA board in 2005-06, followed by Amy Furness of Miami in 2006-08, and Helene Daniel of Tampa in 2010-12. Most recently, FAWL President Robin Bresky (2014-15) of Boca Raton joined the NCWBA board in 2013-14, rising through the ranks to become president in 2017-18, and she remains on the board as immediate past president of NCWBA.8 Conclusion FAWL has worked tirelessly to accomplish its mission, which is to “actively promote gender equality and the leadership roles of FAWL’s members in the legal profession, judiciary and community at large.” Although much progress has been made over its 69 years of existence, there remains work to be done, because women lawyers continue to face barriers in the legal profession. Like our “sisters in law” before us, today’s FAWL is committed to continuing the struggle for gender equality in the law. For instance, FAWL is aggressively working to grow its membership, because, as recognized long ago, power comes with numbers. On the legislative front, FAWL continues to work to end human trafficking. We are encouraging women to run for elected and appointed offices, particularly in the judiciary and legislative branch, and we look forward to returning the Florida Supreme Court, which now has only one female justice – Barbara Lagoa – and no African-American members, to its former level of diversity or better. As we open lactation rooms in Florida courthouses, we will continue to strive for gender equity in the practice of law. Women should not be denied continuances in their cases in childbirth situations, which disadvantages them with their firm standing and in the eyes of their clients. We celebrate two women lawyers elected in 2018 to the Florida Cabinet – Attorney General Ashley Moody and Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried – but let us hope that a woman lawyer – perhaps a FAWL member – will soon break the glass ceiling in the Florida Governor’s Office and in the highest office of this great nation. Based upon A History of Florida Association for Women Lawyers 1951-2001, written by Judge Mattie Belle Davis, with the assistance of Rebecca Bowles Hawkins, Henrietta Biscoe, and Wendy Loquasto. Endnotes 1. The source for all statements, unless otherwise specifically noted, is FAWL’s history book. Mattie Belle Davis, Rebecca Bowles Hawkins, Henrietta S. Biscoe & Wendy S. Loquasto, A History of Florida Association for Women Lawyers 1951-2001 (2001). FAWL’s history is available on its website, under the Historian tab, at https://drive.google.com/file/d/10y67r.JgJJgX26j0Og3Ei9ky3PnHEoUc/view. 2. The local chapters are: Brevard, Broward, Central Florida (Orlando), Citrus Hernando, Clara Gehan (Gainesville), Collier, Hillsborough, Jacksonville, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Northwest Florida (Pensacola), Okaloosa, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sarasota, Seminole, South Palm Beach, Tallahassee, and Volusia/Flagler. The law school/student chapters are: Barry, FAMU, FIU, Florida Coastal, FSU, Nova, St. Thomas, Stetson, UF, UM, and WMU Cooley. 3. NAWL History, National Association of Women Lawyers, https://www.nawl.org/p/cm/ld/fid=20 (last viewed Mar. 24, 2019). 4. Judge Maria Korvick, “Florida’s Hispanic Heritage Judicial Reception & Celebration,” MSP Forum, www.mspforum.net/event/floridas-hispanic-heritage-judicial-reception-celebration (last viewed Mar. 24, 2019); David Ovalle, “Margarita Esquiroz, Dade’s first female Cuban-American judge, succumbs to cancer,” The Miami Herald (Apr. 17, 2012), www.mdc.edu/clippings/2012/ April/18.pdf (last viewed Mar. 24, 2019). 5. Janeen L. Rivers & Barbara Twine Thomas, Celebrating Florida’s First 150 Women Lawyers 106-10 (LEXIS Pub. 2001), https://www.fawl.org/historian (last viewed Apr. 8, 2019). 6. Leah Aleice Simms, Commissioner of Education’s African American History Task Force, afroamfl.org/fl-black-history-facts/ (last viewed Mar, 24, 2019); Judge June C. McKinney, “Florida’s first black lawyers,” The Florida Bar News (Feb. 1, 2009), https://www.floridabar.org/ the-florida-bar-news/floridas-first-black-lawyers (last viewed Mar. 24, 2019). 7. About Us, National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, https://ncwba.org/about-ncwba/ history-of-the-ncwba/ (last viewed Mar. 24, 2019). 8. Id.
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
IOWA POLK COUNTY WOMEN ATTORNEYS: EMPOWERING WOMEN IN LAW AND LIFE
olk County Women Attorneys (PCWA) was founded in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1977 to foster and support women in the legal profession. Since its inception, the organization has grown as the number of women lawyers has expanded in the Des Moines metro community. We currently have more than 300 active members representing the federal and state bench and bar in Polk County as well as law students from Drake University Law School. PCWA focuses on professional development, work-life balance, mentoring, and community service, especially service projects that will benefit women and children. Every woman attorney in Iowa owes her thanks to Arabella Babb Mansfield (1846-1911). “Belle” as she was fondly called, was the first woman in the United States admitted to practice law. This year marks the 150th anniversary of her admittance to the Iowa Bar. Iowa women marked this anniversary with a celebration in June in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, “in the room where it happened.” PCWA, with the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys, was the 2015 recipient of the Public Service Award from the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (NCWBA) for a project it designed in conjunction with the Iowa Women’s Correctional Facility. PCWA was instrumental in raising funds and purchasing furniture, toys, and books for the visiting room where women inmates interact with their children. PCWA continues involvement with the women incarcerated at the facility through a monthly book club. PCWA’s flagship event is its annual Seasons of Change Basket Auction, a live and silent auction that is held every fall to benefit the Young Women’s Resource Center (YWRC), a local nonprofit organization that provides pregnancy, health, and self-esteem programming and support to young women ages 10 to 21 in central Iowa. The YWRC describes itself as “a place for girls and young women to come to be together, to come to be alone, to come to be themselves. It is a safe place that reinforces the beauty, resiliency and strength that these girls and young women already possess.” Members, supporters, law firms, and local businesses donate baskets that are auctioned off at this annual gala. PCWA is proud to provide ongoing support to YWRC and the outstanding work they do with girls and young women in central Iowa. The Seasons of Change Basket Auction raised more than $25,000 for YWRC in 2018. Every year, PCWA hosts an annual half-day continuing legal education seminar free to members, a professional development panel and networking event, and regular lunch-and-learns, in addition to other seminars and
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events. One of our most popular seminars is “So You Want to Become a Judge Boot Camp.” This boot camp provides practical advice from those who have been through the judicial selection process, including sitting judges, on best practices and pathways for aspiring judges to build their confidence and competence in the selection process. Other presentations have included “Gender Bias, Discrimination, and Harassment in the Iowa Legal Profession,” “Getting Involved on Boards and Community Organizations,” “Negotiating for Your Value,” “Stopping Human Trafficking,” “Trauma Informed Practice: Developing a Case with a Victim of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault,” “Achieving Work-Life Balance in the Legal Profession,” and an annual legislative update for members. For the last several years, PCWA has co-hosted an UnHappy Hour with the Iowa Women of Architecture to commemorate Equal Pay Day, the day in April on which women have earned as much as their male counterparts did the previous year. This event provides members with an opportunity to connect (and commiserate) over the ongoing challenges facing women in the workforce and to discuss strategies to promote pay equity and career advancement for women both individually and collectively. PCWA also awards the prestigious Willie Stevenson Glanton Award at a luncheon held every March. Glanton was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. By age 11, she knew she wanted to be a lawyer and “free up people.” She was the second African-American woman admitted to practice law in the state of Iowa. (Gertrude Rush was the first African-American woman admitted to practice law in Iowa in 1918. Rush was one of the founders of the National Bar Association.) Glanton became the first African-American woman to be appointed a city clerk (1953), assistant county attorney (1955), to serve in the state legislature (1964), and to serve on the City Council (1980). She
Attendees of the April 2019 UnHappy Hour, co-hosted by PCWA and the Iowa Women of Architecture, listen to remarks by Jennifer Zwagerman, Drake Law School's director of career development.
“wanted to make an impact for black and women’s rights, which are historically intertwined,” and “felt that our black children needed more black images in politics to stir their interests.” She practiced law with her husband in the 1960s when women attorneys were still rare. She then worked in the Des Moines office of the Small Business Administration for 22 years. She was an advocate and an activist, stating that when she was young, “[w]e learned that no matter how much education we had, we must help others, reach back and help our community. If we don’t do that, we have accomplished nothing. The goal is always to improve our community, wherever we happen to be.” Glanton was a 2010 recipient of the Margaret Brent Award presented by the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession. Each year, PCWA recognizes a lawyer who exemplifies Glanton’s spirit to help others, reach back, and help his or her community. Past Willie Stevenson Glanton Award winners include: Judge Romonda D. Belcher, Roxanne Conlin, Judge Ruth Klotz, Judge Celeste Bremer, Lori Chesser, Rep. Helen Miller, Judge Donna Paulsen, Anjela Shutts, and Judge Eliza Ovrom. With such role models as Belle Babb Mansfield, Gertrude Rush, and Willie Stevenson Glanton, PCWA is ever mindful of the challenges its members face trying to balance work, family, and life. The organization takes a hard look at these issues and tries to help members balance professional success with overall wellness. As the legal profession and the needs and expectations of our members change, PCWA works to ensure that we are always fulfilling our mission of empowering women in law and life. PCWA is a nonprofit organization led by a board made up of dedicated volunteers representing different areas of practice within the legal profession. The officers of the 2019 PCWA Board are President Miriam Van Heukelem; President-Elect Jesse Johnston; Secretary Margaret Hibbs; and Treasurer Katherine Beenken. Additional information about PCWA can be found at: https://pcwa.wildapricot.org/.
KANSAS THE HISTORY OF WOMEN IN THE BAR OF WICHITA Reprinted courtesy of the Wichita Bar Association Submitted by the Wichita Women Attorneys Association The participation of women in the Wichita Bar Association (WBA) has changed radically over its 100year existence. The Wichita Bar Association did not have any women members until 1938. It elected its first female member of the executive committee in 1950. In 1953,
only five of WBA’s 363 members were women. By 1973, only eight of 632 members were women. That’s less than 1.5 percent for 40 years. But by 1980, things started to change when, of the nearly 900 lawyers in the WBA, 42 were women – almost 5 percent. Some of those women lawyers got together and formed the Wichita Women Attorneys Association (WWAA), which has been an active and growing organization ever since. WWAA has also played a key role in developing WBA leaders. In 1990, the WBA elected its first female president. There have been nine more women elected as president since then. In 2015, for the third year in a row, all four members of the executive committee, elected by the members of the WBA, were women. In the 2019-2020 board year, WBA’s president is once again a woman, as are two members of its board of governors. Currently, of the WBA’s 1,326 members, 315 are women – 23 percent – a significant change that has happened mostly within the last decade. Notable WBA Women Bernice Burket Lygrisse (1897-1980) – Burket Lygrisse was the first woman to join the WBA in the 1930s. Burket, who would go on to take cases to the Kansas Supreme Court, would also become the WBA’s first elected female officer in 1943. She was known as the “darling at the bar,” and, according to Barney Barnett, who wrote a column for the magazine of the Kansas Bar, “when something had to be done in the way of work, the [Wichita] bar, under the guise of bestowing her an honor, always wished the job on Bernice.” Louise Mattox (1902-1995) – Mattox was the first woman to practice law in Wichita. She passed the Kansas Bar in 1932 without having attended law school – one of the last individuals permitted to do so. In 1971, she was the first woman in Wichita to be certified to lead a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Louise Mattox Lawyer of Achievement award was developed in her honor by WWAA in 1991 to recognize an individual of professional excellence who has influenced women to pursue legal careers or advanced opportunities for women within the practice of law. Judge Kay Arvin (1922-2014) – Blinded shortly after marriage in 1945, Arvin got her law degree and began practicing law while raising two sons. She was the first female lawyer to argue a case before the state Supreme Court and win. In 1978, Arvin was appointed the first female District Court judge in the 18th Judicial District, to fill a vacancy created by the death of Judge Howard Kline, making her one of the first women judges in the state of Kansas. She specialized in the areas of adoption, divorce, and mediation, and was a strong advocate for battered women. She continued to practice law until she was nearly 80 years old. Judge Mary Kay Royse (1950-1999) – Judge M. Kay Royse was appointed District Court judge in March 1986. That November, she was elected to the position for the first of three terms, making her the first elected female National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
District Court judge in the 18th Judicial District. In 1993, Gov. Joan Finney appointed her to the Kansas Court of Appeals. She died from cancer at age 49. Judge Karen Humphreys – In September 1987, Humphreys became the second elected woman judge in the 18th Judicial District. She was appointed U.S. magistrate judge for the District of Kansas on Nov. 1, 1993. The U.S. District Court judges designated her as chief U.S. magistrate judge in 2003. Humphreys retired in July 2015. Gloria Farha Flentje – Flentje was voted the first female president of the Wichita Bar Association in 1991. Since that time, eight other women have served as president of the WBA. Nola Foulston – Foulston was elected as the first female district attorney of Sedgwick County, Kansas, in November 1988. She served six consecutive terms – 24 years – until her retirement from the position in January 2013; that makes her the longest-serving district attorney in Sedgwick County history. Foulston’s prominent profile cases include: the 1990 murder of Nancy Shoemaker; the Reginald and Jonathan Carr brothers’ murder spree of 2000; the BTK serial killer Dennis Rader in 2005; prosecution of Scott Roeder for the killing of Dr. George Tiller in 2009; and serving as co-counsel in 2006 before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Michael Marsh v. State of Kansas case that upheld the constitutionality of Kansas’s death penalty law. Judge Jennifer Lynn Jones – Elected as a Sedgwick County District Court judge in 1992, Jones holds the distinction of being the first African-American woman to serve as a judge in Kansas. In January 2001, Jones was appointed to the City of Wichita Municipal Court.
KENTUCKY THE WOMEN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF JEFFERSON COUNTY
he Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County is an organization proud to represent and promote the interests of women in the legal community in Louisville, Kentucky. It was founded in 1961 by 15 female attorneys. Among these 15 women was Edith Stanley, who acted as a driving force in establishing this organization. Stanley served as first assistant county attorney, and then was appointed county attorney in 1969. In March 1969, she was nominated as a candidate for a Circuit Court judgeship, making her the first woman in Jefferson County to be nominated for this position by a major party. Stanley and the 14 other women founded the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County for the purpose of promoting the general welfare and interests of women lawyers, to aid women lawyers in achieving
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Judge Denise Clayton, the first African-American woman to serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
status among the general bar, to further public relations, and to apply knowledge and experience in the field of law to promote the public good. The organization was originally open to female members only, as a way to promote women lawyers and foster relationships to further the work of women lawyers in Jefferson County. In 1985, leadership of the organization chose to open membership to women and men interested in joining and furthering the goals of the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County. Currently, there are approximately 110 active members consisting of female and male attorneys, members of the judiciary, and law students. Over the years, the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County has had a number of trailblazing members. Judge Denise Clayton was the first AfricanAmerican woman to serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Clayton began her legal career as an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service. She then maintained a private practice until she was elected to serve as a Circuit Court judge in Jefferson County. Clayton was also the first African-American woman to serve as Circuit Court judge. She served as chief circuit judge, and remained on the bench for nearly seven years prior to her appointment and election to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in October 2007. Clayton is still an active member of the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County. Each month, the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County hosts a meeting, allowing its members a time to gather, connect, and network with each other and other members of the community. It has become an important focus point of each meeting to host or highlight a different speaker who represents a cause that mirrors the principles of the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County. These speakers have ranged from esteemed members of the judiciary, both state and federal, members
The Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County has had a long and meaningful history in helping to promote women in the legal community and assisting them in achieving their professional and personal goals. of the Police Commissioner’s Office, and state and federal congressmen and women to leaders of various nonprofit organizations aimed at creating positive change for the citizens of Jefferson County. An Annual Meeting is held each year to commemorate all of the efforts and achievements of the members of the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County in the past year. One member is recognized as the Member of the Year, and a guest speaker presents on a topic relevant to the times. In 1999, Judge Ellen B. Ewing was asked to attend as the guest speaker due to her meaningful impact on the Louisville legal community. Ewing began her legal career in 1972 as a staff attorney with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. She served three years as a trial commissioner in Juvenile Court, six years as a District Court judge, and 14 years as a Circuit Court judge. Outside of her professional duties, Ewing served on many boards and was involved in a number of community organizations within Jefferson County. She served on the Judicial Advisory Committee of the Governor’s Office of Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence Services, as well as the board of directors of Women 4 Women. Ewing passed away in 2004, and the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County has continued to remember her legacy by helping to fund the Ellen B. Ewing Foundation at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. This foundation was established in 2005 and provides summer fellowships for law students to work in the areas of family law, domestic violence and spouse abuse, and HIV/AIDS at the Legal Aid Society. These were areas of law important to Ewing, and the Women Lawyers Association is proud to be able to facilitate continued efforts to improve the lives of these individuals, as was the mission of Ewing for so many years. In 2007, the Annual Meeting hosted a panel to salute women in leadership. The panel was made up of Justice Mary C. Noble, a presiding member of the Supreme Court of Kentucky; Crit Luallen, Kentucky’s Auditor of Public Accounts; Patricia Cooksey, a jockey and awarded member of the horse racing industry; Julie Hermann, senior associate athletic director at the University of Louisville; and Dawne Gee, a highly regarded local news anchor. The panel
of women each shared a bit about their personal history, telling stories of how they came to be leaders in their field, the obstacles they overcame, and how others influenced and helped them along the way. They further discussed trends through professions with regard to the advancement of women, and shared their ideas of what women could do to achieve more individually, inspire, mentor, and lift up women in the community. The Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County has long made it a priority to do just that: inspire, mentor, and lift up women. Most recently, the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County hosted Professor Diane Rosenfeld, lecturer on law and director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard University, as its guest speaker at the 2018 Annual Meeting. Rosenfeld spoke on the current issues surrounding the #MeToo Movement, and how we as attorneys can provide legal assistance to those affected. She also addressed the topic from a policy standpoint through the lens of Title IX, and discussed ways to effectuate longlasting change by developing beneficial policies for all genders in an effort to avoid future harm. The Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County has had a long and meaningful history in helping to promote women in the legal community and assisting them in achieving their professional and personal goals. The future is bright for the organization, and those who have come before us helped to shape the strong organization we are proud to have become.
MAINE CAROLINE DUBY GLASSMAN (1922-2013)
aroline Duby Glassman served as Maine’s first female state supreme court justice. She was born on Sept. 13, 1922, on a cattle ranch near Baker (now Baker City), Oregon, a town in eastern Oregon with a population of less than 8,000, but which served as an important regional center. She graduated from Eastern Oregon College of Education and Willamette University College of Law, where she was one of two women in the class of 1944. She graduated summa cum laude. The experience of seeing the families of some of her Japanese-American classmates being forced to sell their property at short notice during the wartime internment had a profound influence on the young law student. “I wanted to use my skills to help others and to influence the changing of laws inconsistent with justice and enact laws in furtherance of justice.”1 Opportunities for women lawyers in Salem, Oregon, were limited, but she found a position at the Title Insurance & Trust Company, where she worked from 1944 to 1946. After she moved to San Francisco, she was an National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
associate from 1952 to 1958 in the firm of the flamboyant lawyer Melvin Belli. During this time, she met and married attorney Harry Paul Glassman. Their son, Max, was born in 1959. In the early 1960s, they moved to Maine as Harry, who had taught part time at the University of Virginia Law School while studying for his graduate law degree, had been recruited to serve as a faculty member at the newly formed University of Maine School of Law.2 Caroline also found work there as a lecturer. She sat for her third bar exam in 1969 and was in private practice in Portland throughout the 1970s and the early 1980s. Harry was appointed to the Maine Superior Court in January 1972 and to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 1979. Harry died at age 53 in 1981. Caroline continued her active work in the legal community. She was president of the Cumberland Bar Association and served on the Maine State Board of Bar Governors from 1982 to 1983. On Aug. 30, 1983, Caroline Glassman became the 93rd justice and the first woman justice of the State of Maine Supreme Judicial Court. At the time, there were just three female trial court judges. She served two seven-year terms on the bench, retiring in 1997. In retirement, she was an active volunteer, working with the Russian American Rule of Law Consortium and the Iris Network, which serves the visually impaired. She visited a gym three times a week until a few months before her death.3 She died on July 10, 2013, at age 90 due to complications from a fall. The Women’s Law Section of the Maine State Bar Association presents the Caroline Duby Glassman Award on a biennial basis to a member of the Maine Bar who has demonstrated excellence in one or more of the following areas: • has worked to remove barriers and to advance the position of women in the profession or in the community; • has worked to educate the bench, the bar, or the public on the status of women in the profession; and/or • has acted as a role model for younger or less experienced women lawyers.
1870s, but they lacked a professional organization of their own for nearly 50 years. This essay discusses the inception of that organization – the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) – and attempts to provide a glimpse into its 100-year history. On March 24, 1919, five self-described “ardent Portias of Detroit” met at a downtown office.1 Within two hours, these Portias had organized WLAM and elected its first officers.2 They then turned their attention to growing their tiny organization by recruiting licensed attorneys of “good moral character” for membership from Michigan’s marginally larger population of female attorneys. WLAM’s founders considered it a personal obligation to lend assistance to new female lawyers endeavoring to establish a practice. They also welcomed female attorneys licensed in other states as honorary members and attempted to become acquainted with every woman lawyer in Michigan. 1920s: The Beginning The legal profession was an unfair battleground for female attorneys in the 1920s. WLAM’s first fight against discrimination in the profession came in 1922, when the Detroit College of Law’s trustees proposed to stop admitting female students because the school purportedly lacked facilities for taking care of women students. In response, WLAM adopted and widely circulated a formal resolution condemning this proposal.3 And Theresa Doland, WLAM’s first president, garnered much publicity when she threatened that WLAM would open its own law school if women were unable to attend law courses locally.4 WLAM did not limit its involvement with contemporary societal issues to just those affecting women lawyers. In 1921, for example, WLAM publicly voiced opposition to capital punishment. To be sure, activism would become an essential part of WLAM’s ethos throughout most of its history. 1930s: WLAM Through the Depression
Endnotes 1. Willamette Lawyer, Spring 2007, Vol. VII, No. 1, Women of Willamette: Early Legal Pioneers to Today’s Trailblazers 2. Maine Law Review, Volume 42, Number 2 January 1995 The University of Maine School of Law: An Archival History of its Founding and Accreditation. 3. Portland Press Herald, July 11, 2013, Caroline Glassman, Maine Women’s Legal Pioneer, dies at 90.
MICHIGAN HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FIRST HUNDRED: WOMEN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN – 1919 TO 2019
Much of WLAM’s focus in the 1930s was on helping its members get through the Great Depression. This sometimes meant providing financial assistance to older members.5 In addition, the organization created opportunities for fellowship with and support of women law students. This collaboration would become a defining feature of the organization through the present day. Also during the 1930s, WLAM advocated for the appointment of women to the bench. WLAM attempted to persuade Michigan’s governor to appoint several suggested women to openings at the Wayne County Circuit Court.6 Later in the decade, WLAM unsuccessfully petitioned President Franklin D. Roosevelt to appoint Judge Florence Allen of Ohio to the U.S. Supreme Court.7
By Nicole M. Smithson and Kristina Bilowus
omen in Michigan have been graduating from law school and becoming licensed attorneys since the
1940s: WLAM and the War Years The “Arsenal of Democracy” was not just forged by Michigan’s Rosie the Riveters; its female attorneys also National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
contributed to Michigan’s war efforts. WLAM members raised $144,000 for the war effort selling bonds ($2,090,137.80 in 2018 dollars8). In addition, WLAM held several programs exploring the role of women during and after the war. Following the war, WLAM successfully urged the Michigan Supreme Court to overturn the doctrine of imputed negligence that barred an auto passenger from recovering from the other driver if its driver was negligent, and drafted a plan for improving Michigan’s treatment of “delinquent girls.” 1950s and 1960s: Growing Pains After a very dynamic decade, WLAM seems to have entered a bit of a slump during the 1950s and 1960s. Aside from joining the efforts of several local bar associations to assemble a panel of pro bono attorneys who would accept federal indigent defense cases in 1961, WLAM’s activity during this time primarily involved meetings and social events. WLAM’s decline did not go unnoticed. In the late 1950s, WLAM President Dorothy Comstock Riley argued that WLAM should dissolve during her farewell address: “We really did not do anything except have banquets once a year and roast male judges and lawyers around town.”9 The suggestion that WLAM should dissolve resurfaced again during the installation of the 1963-64 officers. 1970s: Renewal and Resurgence Thankfully, WLAM rebounded in the 1970s. Its prestige had significantly increased as numerous judicial candidates – both male and female – actively sought its endorsement. WLAM also resumed being involved in issues of societal importance. For example, it teamed with Planned Parenthood to lobby for Medicaid funding for therapeutic abortions, and it advocated for legislation to require employers to include pregnancy in sick-pay plans. During the 1970s, WLAM also divided its membership into chapters based on geographic location. Regionalizing allowed members to engage in networking and educational events locally. It also created more leadership opportunities within the organization. 1980s: Equality and Advocacy At first glance, the 1980s seemed to be all about advocacy for WLAM. It joined several legal organizations in appealing a trial court’s ruling that Michigan’s civil rights act was unconstitutional. It backed a legislative resolution supporting the Equal Rights Amendment. It railed against a proposed change to Michigan’s child support formula that would potentially decrease payments. It joined a coalition fighting to integrate the Detroit Athletic Club, a private club in Detroit. It worked on tackling discrimination in the legal profession by releasing a survey showing that women lawyers were not promoted as quickly as their male counterparts. It advocated for changes to how one police department handled domestic violence complaints. It filed a persuasive amicus brief with the Michigan Court of Appeals that prompted the court to overturn a trial
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court’s issuance of an injunction preventing a woman from providing child care services in her home due to a restrictive covenant in her deed.10 And it persuaded the Michigan Supreme Court to use gender-neutral language in the oath of admission for new attorneys.11 But the 1980s also brought some exciting organizational changes to WLAM. The WLAM Foundation was created to provide scholarships to women who demonstrate leadership in advancing the position of women in society. In addition, WLAM created a committee on gender bias that encouraged the Michigan Supreme Court to create a task force to study gender and racial bias in Michigan courts. 1990s: Development at the Close of the Century WLAM’s regional chapters increased the organization’s relevance and visibility throughout the 1990s as they expanded WLAM’s ability to provide programming and other opportunities to members around the state. During the 1990s, WLAM appeared as amici on briefs concerning domestic violence and the constitutionality of anti-stalking laws. WLAM teamed up with other civil rights organizations to intervene in an appeal of a court’s determination that a mother’s need to use a private child care provider justified awarding custody to the child’s father, who would have a relative assist him with child care. WLAM surveyed mediation practices to obtain data on gender bias. And WLAM supported the Campaign for Human Dignity to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. 2000s and Beyond: Leading in the Modern Era WLAM’s tradition of activism continues in the 21st century. It is a member of the Michigan Equal Pay Coalition – a collective that organizes events for Equal Pay Day and lobbies for legislation designed to eliminate the wage gap. It petitioned Michigan’s former governor to appoint more women to the judiciary. It partnered with the ACLU in protesting legislation limiting inmates’ rights under Michigan’s civil rights act and in calling for an end to the practice of allowing immigration enforcement in and around courthouses. It encouraged the adoption of legislation requiring public schools to provide instruction on the need to obtain consent for sexual activity. It continued fighting to end discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation by participating in briefs supporting health care benefits for the samesex partners of public employees and marriage equality. And, along with the Michigan State Court Administrative Office and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, WLAM developed a model policy for creating courthouse space for lactating mothers and persons with a disability. WLAM celebrated its 100th annual meeting by holding a gala on April 27, 2018. The Centennial Gala featured a keynote address by author Irin Carmon, an extended preview of a documentary on WLAM, and an exhibit hall, and earned WLAM an honorable mention for NCWBA's Outstanding Member Program Award in 2019.
Conclusion WLAM currently has seven active regions and hundreds of members. The WLAM Foundation has awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships to outstanding female law students. WLAM continues to provide its members with comradery and a plethora of opportunities for personal growth and professional development each year. When forming WLAM, the five ardent Portias of Detroit were attempting to create an organization that would give women lawyers the opportunity to bond with others “who spoke their language and could get their viewpoint.”12 Fortunately, however, WLAM has evolved into much more. Endnotes 1. Doland, Detroit Women Lawyers, Vol. I Bench and Bar No. 2 (February 1921), p. 8. 2. Id.; Detroit Free Press (March 29, 1919), p. 5. 3. Women Lawyers Hit College Ban on Sex, Detroit Free Press (July 14, 1922), p. 8. 4. Women May Conduct Own Legal College, The Windsor Star (June 27, 1922), p. 6. 5. Rosenthal, Women Lawyers’ Association of Michigan, 16 Mich. St. B.J. 206 (1937), pp. 206-07. 6. Frost & Weiner, Women Lawyers Association of Michigan - Who, How, Why, 63 Mich. St. B.J. 465 (1984), p. 467. 7. Maury, I Wish to Report, Detroit Free Press (March 10, 1938), p. 14. 8. www.in2013dollars.com/1943-dollars-in-2018?amount=144000 (accessed March 23, 2019). 9. Dolezal, Dorothy Comstock Riley: The Precision Jurist, Detroit Free Press (December 13, 1984), p. 6B. 10. Beverly Island Ass’n v. Zinger, 113 Mich. App. 322, 317 N.W.2d 611 (1982). 11. Van Hoek, WLAM’s 75th Anniversary Celebration: Honored Past, Inspired Future, 73 Mich B.J. 760 (1994), p. 762. 12. Rosenthal, 16 Mich. St. B.J. 206, p. 206.
MILITARY SPOUSE JD NETWORK HISTORY OF THE MILITARY SPOUSE JD NETWORK
n the early 2000s, Mary Reding had a thriving legal career. After graduating from the University of San Diego School of Law, she accepted a job as in-house counsel for Pebble Beach Company. Then she met John Smith, a fighter pilot in the Air Force, and soon found herself living overseas with her servicemember husband. While living abroad, Reding was able to maintain her career by working as a management consultant for an international Fortune 100 company. Then the Smith family relocated to Dayton, Ohio, later followed by moves to Arizona and Washington, D.C. Upon returning to the United States, Reding was confronted with the fact that maintaining her legal career could mean taking bar exam after bar exam if she and her children wanted to remain united with her husband as he continued to relocate for his military obligations. In addition to the daunting task of taking repeated bar exams, there was the issue of timing – Reding recalls that she narrowly missed the deadline for the Ohio bar exam and would have had to wait until the next summer to take it. Frustrated, Reding found herself venting to her husband, who (fortunately for military spouse attorneys around the world!) told her to “do something about it.” And so she did. In 2009, Reding wrote a brief that was supported by the Ohio Women’s Bar Association suggesting a change to the rules governing admission to benefit military
spouse attorneys. She found help and support in the Ohio legal community, but when asked how many people the proposed rule change would affect, she had to answer: “Just me. It affects me.” Reding had never met another military spouse attorney, although she reasoned that there must be others out there in the same position. Then in 2011, Reding received a phone call from Erin Wirth, an administrative law judge in D.C. married to a Coast Guard officer and looking for other people like her. Wirth had discovered the 2009 report and recommendation from the Ohio Women’s Bar Association and reached out to Reding. Thus, in the summer of 2011, the Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) was born as the first specialty bar association designed to connect and support military spouse legal professionals and their allies, wherever they find themselves. Since 2011, MSJDN has grown from its two co-founders to identify more than 1,000 military spouse attorneys around the world. What started as an informal group advocating for support is now an official bar association with approximately 700 dues-paying members and thousands of supporters around the globe. (While the membership is not all women, MSJDN’s 2018 annual survey of military spouse attorneys shows that more than 93 percent of respondents identify as female.) Regrettably, Reding and Wirth’s experiences are far from unique, and MSJDN quickly joined a growing movement to address employment issues facing professional military spouses and their families. To put things in perspective, the president’s Council of Economic Advisors reported in May 20181 that military spouses are far less likely to work than their civilian peers. 92 percent of working age military spouses are female and only 57 percent of spouses participate in the labor market, compared with 76 percent of civilians. What’s more, accounting for differences in age, sex, race, ethnicity, and the higher rates of education among military spouses only widens the labor force participation gap. Compounding these data is the observation that military spouses can be expected to earn 26.8 percent less than civilian counterparts, largely due to employment gaps and fewer hours worked; but even year-round full-time
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The Military Spouse JD Network will continue to forge partnerships to improve career prospects for a growing number of professional military spouses. State, local, and specialty bar associations are crucial allies in this effort to recognize the sacrifices of military families by passing military spouse licensing rules.
military spouse workers face an “earnings penalty” of 3.4 percent. As military spouse lawyers know all too well, military spouses are disproportionally affected by this country’s patchwork of professional licensing regulations, because they cross state lines frequently and because they work disproportionately in fields that require an occupational license (35 percent of military spouses compared to 22 percent of non-military spouse peers, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics). Military spouse attorneys face the prospect of multiple bar exams, fees for repeated character and fitness investigations, juggling dues and continuing legal education (CLE) for multiple jurisdictions, and repeated job searches. For these reasons, MSJDN was initially “laser-focused” on rule changes at the state level to accommodate military spouse attorneys, and success on that front has been remarkable, starting with Idaho in 2012. In its short history, MSJDN’s tireless advocacy has led to licensing accommodations in an incredible 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2017, MSJDN was proud to celebrate the passage of Ohio’s military spouse admissions rule, the culmination of Mary Reding Smith’s first rule change campaign that started in 2009. MSJDN has also received widespread support from the greater legal community. Within a year of its founding, MSJDN saw the American Bar Association (ABA) adopt Resolution 108 encouraging admission authorities to adopt rules that accommodate the unique needs of military spouse attorneys. Also in 2012, the Conference of Chief Justices adopted Resolution 15 encouraging the adoption of rules regarding admission of attorneys who are dependents of servicemembers. With each state rule change initiative, MSJDNers have been joined by passionate judges, practitioners, and bar associations who support the military families in their community.
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When the state of Georgia denied military spouse Harriet O’Neal a license in 2018, despite her eligibility under its military spouse waiver process, MSJDN and its allies rallied to support her appeal, and win, in the Georgia Supreme Court. The ABA (plus its Commission on Women and Past President Linda Klein), the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, the National Association of Women Lawyers, and many others spoke out, filed amicus briefs, and sent letters of support. O’Neal’s application was remanded and approved in November 2018.2 MSJDN’s diverse membership includes military spouse attorneys with ties to every branch of service, every state, and every practice area imaginable. Due to frequent moves, they have a talent for jumping right in to serve a new community, learn new skills, and support other military families along the way. As the success and membership of MSJDN has rapidly grown, so has MSJDN as an organization. In the early years of the organization, Reding and other leaders traveled the country at their own expense, spending tens of thousands of their own dollars to advocate for rule changes, educate the public, and grow the network of military spouse attorneys. Since then, MSJDN has developed into a formal organization with 501(c)(6) status run by an all-volunteer working board of directors. In 2013, MSJDN formed the Military Spouse JD Network Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. Funding for the network now comes from numerous sources, including membership dues, grants, and donations to the 501(c)(3), rather than solely from the pockets of the leadership. MSJDN has also developed a robust committee structure, allowing and encouraging members around the world to get involved and take on leadership roles in all aspects of the organization. Committee directors serve on the board to facilitate communication and collaboration across the leadership. Through these committees and the tireless work of MSJDN and Foundation volunteers, the focus of the organization has expanded beyond licensing to include: Homefront to Hired – a hiring initiative launched in 2013 to forge partnerships with organizations and companies committed to hiring military spouse attorneys. Groups such as the U.S. Army JAG Corps, Prudential, and Virginia Circuit Court judges work with MSJDN to share job listings and match military spouse attorneys with available positions. Justice For Military Families – a pro bono legal clinic established in 2014 to connect servicemembers and military families with legal help while also providing opportunities for military spouse attorneys to build their skills and experience. MSJDN has partnered with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors through Justice For Military Families (JMF) to meet the legal needs of families who have paid the ultimate price of freedom, regardless of their geographic location or financial means. In just a few years, JMF has served more than 150 Gold Star Families and published a comprehensive 50-state legal guide on custody and visitation rights of Gold Star grandparents.
Member programs – The MSJDN website houses forums for networking, a jobs board, member discounts, resource libraries, and much more. The Membership Committee works to partner with organizations for discounts and hosts free monthly webinars for members. MSJDN’s active social media groups provide instant support, references, and advice, drawing on members’ wealth of experience when it comes to law school success, bar study, career progress, and specific practice questions, not to mention navigating life as a military family. The Military Spouse JD Network will continue to forge partnerships to improve career prospects for a growing number of professional military spouses. State, local, and specialty bar associations are crucial allies in this effort to recognize the sacrifices of military families by passing military spouse licensing rules. Encouragingly, employers are also increasingly engaged with issues surrounding military spouse employment, women in the profession, and working parents. Military spouse attorneys are exceptional women and men who merge professional drive and personal resilience in service to a greater mission – an unbeatable combination that ensures a bright future for the Military Spouse JD Network, its members, and all the communities they serve. Endnotes 1. The Council of Economic Advisors, “Military Spouses in the Labor Market,” https://www. whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Military-Spouses-in-the-Labor-Market.pdf 2. In the Matter of O’Neal, S18Z0774 (2018).
MINNESOTA MINNESOTA WOMEN LAWYERS: A HISTORY By FY18-19 MWL President Shannon Harmon
hen Minnesota Women Lawyers (MWL) was founded in 1972, the organization of 18 members, led by its first president, Irene Scott, wasted no time getting started with two major projects: ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and identifying all women enrolled in law school or licensed to practice law in Minnesota. Since 1927, women lawyers in Minnesota had been joining the national Phi Delta Delta legal sorority. However, when that organization joined the male fraternity Phi Alpha Delta in 1972, the women of the Minnesota chapter unanimously decided to create their own organization, and MWL was born. MWL’s initial count identified 120 women, including 50 law students, which certainly showed some progress since Martha Angle Dorsett became the first woman lawyer in Minnesota’s history in 1878. It wasn’t until 1921, however,
MWL's 29th Annual Meeting with keynote remarks by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Justice O'Connor poses with MWL past presidents. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
MWL past presidents and board members at MWL's 40th Annual Meeting in 2012.
that Lena Olive Smith was admitted as Minnesota’s first black woman attorney. More than half of the women attorneys originally identified joined MWL in the first few years. By 1984, MWL had grown to more than 700 members. Today, MWL has nearly 1,300 members, including attorneys, judges, and allies throughout Minnesota’s legal community. In addition to its main office in Minneapolis, MWL also encompasses four regional chapters throughout Minnesota, including the Central Chapter in St. Cloud, the Northeastern Chapter in Duluth, the South Central Chapter in the Mankato/New Ulm area, and the St. Croix Valley Chapter in Washington and Chisago counties. MWL’s chapters hold regular meetings and conduct activities and programs in their geographic regions to best serve the needs of women attorneys in their areas. Since its inception, MWL’s work seeks to further its mission to “advance the success of women in the profession and strive for a just society,” and its values of equality, leadership, and community guide the organization’s direction and priorities. Although this article cannot capture the full extent of MWL’s accomplishments in its nearly 50-year existence, we believe it tells the story of a robust and welcoming organization making meaningful and measurable progress as it engages in advancing the success of women attorneys. Noteworthy Reports and Initiatives In 1981, during the presidency of Sheryl Ramstad Hvass, MWL announced a Task Force on the Status of Women in the Legal Profession. The task force’s report, published during the presidency of Marsha Freeman in 1984, was the first statewide effort of its kind and brought national attention to MWL.
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As part of the adoption of its 2009-2012 Strategic Plan, MWL sought to “be a resource for baseline information and research on the current position of women in the profession as well as the state of the legal profession for women” and to “use the information to advocate for positive change.” Out of this goal evolved the MWL Compendium, an online database of resources related to women in the legal profession. MWL continues to add materials to create an ongoing resource of information on women in the profession, and the compendium has grown to include more than 1,700 articles and research items. During her 2010-2011 term, then-MWL President Elizabeth Cutter established the Parity Taskforce to determine the status of women lawyers in Minnesota, the barriers to parity, the most effective methods to overcome those barriers, and the time needed to overcome the barriers. In the effort to establish a baseline on the status of women lawyers in Minnesota, the task force quickly learned that the number of women practicing law in Minnesota was unknown. Demographic data, including gender, was not collected for lawyers practicing in the state. After MWL brought this to the attention of Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, the Minnesota Supreme Court authorized a change to the Minnesota Registration form, allowing attorneys to voluntarily indicate their gender classification, beginning in fall 2011. When MWL realized that the number of people completing the gender information was not enough to conduct a statistically significant analysis, MWL launched its “I Want To Be Counted” campaign in 2013 to encourage attorneys to complete the question on their form. In the meantime, MWL contracted with the University of Minnesota to conduct a gender classification project,
utilizing U.S. Census data to decide whether a name was gendered male or female to determine a baseline number of attorneys practicing in the state of Minnesota. Using this information, MWL released its first report of the Gender Data Project in May 2015, which showed that, as of October 2014, 37 percent (10,669) of Minnesota’s lawyers were female. To mark the report’s release, the task force offered a continuing legal education (CLE) presentation at MWL’s 2016 Conference for Women in the Law, and the report has been regularly cited. In February 2019, MWL released the Gender Data Project: 2019 Follow-Up Report, which similarly found that 39 percent (12,874) of the attorneys registered in Minnesota as of 2018 were female. These reports were exciting milestones for MWL and the Minnesota legal community. However, MWL also recognizes that more comprehensive and long-term data collection is vital to advancing the success of women attorneys. Therefore, the organization continues to advocate for additional data on practice type, employment titles or positions, employment status, compensation, disability, and LGBTQ+ status.
appointed to Minnesota’s federal bench. In 1994, Murphy became the first woman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and remained the sole woman until April 2013, when Judge Jane Kelly from Iowa joined her. As demonstrated by the 1978 press conference, MWL took an active role in getting more women on the bench. In 1980, the MWL Judicial Appointments Committee first endorsed seven candidates for 4th Judicial District court vacancies, the district in which Minneapolis resides, and two candidates in the 10th Judicial District. Over the years, MWL played a major role in educating voters about judicial candidates, the role of the judiciary, and judicial independence issues. Although MWL previously screened and endorsed candidates for judicial positions through appointment and contested elections, MWL now focuses its efforts on providing resources and support to members who are considering seeking appointment to the judiciary. MWL’s Judicial Initiative assists in preparing MWL members for the judicial appointment process and encourages more women applicants to seek judicial appointment through its “You Can Be a Judge” seminars, which have been held throughout the state.
Rosalie Wahl and Women on Minnesota’s Courts One of the primary issues that led to the formation of MWL was an effort to get more women appointed to Minnesota’s state and federal benches, and both have provided some particular milestones for women in Minnesota’s legal community. In 1977, Rosalie Wahl became the first woman on the Minnesota Supreme Court, following her appointment by Gov. Rudy Perpich. She was later joined by Justices Mary Jeanne Coyne, Esther Tomljanovich, and Sandra Gardebring, making Minnesota the first state in the country with a majority of women on its highest court in 1990. Three of the four justices – Coyne, Tomljanovich, and Wahl – were MWL Founding Mothers, who were present at MWL’s first meeting on Sept. 21, 1972. In 1998, Kathleen Blatz was appointed as the first woman chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. In 2012, Wilhelmina Wright – who had been the first African-American woman on Ramsey County’s District Court bench in St. Paul – became the first African-American woman on the Minnesota Supreme Court, where she served until her appointment to the U.S. District Court of Minnesota in 2016. She was joined on the Supreme Court in 2015 by Justice Natalie Hudson, who had been appointed the first African-American woman on the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2002. In 2016, Margaret Chutich became the first openly gay member of the Minnesota Supreme Court, and Anne McKeig became the first American Indian to the serve on the Court. With Justices Hudson, Chutich, McKeig, and Chief Justice Gildea (appointed in 2006), Minnesota’s Supreme Court again has a majority of women justices. Minnesota saw two women on its Supreme Court before it had even one woman on its federal bench. In 1978, MWL held a press conference to publicly urge the appointment of a woman to the U.S. District Court for Minnesota. In 1980, Diana E. Murphy became the first woman to be
Awards and Recognition Appreciating that women are often in the best position to recognize the achievements and talents of other women in the legal community, MWL has established several awards throughout the years to honor women and supporters of MWL’s mission in Minnesota’s legal community. In 1984, MWL awarded the first Myra Bradwell Award to Judge Suzanne Sedgewick of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Since that first award, MWL has continued to present the Myra Bradwell Award annually to an MWL member who expresses the highest ideals of the legal profession and who possesses the qualities exemplified by Myra Bradwell – a pioneering woman lawyer – such as courage, perseverance, and leadership on issues of concern to women. In 1993, MWL recognized General Mills’ law department as the first recipient of the Leadership Award, which was established to recognize legal employers throughout the state that strive to enhance the status, influence, and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ. In 2001, MWL awarded the first Service to MWL Award to MWL’s Endorsements Committee. The purpose of this award is to recognize the MWL member, group of members, or 100% Club winner whose efforts during the past program year have contributed substantially to advance MWL’s mission. In 2019, MWL launched the Awards & Recognition Committee, which will select the recipient of the Myra Bradwell and Leadership awards, and nominate women in Minnesota’s legal community for external awards. MWL also strives to acknowledge law students who support and exemplify MWL’s mission. The Equal Justice Award awards a cash prize based on an article written by a law student on a topic involving law and social justice, whether or not related to women’s rights or feminist theory. MWL’s Foundation also offers an annual Law National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Pictured from left to right at "A Celebration of Women on Minnesota's Highest Court" are: Commissioner of the Minnesota Supreme Court Rita Coyle DeMeules; FY 18-19 MWL President Shannon Harmon; Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Anne K. McKeig; Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret H. Chutich; Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea; Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Natalie E. Hudson; former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Esther Tomljanovich; and MWL CLE co-chairs Andrea Hoversten and Emerald Gratz.
Student Scholarship to aid students attending a Minnesota law school who demonstrate an interest in furthering the mission of Minnesota Women Lawyers. The MWL Foundation also awards the Leslie Altman Memorial Scholarship, which honors MWL Past-President Leslie Altman, who achieved outstanding recognition as a lawyer and served as an unconditional advocate for women and for a just society until her passing in the fall of 2012. In addition to her service to MWL, Altman also served with numerous other bar organizations to champion women and diversity, including as a board member officer of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations from 1996 until 2006. Events and Programs Upon Wahl’s retirement from the Supreme Court in 1994, MWL hosted a retirement dinner and celebration in her honor with nearly 800 in attendance. The Rosalie Wahl Leadership Lecture Fund was thereafter established, and MWL began holding the annual Rosalie Wahl Leadership Lecture. The series continues to feature women whose decisions and abilities inspire the leaders of tomorrow just as Wahl has inspired so many of us. Over the years, the Wahl Lecture has drawn prominent women attorneys from around the nation as keynote speakers. During its 2010-2011 fiscal year, MWL launched the “MWL Leadership Project: A Core Development Program for Women in the Law,” an intensive leadership development program for women attorneys. During five full-day sessions over the course of eight months, participants identified and developed leadership competencies that supported them in contributing to their organizations and communities, managing change, and advancing their career goals. In 2019, MWL’s board approved the development and implementation of a new core leadership development program for women attorneys that demonstrates effectiveness through measured goals,
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incorporates MWL’s diversity and inclusion goals, and is accessible across MWL’s leadership. In 2019, MWL will hold its fourth annual MWL Conference for Women in the Law, a full-day event with the goal of collaborating across MWL’s statewide community, providing high-value programming of interest to MWL’s diverse membership, and creating meaningful networking opportunities, all in an effort to advance MWL’s mission. Through its Community Action & Advocacy Committee (CAAC), MWL seeks to further the part of its mission aimed at striving for a just society by facilitation of greater community service and public policy activities as defined by MWL’s mission and values and approved by the board. Current focus areas include: (1) violence against women, (2) pay equity, (3) access to justice, and (4) girl empowerment. For several years, the CAAC has presented Girl Scout Law Day, a morning program that helps local Girl Scouts earn their Government Badge while learning about the legal system, how a bill becomes a law, and careers in law. They even get to put on a mock trial and serve as jury members! Over the decades, the CAAC has also fostered community engagement among MWL’s members through the Holiday Benefit for area battered women’s shelters, the Professional Women’s Clothing Drive, work with the Sexual Violence Center, and now the Domestic Abuse Legal Advocacy Center to train volunteer lawyers to assist with orders for protection. The committee also presents an ongoing CLE series about public policy issues, particularly related to women. Changing the System As MWL nears its 50th anniversary in 2022, we are beginning to take a look back at the organization’s overall impact in the Minnesota legal community. We know we can be grateful to those who paved the way and reached behind them to pull us forward, while still wanting more progress for women in the law. As an MWL Founding Mother stated in starting the organization: “It became apparent to me that if I was going to practice law … that I wouldn’t survive without changing the system.” Through its 50th anniversary and beyond, MWL will continue making progress to change the practice of law in Minnesota with its mission and values of leadership, equality, and community at the center of its work.
MISSISSIPPI MISSISSIPPI WOMEN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
ississippi Women Lawyers Association (MWLA) comprises women representing all facets of the legal profession including private, corporate, and government
The winners of the 2017 “Top 10 Legal Trailblazer Awards” presented by the Metro Jackson Black Women Lawyers Association are, left to right: Amanda Green Alexander, 2016-2017 NCWBA president; Margarette Meeks; Angela Kupenda; Judge Latrice Westbrooks; Constance Slaughter Harvey; Commissioner Pelicia Hall; Carshena Bailey; Judge Patrice Wise; and Rep. Debra Gibbs. Not pictured is Pat Bennett, dean of the Mississippi College School of Law.
practice, judiciary, academia, and law students. MWLA was founded in 1976 by a group of 30 women attorneys from throughout the state of Mississippi to enhance and develop the image of lawyers in Mississippi, promote fellowship among the members of the legal community, and advance women in the legal profession. Today, there are approximately 1,500 women lawyers practicing in Mississippi in all sectors of the profession, many of whom are members of MWLA. Community involvement and philanthropy are significant parts of MWLA’s involvements. The association emphasizes the importance of the attorney’s role in giving back to the community through projects that benefit charitable organizations, the provision of scholarships to outstanding law students, and pro bono work. The association also awards the Martha Gerald/MWLA scholarship in honor of MWLA’s first president, Martha Gerald, to female law students at the University of Mississippi School of Law and the Mississippi College School of Law. MWLA is proud of its Outstanding Woman Lawyer Award, given annually to honor the Mississippi female lawyer who has demonstrated the greatest accomplishments during the previous year. Prior recipients include Dr. Carolyn Ellis Staton (1995), Pat Flynn (1996), Dr. Mary Ann Connell (1997), Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Lenore Prather (1998), Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Mary Libby Payne (1999), Amy Whitten (2000), Constance Slaughter-Harvey (2001), Professor Patricia Bennett (2002), Margaret Williams (2003), Colette Oldmixon (2004), Professor Deborah Bell (2005), Joy Lambert-Phillips (2006), Sharon
D. Bridges (2007), Christy D. Jones (2008), Patti Gandy (2009), Judy Guice (2010), La’Verne Edney (2011), Lynn Fitch (2012), Tiffany Graves (2013), Justice Ann Lamar (2014), Amanda Green Alexander (2015), Rebecca Wiggs (2016), Judge Latrice Westbrooks (2017), and Tiffany Grove (2018). In 2007, MWLA began the tradition of bestowing a Lifetime Achievement Award, given annually to honor a Mississippi female lawyer who has served as a trailblazer for women in the profession. Prior recipients include Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Kay Cobb (2007), U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander (2008), U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson (2009), Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Mary Libby Payne (2010), retired Professor Shirley Norwood Jones (2011), Professor Carol West (posthumously, 2012), Constance Slaughter-Harvey (2013), Vicki Slater (2014), Cynthia “Cindy” Mitchell (2015), Margaret Ellis (posthumously, 2016), Pshon Barrett (2017), and Patricia Bennett (2018). Membership in MWLA also provides a unique means for fellowship and networking with other members, including bimonthly lunch meetings from September to May with speakers on various topics, and gathering for socials. MWLA has also sponsored networking events with other women professionals, including a joint luncheon meeting with Mississippi women legislators. The association actively seeks opportunities to network with women in other professions. MWLA is proud of its accomplishments over the years, its renewed vitality and growth in the past several years, and the goals that it can achieve in the years to come. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
AWL’s Humble Beginnings: The Early Days
MISSOURI THE HISTORY AND LEGACY OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN LAWYERS OF GREATER KANSAS CITY AWL’s Mission and Purpose The stated purpose for the Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City (AWL) is “to promote the equality of women and others within society in general and within the legal profession in particular.” We are committed to helping women thrive in the law, and we fulfill our mission by providing: • Opportunities: We support women who seek appointments and leadership positions in the bar, governmental entities, civic groups, and the judiciary. • Education: We provide continuing legal education (CLE) and other programming to foster our members’ professional development. • Networking: We bring together attorneys, judges, and other legal professionals across a variety of practices and specialties. • Philanthropy: We unite to be a force for good in our community. We work together to make a difference, and we dedicate our time and talents to help those in need. • Camaraderie: We support each other’s success. We recognize that our profession is challenging, so we provide mentors, scholarships, and even some recreation. AWL is not an organization exclusive to women but instead opens its membership to all who are committed to its purpose. AWL is proud to include members from all walks of the profession and it actively seeks diversity in its membership, as it is beneficial to the entire association. Our Predecessors: Women Lawyers and Bar Associations in Kansas City, 1917-1967 In 1917, Tiera Farrow formed the Women’s Bar Association of Kansas City and became president. This was the first women’s legal organization in Kansas City and also in Missouri. It was one of the few in the nation. The primary purpose for the organization was to “give free legal advice and assistance to women and girls who are financially unable to engage in services of attorneys, especially the wives, daughters, and sweethearts of men enlisted in the services of their country, and to assist in procuring legislation more favorable to women and children in Missouri.” The next year, the Women’s Bar Association of Missouri was formed. The Kansas City Women’s Bar Association dissolved in approximately 1967.
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AWL was founded in 1976. Women attorneys were seeking avenues to network, communicate with each other, and promote women in the legal community. In the early 1970s, law schools saw a significant increase in women students, resulting in more and more women attorneys passing the bar. With this increase in women law school graduates, women slowly began making inroads as associates in private law firms, in addition to the more common solo practices and government positions. When our founders first gathered, the status of women in the legal community was quite different than it is today. There were roadblocks to women becoming integrated into the legal profession. The nation was in the midst of an effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Women attorneys were excluded from bar associations. Male attorneys had private clubs where they could meet and network and women were excluded from these clubs. There were no female judges and no female attorneys in bar leadership positions. Female attorneys were largely isolated from each other. AWL was established as a resource for networking, sharing information, and camaraderie. At the beginning, AWL members gathered in other members’ homes to share experiences, frustrations, and give each other moral support. AWL was instrumental for women attorneys to learn how to navigate the legal system and get things done. During AWL’s first 10 years, the focus of the association was to promote women in the judiciary. There was a belief that having women judges would make the court experience fairer for women attorneys and clients. There were no female judges, in part because a lawyer had to have at least five years of experience to apply. As more women gained the required experience, AWL focused on nominating qualified women and supporting them in the appointment process. Some AWL members reached out to Missouri Supreme Court judges to adopt uniform processes for the judicial appointment commission to follow that would be fair and equal for all applicants. Armed with their research, they recommended training for the commissions and a handbook so that commissioners would follow the same rules and process. Not long after that, the Court adopted a handbook and created training for the commissions. The Missouri Bar continues its commitment to these goals through its Joint Commission on Women in the Profession. Some AWL members met with the governor of Missouri to gain his attention and commitment to appointing qualified women to the bench if presented to him. Through these groundbreaking efforts, AWL has seen the number of female judges increase throughout the years. In the 1980s, the focus of AWL expanded to other practice issues for women in the law. AWL also had an interest in seeing that women attorneys were recognized in the mainstream, in leadership positions both in firms and in bar associations, and its members sought to do whatever was needed to promote and support women for such recognition. These efforts continue to the present.
AWL was established as a resource for networking, sharing information, and camaraderie. At the beginning, AWL members gathered in other members’ homes to share experiences, frustrations, and give each other moral support.
AWLF In 2008, the AWL Foundation (AWLF) was formed as a charitable arm of the association. AWL Past President Denise Henning conceived the idea in 2007, with other board members, to increase past board member involvement with AWL. Their discussions morphed into the idea of supporting the creation of a foundation to further AWL’s charitable mission. The AWLF has a two-pronged mission: to help women in law develop and advance and to help improve the lives of women and girls in the Kansas City community. AWLF is led by AWL past presidents and board members who want to continue to be involved after their terms of service. They provide leadership and energy for charitable activities and relationship-building. One of the organization’s primary activities is the AWL Foundation Scholarship Program, which helps women cover the cost of educational and professional opportunities. The AWLF also hosts an annual 5K called Women on the Move to benefit the AWLF Denise Henning Connections program. AWLF Denise Henning Connections Program The Denise Henning Connections program is a mentoring program that pairs five older members with five younger members every year in “classes.” Each class is committed to five years, allowing each mentor and mentee to rotate within the class. With the goals to help each other and lift each other up in the profession, Connections has been a very successful and popular program. Deep friendships and career support have been established among the participants. Beginning with the class of 2009, the program just celebrated its 10th anniversary. The program’s goals are to develop meaningful relationships among women in the law; bridge the gap between women in leadership positions and new women attorneys; enhance and extend each woman’s professional network; foster the success of program members; and cultivate leaders for our community, bar associations, and profession. Community Support of Women, Children, and Others In 2007, AWL sponsored the Step Up program for women who were victims of domestic abuse, living in
shelters, and had outstanding warrants or infractions. Step Up was held in Missouri’s Kansas City Municipal Court. The court would close for a day to hear only these matters. Prior to handling the various cases, those volunteering with Step Up took a training class to learn how to represent these women, what to do once they were in court, and then they represented the women in court. This was collaboration between the court and prosecutors to give the women a chance for diversion, probation, and performing community service to pay their debts. Women’s Trial Institute AWL, in sponsorship with Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA), presents the women-only Trial Institute, which takes place over two days in Kansas City every other year. The Women’s Trial Institute (WTI) is open to female litigators who want to develop and practice trial litigation skills in a safe, women-only environment, with seasoned litigators providing tips, tricks, war stories, and hands-on pointers on critical components of trial and trial prep. We’ve Come a Long Way, and We’re Still Going AWL is constantly working toward meeting its goals in new ways. Through its nearly 45-year history, AWL has had signature CLE events over the years, such as “CLE in the City.” AWL honors its past presidents every fall with the AWL Past Presidents’ Reception. Recently, AWL has teamed up with the Women’s Foundation to encourage women to participate in the Women’s Foundation Appointments Project® “to empower women and strengthen communities by increasing the gender diversity of public boards and commissions.” Now, AWL members represent all facets of the legal profession: private firms, corporate, government, judiciary, academia, and law students. We started out with fewer than 20 members and are proud that we have grown to more than 500 members. AWL members have held leadership positions in mainstream bar associations and have been recognized as recipients of significant awards in the legal community. And recently, we have embarked on an ongoing effort to document our history to preserve it as well as enable members to grow from our experiences. Stay tuned …
NEW HAMPSHIRE NEW HAMPSHIRE WOMEN’S BAR ASSOCIATION By Michaila Oliveira
he New Hampshire Bar’s first members, Henry Dow and John Pickering, were sworn in on Oct. 8, 1686, but New Hampshire would have to wait more than 200 National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Marilla Marks Ricker. Ricker opened the New Hampshire Bar to women in 1890.
years before its first female became eligible to be admitted. Marilla Marks Ricker, a widowed teacher turned lawyer from New Durham, New Hampshire, practiced criminal law in Washington, D.C. Ricker began the study of law with two male attorneys and was admitted to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia in 1882, taking the exam with 18 men, all of whom she outperformed. She opened the New Hampshire Bar to women with her 1890 petition to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, after she was denied the right to take the state bar exam. Leila Robinson, Massachusetts’ first female attorney (admitted in 1882), appeared for Ricker, although Ricker prepared her own brief. In a unanimous decision, Chief Justice Charles Cogswell Doe held that gaining admission to the bar was not the same as gaining admission to a public office and that women were not prevented from being attorneys at common law in New Hampshire. Although Ricker never sought admission to the New Hampshire Bar after winning that right, her efforts paved the way for others. In 1917, 27 years after Ricker obtained the right, the first female attorney was admitted to practice law in New Hampshire. Agnes Winifred McLaughlin, born in 1882 in Northumberland, New Hampshire, was a graduate of Lancaster Academy. She later attended Burdette Business College in Boston for secretarial training, worked as a secretary and court stenographer, and, as was the custom at that time, studied law with local attorneys with a short stint at the University of Maine before taking the New Hampshire bar exam. McLaughlin began work after her
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admission at the Equitable Life Insurance Society in the estate planning division, where she worked for 25 years until her retirement. She resided in Shelburne, New Hampshire, for many years and then Gorham, where she lived until her death in 1964. Jennie Blanche Newhall was the second woman admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in 1920 after taking correspondence courses and studying under New Hampshire attorneys. She served for many years in the attorney general’s office, arguing many cases before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. In 1929, she became the first woman in New Hampshire to become a justice of the peace. By 1930, eight additional female attorneys had been added to the bar. For many of these early admittees, it was common to study under practicing New Hampshire attorneys as apprentices, as law school was not yet a prerequisite for taking the bar exam. However, by 1960, graduation from an American Bar Association (ABA)-approved law school was required in New Hampshire, and studying in a law office or taking correspondence courses were no longer acceptable. During the early periods of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, only a few law schools would admit women as students. New Hampshire nonetheless continued to admit women to the bar; by 1933, the number had increased to five, and by 1941 to 10. During the 1940s and 1950s, several more women were admitted to the New Hampshire Bar. The turbulent social changes that produced the feminist movement of the 1960s focused on achieving equality for women by challenging discrimination and unfair labor practices. In 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed, giving a boost to women’s causes by prohibiting sex discrimination in employment. Throughout the 1960s, the New Hampshire Bar very gradually added female members, and at the conclusion of that decade, after 80 years of female eligibility for the bar, a total of 40 women had been admitted. As of July 1, 1973, there were 17 current “lady” members of the bar.
Throughout the 1960s, the New Hampshire Bar very gradually added female members, and at the conclusion of that decade, after 80 years of female eligibility for the bar, a total of 40 women had been admitted. As of July 1, 1973, there were 17 current “lady” members of the bar.
The years of 1970 through 1977 saw a marked increase in women gaining admittance to practice law in New Hampshire. In just those eight years, 61 women were admitted, bringing the total number of women admitted to the New Hampshire Bar to 100. Other states reached this level much earlier. For example, Wisconsin had its first 150 women lawyers by 1943. Every year since 1977, when the 100th woman was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar (and a total group of 23 women were sworn in), more and more women came into the bar. The 40 years from 1978 to the present have seen great change and progress for women attorneys in New Hampshire. For instance, in 1975, Patricia McKee was the only female attorney practicing in Rockingham County, and in 1977, Carolyn W. Baldwin was the only female practicing in Belknap County. It was not until 1978 that we had our first female judges, when Gov. Hugh Gallen nominated two women to the district court bench: first, Jean Burling to sit as a special justice on the Claremont District Court and then McKee as a special justice on the Exeter District Court. The establishment of Franklin Pierce Law Center (now the University of New Hampshire School of Law, or UNH Law) as New Hampshire’s first law school, graduating its first class in 1976, made a significant impact on women going to law school and staying in New Hampshire to practice law. Stephanie Nute, from that first class, became the first woman graduate of Franklin Pierce Law Center to become a New Hampshire attorney. She later became a marital master. The following year, five Franklin Pierce women graduates were sworn into the New Hampshire Bar: Carolyn W. Baldwin, Cathy Green, Jane Lawrence, Ellen Arnold, and Marilyn McNamara. The New Hampshire Bar Association became a unified bar in 1969, requiring all attorneys practicing in New Hampshire to become members. Patti Blanchette was elected in 1987 as the first female member of the Board of Governors. The following year, Linda Johnson was elected as the association’s treasurer, becoming the first female officer. New Hampshire has since had 10 women serve as president of the New Hampshire Bar Association. In 1991, three attorneys, Maureen Raiche Manning, Patricia Quigley, and Cynthia Noyes, put into motion the formation of the Hillsborough County Women’s Bar Association, New Hampshire’s first formal women’s bar. In February 1998, the Hillsborough County Women’s Bar Association held a program entitled, “Why Have a Statewide Women’s Bar Association in New Hampshire?” presented by Ellen Kearns of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, then an NCWBA board member. Women attorneys throughout New Hampshire were invited to voice their opinions on whether the women county bar groups should band together to establish a statewide women’s bar association. The consensus was overwhelming and the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association (NHWBA) was soon incorporated. The original founding mothers of the
organization were: Maureen Raiche Manning, Jennifer L. Parent, Joy V. Riddell, Claudia C. Damon, and (now Judge) Julie Introcaso. On Oct. 1, 1998, the NHWBA held its inaugural Fall Reception in Concord, New Hampshire, inviting attorneys throughout the state to an open house. A Fall Reception has been held in Concord every October thereafter. During its first year, the NHWBA signed up more than 200 members. In 1987, the New Hampshire Bar established a task force to study women in the profession. At that time, women comprised 19 percent of the bar membership, 10 percent of partners, and only 3 percent of judges. Male partners, on average, earned $10,000 more than female partners, and the majority of male attorneys had spouses who did not work outside the home, while the opposite was true for female attorneys. Jennie Blanche Newhall became the first female attorney to work in the New Hampshire attorney general’s office in 1920. Kelly Ayotte served as the first female New Hampshire attorney general in 2004 and was later the first female attorney elected to serve in the U.S. Senate in 2010. Anne McLane Kuster became New Hampshire’s first female attorney to be elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, where she is presently serving her third term. In 1963, Caroline R. Gray from Canaan became the first female attorney to be elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, followed by Ida V. C. Milligan in 1965. The first female attorney to be elected to the New Hampshire Senate was Maggie Hassan in 2004. She was also the first female attorney governor elected in 2012 and 2014; she was later elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. In spring 2008, the NHWBA celebrated its 10th anniversary with a gala dinner celebrating women trailblazers in the law. Our five trailblazer award recipients were: Maureen Raiche Manning, the first president of the NHWBA and a leader on the issues of gender equality in the legal profession; Jean Burling, the first female judge in New Hampshire; former Chief Justice Linda S. Dalianis, the first female justice to sit on the New Hampshire Supreme Court; Ayotte, the first female attorney general; and Jennifer L. Parent, the second president of the NHWBA, a highly visible member of the state bar, and a mentor to many young attorneys in this state. In May 2013, the NHWBA held its 15th Anniversary Celebration at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire. Pamela E. Berman, president of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, and Jennifer L. Parent were our featured guests and speakers. As of early 2018, there were approximately 1,900 active women attorneys practicing law in New Hampshire, comprising 34.5 percent of the bar. There are now times we see all women in a courtroom – the judge, the attorneys, the clerk, and the security officer. Women attorneys are no longer a novelty, but the norm. In 2018, the NHWBA celebrated its 20th anniversary with a full-day event celebrating the mark that women attorneys National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
WBASNY’s Joan Ellenbogen (left), a founding NCWBA board member, and the Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin.
have made on the legal profession in New Hampshire. The NHWBA continues to hold events and trainings geared toward advancing the role of women in the law and hopes to do so indefinitely with the support of its members.
NEW YORK A SHORT HISTORY OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK WOMEN’S BAR ASSOCIATION SYRACUSE, NEW YORK Submitted by Karen M. Uplinger
he Central New York Women’s Bar Association (CNYWBA) is one of the founding chapters of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York. Currently we have 221 members. However, in the late ’70s, a small group convened by Karen DeCrow, a lawyer in Syracuse who previously had been president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), met with the idea of forming a women in law group. At that time, there were very few women practicing in Syracuse and the group was to include not only lawyers but paralegals. During this time, DeCrow was approached by Joan Ellenbogen of the New York (City) Women’s Bar Association, who wanted to establish a statewide women’s bar association. Ellenbogen came to Syracuse in the fall of 1979 and we were convinced that it was important for us to be a part of her vision.
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DeCrow was nothing if not selfless in her nurturing of the Central New York group. She refused a leading role, encouraging the newer lawyers to take the lead but always giving her full support. Thereafter, approximately 20 women met at the Dinkler Motor Inn restaurant in Syracuse, formed our organization, and elected Bea Krupkin as our first president. We then informed the New York City organization that we were in. Karen Uplinger, vice president of the newly formed group, made numerous trips to New York City that winter to help write the bylaws for what would become the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY), and a number of us went to the initial organization meeting at Grossingers in the Catskills in the spring of 1980, where we became one of the five founding chapters. Beverly Michaels, Esq., from Syracuse was elected secretary to the board of WBASNY, and Uplinger and Minna Buck served as board members. Early on there was struggle to maintain and grow our membership. No large law firm in Syracuse had a woman partner and few hired many women. Many of our members wanted to participate in the Onondaga County Bar Association activities and committees. The county bar had no women officers or board members. This came to a crisis point at the same time we were looking to form the women’s bar and became a catalyst when one of our members was excluded from a committee meeting for the county bar association, which was being held in a private club. The county bar leaders refused to address this issue. On a Saturday morning, at a meeting hosted by DeCrow, five members of the CNYWBA met to see what action should be taken. DeCrow, Buck, Uplinger, Lois Kriesberg,
and Chris Scofield determined that the best thing we could do would be to run a slate against the proposed officer and board slate for the county bar association. We got enough signatures to contest the election, and the meeting drew more members to vote than any meeting ever held by the bar. We lost the election but received more votes than there were women members of the association, which meant there was crossover voting among the men. The next year, Catherine Richardson became the first woman officer, and eventually the first woman president of the county bar and later the second woman president of the New York State Bar Association. Uplinger was appointed to the board to serve an unexpired term. Many years later, DeCrow was elected to a term on the bar association board. More importantly, the board left the private club, and began to include women in all aspects of the association. The “Onondaga Five” received the Founders Award from WBASNY in 2003 for their efforts. CNYWBA was instrumental in electing Buck as the first woman Family Court judge in Onondaga County as well as the Hon. Rosemary Pooler as the first New York State Supreme Court judge in Onondaga County. Pooler was later appointed to the federal bench and today sits on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, the Hon. Deborah Karalunas, a past president of CNYWBA, currently serves on the New York State Supreme Court, and past president the Hon. Therese Wiley Dancks serves as a Federal Court magistrate for the Northern District of New York. Uplinger recently retired as a City Court judge in Syracuse. The Hon. Kate Rosenthal, a founding member, currently serves on the Syracuse City Court bench and previously served as president of the New York State Association of City Court Judges. Over the years, CNYWBA has continued to advance the role of women in the practice of law and provide services to women in the Syracuse area. It was the first chapter of WBASNY to set up and staff a clinic to advise victims of domestic violence through the local VERA House. It provides a scholarship for a woman law student each year in memory of its first president, Bea Krupkin. CNYWBA has provided support for breast cancer awareness and continuing legal education for attorneys. Most recently, it sponsored a Women in Law Summit at the Syracuse University College of Law on gender bias in the law, where the Hon. Janet DiFiore, chief judge of the Court of Appeals and chief administrative judge of the state of New York, gave the keynote address.
Over the years, CNYWBA has continued to advance the role of women in the practice of law and provide services to women in the Syracuse area.
In 2009, DeCrow was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, for her lifetime support and actions on behalf of women’s rights and civil rights.
THE EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN OF THE EMPIRE STATE: A HISTORY OF THE WOMEN’S BAR ASSOCIATION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK In the late 1970s, a group of women lawyers from throughout New York state decided to unite with one voice to address their professional concerns and confront gender bias. These lawyers, led by Joan Ellenbogen and the Manhattan-based New York Women’s Bar Association, reached out to other regional women’s bar associations in an effort to gain a statewide presence. The women formalized their efforts at a convention held at Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel in Liberty, New York, during the weekend of April 18, 1980. After significant discussion and compromise, they formed the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY). The initial five women’s bar association chapters that made up WBASNY were Capital District, Central New York, New York (Manhattan), Staten Island, and Westchester. The purposes of the new association were specified in its Certification of Incorporation, filed on July 19, 1980. The mission was clear: • to establish and direct policies and issue policy statements on issues of statewide, national, or international significance, especially those relating to women lawyers and women generally, including but not limited to state or national legislation, international compacts, statewide judicial office, and state or national judicial policy; • to cooperate with, aid, and support organizations and causes that advance the status and progress of women in society; • to facilitate the administration of justice; • to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and courtesy in the legal profession; and • to cultivate the science of jurisprudence. Ellenbogen, WBASNY’s driving force, became its first president. During her two-year term, Ellenbogen solidified WBASNY’s position among other state bar associations by representing WBASNY at joint meetings attended by these bar associations. She strengthened WBASNY’s internal network by continuously contacting WBASNY’s chapter organizations to obtain consensus on various issues affecting women generally and WBASNY in particular. In 1981, recognizing Ellenbogen’s accomplishments in promoting women, the Hon. Lawrence H. Cooke, chief judge of the Court of Appeals, appointed Ellenbogen to the judicial selection committee for the Court of Appeals. WBASNY’s next president, Marjorie E. Karowe, continued WBASNY’s mission by conducting a campaign to recruit National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
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A 1941 luncheon of the New York Women’s Bar Association. The New York Women’s Bar Association would become the Manhattan chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York.
more local women’s bar chapters into WBASNY. By 1985, due in large part to Karowe’s organizational skills and efforts, WBASNY had grown from its original five chapters to include the following additional chapters: Bronx, Brooklyn, Mid-Hudson, Nassau-Suffolk, Orange-Sullivan, Queens, Rochester, Rockland, and Western New York. WBASNY’s Legislation Committee brought WBASNY its greatest visibility during the early years and continues to do so today. The Legislation Committee reviews bills and issues reports and recommendations to the New York State Legislature. Accordingly, over the years, WBASNY has achieved significant progress for women throughout New York state. In 1992, WBASNY’s then-vice president, Rachel Kretser, testified as follows before the Legislature with reference to WBASNY’s position on proposed legislation concerning the merit selection of judges: Our goal must be a judiciary where the number of women and minority judges fairly reflects the number of women and minorities in the bar. More women and minority judges at all levels of our complex court system will not only contribute to the vital work of our legal system, it will also help eradicate the continuing discrimination against women and minority litigators and litigants. The way we can achieve that goal is to develop a system of judicial selection, whether appointive or elective, which is based upon merit rather than political expediency. Increasingly, legislators have called upon WBASNY’s expertise when drafting bills on matrimonial reform, domestic violence, the practice of law, and numerous other legal
issues. By 1998, WBASNY’s legislative activity had expanded so much that WBASNY hired Barbara Shack to work parttime as its professional liaison with the State Legislature, thereby increasing WBASNY’s accessibility to bill sponsors. (You may visit https://www.wbasny.org/legislation/ to see a list of proposed legislation that WBASNY has reviewed.) The Legislature and various task forces and commissions have also solicited WBASNY’s opinion on numerous occasions. For example, in 1986, WBASNY was acknowledged in the preface to The Task Force Report on Women in the Courts for distributing the task force’s attorney survey. The task force identified gender bias in courts throughout the state and made specific suggestions for its elimination. In its report, the task force concluded that “gender bias against women litigants, attorneys, and court employees is a pervasive problem with grave consequences. Women are often denied equal justice, equal treatment, and equal opportunity.” WBASNY also states its position on key issues before the courts. In this regard, WBASNY has signed onto and written numerous, significant amicus briefs, expressing its view on points of law affecting its members. Among these many amicus briefs are Ezold v. Wolf, Block, Schor and SolisCohen, concerning a woman attorney’s denial of partnership; Elaine W. v. Joint Diseases North General Hospital, Inc., on sex discrimination in reproductive health care; Thoreson v. Penthouse International Ltd., involving sexual harassment; Clark v. K-Mart Corp., on health coverage for breast cancer treatment; Hope v. Perales, on funding medically required abortions for needy women; United States v. Windsor, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that restricting National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
the federal interpretation of “marriage” and “spouse” to apply only to opposite-sex unions is unconstitutional; and Matter of Brooke S.D. vs. Elizabeth A.C.C., in support of the plaintiff who sought custody and visitation of the son of the respondent after a same-sex partnership ended. WBASNY has actively encouraged its members to support organizations and endeavors that advance the interests of women. WBASNY is a charter member of Judges and Lawyers’ Breast Cancer Alert (JALBCA). Founded in March 1992, JALBCA is an organized effort inspired by the death of the Hon. Sybil Hart Kooper from breast cancer and dedicated to the elimination of this common cancer among American women. In October 1992, WBASNY, as a member of JALBCA, organized the first “Courthouse Alert.” The “Alert,” which operated out of courthouses throughout the state, involved volunteers distributing literature, scheduling mammograms, and informing the public about breast cancer screening facilities and services. To ease the economic impact of cutbacks in legalservices funding for the indigent, the majority of whom are women and children, WBASNY organized a Pro Bono Domestic Violence Project in 1996. The project was inspired by a private, independent, not-for-profit legal services organization started by the Capital District chapter in 1995. The program received the NCWBA Public Service Award in 2011. Thirty volunteers and a group of experienced attorney mentors participated in establishing the project and providing pro bono representation to victims of domestic violence at every stage of the legal process. In 2016, Jacqueline Flug and Claire P. Gutekunst, the respective presidents of WBASNY and the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), embarked on a joint Domestic Violence Initiative to enhance access to legal services by victims of domestic violence. The initiative produced a five-credit continuing legal education (CLE) program that was presented by a faculty of experts in domestic violence, videotaped at NYSBA’s headquarters in Albany, publicized by both NYSBA and WBASNY, and offered at no charge to members and non-members of NYSBA and WBASNY. Members from chapters across the state contribute their time and expertise on such substantive law committees as Criminal Law, Domestic Violence, Elder Law/Trusts & Estates, Environmental Law, Equal Opportunity in the Profession, Family and Matrimonial Law, Health Law & Reproductive Rights, Intellectual Property, Labor and Employment Law, and International Women’s Rights. For example, in 2017, WBASNY’s Committee on Equal Opportunity in the Profession provided written testimony to New York State Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon on wage equality. WBASNY publishes articles on substantive law, sponsors U.S. Supreme Court bar admissions for its members, and offers substantive CLE seminars throughout the year. WBASNY’s numerous awards acknowledge the significant contributions of women lawyers to the profession, WBASNY, and the community. In 1985, the annual Joan Ellenbogen
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Award, later renamed at Ellenbogen’s insistence as the Founders’ Award, was established. This award honors women of outstanding achievement who have made significant contributions to the profession. The first recipient was the Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin, a past president of the National Association of Women Judges, WBASNY, and the New York chapter, and the first woman to serve on the Appellate Division in New York state. In 1988, WBASNY created an annual service award to honor a WBASNY member who made significant contributions to WBASNY. The award was named after Marilyn Menge, from the Capital District chapter. Menge chaired the WBASNY Legislation Committee for two years and served as WBASNY’s secretary and vice president. During her term as secretary, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Despite receiving frequent chemotherapy treatments, she never missed completing a set of minutes. Menge was remarkable, not only for her tireless work, but also for her exceptional diplomacy and consensus-building skills. The first recipient of the Marilyn Menge Award was Marjorie Karowe in 1988. In 1996, WBASNY gave its first Pro Bono Award to Hannah S. Cohn of Rochester. The award acknowledges a WBASNY member who makes significant contributions to the provision of pro bono legal services to the community in which she practices. And in 1995, the Hon. Marie Santagata from Nassau received WBASNY’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. WBASNY recognizes the successes of women who have been appointed or elected to public office. On May 4, 1993, WBASNY joined Gov. Mario Cuomo to celebrate the appointment of the state’s first woman chief judge, the Hon. Judith S. Kaye. The event was also the first WBASNY reception to recognize the many contributions by the elected women of the New York State Senate and Assembly. A second WBASNY reception for the women in the Legislature was held on June 7, 1994, also co-sponsored with the governor. The honorees included the Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, who was newly appointed to the Court of Appeals, and the Hon. Karen Peters, who was newly appointed as the first woman judge to the Appellate Division, Third Department. Similarly, WBASNY’s nominee, the Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin, received the American Bar Association’s 1993 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. Ellerin, a WBASNY founder, has worked relentlessly for the equality of women in the profession and has actively assisted many women in their quest to attain judicial office. WBASNY established the Betty Weinberg Ellerin Mentor Award in her honor, and on April 4, 2019, WBASNY sponsored a gala celebration of Ellerin’s 90th birthday. The event drew judges, attorneys, and public officials from throughout the state. Today, decades after the publication of The Task Force Report on Women in the Courts, women have advanced to the highest echelons of the profession. Four women have been appointed to the highest court in the country, the U.S. Supreme Court: the Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor, the Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Hon. Elena Kagan, and the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor. Several women have also been appointed
to the highest court in New York state, the New York State Court of Appeals: the Hon. Judith Kaye, former chief judge; the Hon. Janet DiFiore, current chief judge; the Hon. Carmen Ciparick; the Hon. Jenny Rivera; and the Hon. Leslie Stein. Women have served as presidents of the New York State Bar Association and American Bar Association. Women comprise almost half of the nation’s law school classes and a quarter of the profession. Yet, law school faculty, judges, partners, and general counsels remain overwhelmingly male. So, decades later, WBASNY’s mission is not complete. Promoting women and their accomplishments remain among WBASNY’s core objectives. After her installation in May 2018, WBASNY President Greta Kolcon announced a “Promotion Project,” to encourage each member to nominate at least one qualified woman for recognition or an award. The goal: to promote 5,000 women in the legal profession. “Cultural barriers persist, interfering with the promotion of women commensurate with their skills and accomplishments,” Kolcon explained. “WBASNY’s mission of advancing women is advanced if our members are promoted within the profession.” The Promotion Project garnered WBASNY a 2019 Outstanding Member Program Award from the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations. WBASNY continues to expand its efforts to advance the skills and status of women lawyers and to further the rights of all women. In the face of continued resistance, success comes to the persevering. It is through the collective efforts of the members of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York that laws guaranteeing women equal opportunity and equal treatment will be enacted and manifestations of gender bias will be eradicated. As philosopher and early feminist Simone de Beauvoir stated: “[In] mass action women can have power. The more women become conscious of the need for mass action, the more progress will be achieved.” WBASNY thanks Barbara H. Grcevic, an active WBASNY member since 1986 and past president of the Brooklyn chapter, for her significant contributions in researching and drafting WBASNY’s history, and WBASNY Officer Joy A. Thompson for updating and editing the article.
NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY OF NORTH CAROLINA ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN ATTORNEYS
ith the goal of creating an organization for women attorneys that would promote the rights of women under the law and support the advancement of women in the legal profession, Sharon Thompson, Carolyn McAllaster, Anne Slifkin, and Kathy Schneberk-King set about contacting each of the women attorneys in North Carolina (375 total) to attend an organizational meeting at the University of North Carolina Law School. On March 11, 1978, more than 100 of the contacted women attorneys
attended and voted to form the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys (NCAWA). Tireless, detail-oriented efforts poured into the early progress of creating a nonhierarchical, diverse organization that would impact legislation, bar and bench leadership, career networking, and social change. Almost immediately, NCAWA launched its pursuit of women’s rights by promoting the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Disappointed but in no way defeated by the amendment’s failure, the group refocused its efforts to achieve economic equality for women in the family law/ property law context. NCAWA members helped draft the legislation, lobby the legislators, and educate the public, resulting in the passage of the equitable distribution statute in 1981 and the modification of tenancy by the entireties in 1982. Throughout its 40-year history, NCAWA has contributed to the passage of numerous laws promoting the rights and welfare of women and children, including legislation funding prenatal care, strengthening child care licensing requirements, criminalizing marital rape, and enacting a civil domestic violence statute. Since 1993, the group has hired a lobbyist to step up the efforts to pursue its legislative agenda. NCAWA has encouraged and supported qualified candidates to pursue election within the State Bar Council, judgeships from the District Court level to the state Supreme Court and federal courts, and leadership within other local and specialized bars. The state had only three women District Court judges in 1979, and now we can boast that the state (and federal) judiciary have greatly benefited from the scholarship, talents, and integrity of judges who are NCAWA members and/or who were endorsed and supported by NCAWA. Similar support has been provided to the membership in general, as the organization has placed continued emphasis on providing women attorneys an opportunity to socialize and network. NCAWA sponsors an annual conference, with a welcome reception, continuing legal education (CLE) sessions, a silent auction, and the marquee event, the Annual Banquet, to present the Gwyneth B. Davis Public Service award, Judge of the Year award, and also recognize a keynote speaker. NCAWA has recognized the need to share its wisdom with young attorneys and therefore has led panel discussions and provided speakers for law school judicial forums each academic year. NCAWA has also contributed to career support by starting a scholarship program, which, through the help of Past President and Gwyneth B. Davis Award winner Judge Jane Harper, by 2005 had developed into its own scholarship fund with more than $24,000 raised to help and applaud those women law students who most closely espouse NCAWA’s mission. In 2006, NCAWA began a tradition of sending a group of members to Washington, D.C., to be sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court. NCAWA has worked to educate the public – not just the legal profession – in furtherance of its mission. NCAWA’s statewide television show, Laying Down the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
The 2016 board of the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys.
Law, was awarded the NCWBA Public Service Award in 2003 for its efforts to provide the public with information about important legal issues. Most recently, NCAWA has supported other bar and affinity organizations in support of amending the N.C. Rules of Professional Conduct secured leave rule to take into consideration the birth or adoption of a lawyer’s child and to extend the period for which a new parent may take secured leave from their active cases. Additionally, NCAWA has strengthened relationships with the North Carolina Bar Association, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers, and the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Attorneys. NCAWA offers special membership categories for military attorneys as well as inactive attorneys residing in North Carolina, so they may continue their involvement and support of NCAWA’s mission and goals. Beginning in 1998, NCAWA began creating local chapters. As of 2019, there are eight local chapters of NCAWA: the Charlotte Women’s Bar, Coastal Women Attorneys, Durham-Orange Women Attorneys, Eastern North Carolina Women Attorneys, Fayetteville Women Attorneys, Piedmont-Triad Women Attorneys, Wake Women Attorneys, and Western North Carolina Women Attorneys. Each chapter brings an opportunity for local networking and developing local leadership as well as strengthening NCAWA’s grassroots ability. NCAWA’s local chapters have enjoyed a history of their own with regard to localized service projects for battered women’s shelters, women prison inmates, courthouse daycare, and other needs for women in the communities. In addition, local chapters offer CLE courses, may meet to hear from speakers, celebrate their local women attorneys, support and encourage women attending local law schools, or
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simply share a meal while supporting each other. Each local chapter varies in size and intensity, but each is a commitment by NCAWA to promote our core goals and support women attorneys in North Carolina. Though much has been achieved in a relatively short period of time, the original goals recognized and defined in 1978 still provide great amounts of work for today’s organization. NCAWA hopes to carry forward the work of its founders and past members, creating a tradition of service and accomplishment from this hard-earned history.
Throughout its 40-year history, NCAWA has contributed to the passage of numerous laws promoting the rights and welfare of women and children, including legislation funding prenatal care, strengthening child care licensing requirements, criminalizing marital rape, and enacting a civil domestic violence statute.
OREGON OREGON WOMEN LAWYERS
s the 1980s came to a close, the time was finally right for the founding of Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS) in 1989. As early as the 1920s, a group called “Women Lawyers Association of Oregon” met regularly for lunch. Ultimately the group disbanded, in part because of the issue sometimes still raised today: Is it wise for women lawyers to form a professional association focused on issues of special importance to women? By 1948, Queen’s Bench (named after Queen’s Bench Bar Association of the San Francisco Bay Area) was formed. Since 1990, Queen’s Bench has been the Portland-area chapter of OWLS. That same year, Salem’s Mary Leonard Law Society, which had been formed in 1985, became OWLS’ second chapter. In 1991, Lane County Women Lawyers, the Eugene-area group that existed before the formation of OWLS, became a local chapter. Since that time, numerous women lawyers have formed and re-formed local groups that have been welcomed as chapters of OWLS. The groundwork for the founding of a statewide women’s bar group in Oregon emerged from discussions of the Multnomah Bar Association’s Status of Women in the Profession Committee in 1987-88 and the 1988 annual meeting of the Oregon State Bar. Although articles of incorporation were filed on March 31, 1989, and heartily endorsed by acclamation the following day at what was optimistically called OWLS’ “First Annual Spring Conference,” it was the discussions and hard work of a group of women lawyers of diverse experiences and sometimes conflicting points of view who hammered out the principles and structure that would guide the association. From the beginning, it was understood that OWLS would be an inclusive organization, welcoming all while speaking out against sexist and racist behaviors, and advocating for issues such as parental leave, flexible work schedules, and more diversity on the bench and in bar leadership. A significant portion of OWLS’ founders were young women attorneys, just out of law school, looking for work or in their first years of practice. Many were encountering sexism in the profession for the first time after comparably comfortable law school experiences. They were eager to reform an Oregon legal landscape in which more than a third of new admittees were women, yet there had never been a female president of the Oregon State Bar, there had never been more than one female attorney at a time on the Board of Bar Governors, and many Oregon counties had never had a female judge. These young women lawyers, too numerous to name here, organized programs and services and provided much of the volunteer support needed for the early days of the association.
Two much-revered members of the founding board were the Hon. Betty Roberts, the first woman to serve as an appellate judge in Oregon, and the Hon. Mercedes Deiz, the first black woman admitted to the Oregon State Bar and the first woman of color elected to the circuit court. The opportunity to get to know them was for many a highlight of involvement with OWLS. Instrumental to the group’s founding and early success was Katherine Huff O’Neil. O’Neil entered Harvard Law in 1961, just nine years after the first women were admitted. At commencement in 1964, there were 15 women in a class of 513. O’Neil was not among them, having determined by the end of her first year that she wanted no part of an environment marked by demeaning and cutthroat attitudes evidenced by much of the faculty and many of the male students. Many years later, O’Neil did return to the study of law, this time at Portland’s Lewis & Clark Law School, a much more supportive environment. By the time of OWLS’ beginnings, O’Neil had been practicing appellate law in prominent Portland law firms for more than a decade. Her active involvement in the American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (NCWBA) meant that she could share inspiration and ideas gleaned from women lawyers and women’s bar associations from around the country. Another member of the ABA who was crucial to the founding of OWLS was Ellen Rosenblum, who had recently been appointed to the Multnomah County bench – the first time an Oregon governor had appointed two women as judges on the Multnomah County bench at the same time. Rosenblum drafted what became one of the first formal initiatives of OWLS: a resolution presented at the September 1989 Oregon State Bar Convention asking for the establishment of a bar committee on combining family and career. Rosenblum also advocated for representation by women in governance and shared her own insights and strategies. She had been the second woman attorney to serve on the Oregon State Bar Board of Governors, and in 1988 joined the ABA House of Delegates. Today she serves as Oregon’s first female attorney general. Agnes Petersen, who was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 1960, was a lawyer-mom with four children and a small-town practice. She brought to the board years of experience and a well-developed sense of fun. In 1990, Petersen became one of four women on the Oregon State Bar Board of Governors, a move engineered by OWLS to end the era of one woman at a time serving on the board. She continues to practice law in St. Helens, Oregon. Another Agnes, Agnes Sowle, drafted the organization’s bylaws and served as a steadying force for the association in its early years. Sowle gained national recognition when, in 2004, as county counsel for Multnomah County, she determined that refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples was in violation of the state constitution. Although the decision was later overturned, National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
The founders had ambitious goals to transform the practice of law, many of which were realized through innovative programs and services, recognition and publicity regarding members’ achievements, and quiet – and not so quiet – advocacy.
in the words of Diane Linn, then chair of the Multnomah County Council, “We were on the right side of history.” Vernellia Randall was a relatively new attorney during the early years of OWLS, but she already had a wealth of experience in public health, having served as a family nurse practitioner and administrator for a statewide health program in Alaska. Randall’s experiences as a single mother of two sons and the only black lawyer in a prominent Portland law firm helped to highlight the special challenges faced by parents and lawyers of color. Randall organized OWLS’ first conference, and ensured that child care was provided for it. Randall’s experience as a law firm associate was an uncomfortable one, and she soon left Oregon to teach at the University of Dayton School of Law, where she is now professor emerita. The founders had ambitious goals to transform the practice of law, many of which were realized through innovative programs and services, recognition and publicity regarding members’ achievements, and quiet – and not so quiet – advocacy. O’Neil, who was then serving as a board member of NCWBA, volunteered OWLS to organize a panel on behalf of the NCWBA at the February 1991 ABA midyear meeting in Seattle entitled “Practice in the ’90s,” with a focus on alternative work schedules for lawyers. The idea of a lawyer working less than full time was then considered by many to be somewhat radical and unworkable. In the words of panel member Vicki Hopman Yates, writing about flexible work schedules in the OWLS Spring 1990 newsletter: “These are trying, yet exciting, times for women lawyers. Today’s part-time lawyers are pioneers. How we fare will impact lawyers who enter the profession in years to come. If we are successful, lawyers 10 years from now will expect to be able to work part time when their children are small. Ideally, law firm, corporate, and government recruiters will offer parttime employment as part of a job package.” A Working Parents Forum, inspired in part by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia, was established
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and continued for several years. One innovative program that was established in the early days of OWLS and that continues today is the Contract Lawyer Referral Service. The idea behind the service is to match lawyers, many of whom want a more flexible work schedule, with hiring attorneys who need additional help for a limited period of time or for a particular purpose. At the fall 1990 bar breakfast, the following goals for the 1990s were set: • a four-day work week; • more flexibility in the expectations firms have about their employees’ work arrangements; • greater recognition of employees’ nonprofessional goals; • greater promotion opportunities for women; • greater ethnic participation in the profession; • reforms in the criminal justice system; • greater attention to child-abuse prevention programs; • greater respect within the profession for public interest law; • more emphasis on “poor people’s law” in law schools; • more willingness to exploit women’s perceived advantages (such as compassion and the capacity for hard work); • a greater number of women judges; and • available and affordable child care within the profession. Although we can now look back ruefully at these goals, incremental change did happen. Through active collaboration with other local, state, and affinity bars, OWLS continues to respond to the changing needs and interests of its members and the wider community. Programs this year include themes such as Times Up Oregon: Reckoning with Sexual Harassment in Oregon’s Legal Community; Skills and Strategies for Emerging
The Roberts & Deiz Award Dinner on March 8, 2019. From left to right: Oregon Women Lawyers Executive Director Linda Tomassi, Gov. Kate Brown (a former Queen’s Bench officer), Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation President Sarah Freeman, and Oregon Women Lawyers President Amber Hollister.
Political Leaders; and Legal Research on a Shoestring Budget. Other topics addressed by special programs include Diversity on the Bench, Pay Equity, and Annual Reviews. In response to the policy of separating families at our southern border, in 2018 OWLS formed a committee called “OWLS Unites Families” to educate members about separation and detention policies, publicize pro bono opportunities, encourage donations dedicated to the care of detained children and parents, and advocate for the end of family separation and detention of children. An important service of OWLS and of any women’s bar association is facilitating opportunities for members to get to know one another better – to network for professional reasons and to deepen personal connections. Local chapters help in this regard with luncheon and evening programs, sometimes with a continuing legal education program and sometimes purely social. One innovative program, which received the NCWBA 2012 Outstanding Member Program Award, is the First Generation Professionals Discussion Group. This informal lunch-hour gathering, hosted by judges in the Multnomah County Courthouse, is a supportive and welcoming place where lawyers who are the first in their families to enter the legal profession, or who may be the first in their family to graduate from college, can discuss the unique challenges they face. As OWLS celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2019, it will continue its ambitious mission to transform the practice of law and ensure justice and equality by advancing women and minorities in the legal profession by setting what may seem to some to be unattainable goals but which may just make a world of difference.
HISTORY OF OREGON WOMEN LAWYERS FOUNDATION By Trudy Allen, Historian, March 27, 2019 The Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation (OWLS Foundation or “the Foundation”), a 501(c)(3) foundation, was the brainchild of Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS). The OWLS Foundation’s mission is “To educate and support women and minorities in accessing and participating in the justice system.” The Foundation was incorporated about seven years after OWLS was formed (which was in 1989) and began making grants in 1998 to support this mission. As of the spring of 2019, the OWLS Foundation had made 167 grants, totaling more than $238,500. The OWLS Foundation provides several grants for law students and OWLS members: The Vernellia R. Randall Bar Exam Grant In 2003, the Foundation was inspired to create this grant by Vernellia Randall, one of the founding board members of OWLS and since 1990 a professor at the University of Dayton Law School. Randall was named one
of the “Top 10 Most Influential African-Americans” on the 2001 Black Equal Opportunity Employment Journal list. The grant was originally designed for single parents taking the Oregon bar exam but was expanded to include any parents taking the exam, and each award, in the amount of $5,000, is designed to assist with their costs during their exam preparation. Usually, two such grants are awarded each year, one for the February exam and one for the July exam. The Armonica Law Student Grant In 2007, the Foundation instituted this program, which provides a $1,000 textbook grant each year to one or two third-year students at each of the three law schools in Oregon and matches each recipient with a female judge or lawyer who serves as the student’s mentor for a year. Those who identify as women and/or as members of other historically disadvantaged groups are especially encouraged to apply. The grant program was founded in memory of Armonica Gilford, the first African-American female attorney in the Oregon Department of Justice, who had served on the boards of both OWLS and the OWLS Foundation. The Justice Betty Roberts Leadership Conference Grant In 2013, the Foundation created this grant to help people who identify as women and/or as members of other historically disadvantaged groups and are members of executive committees of bar organizations attend national leadership conferences if they would not otherwise have the funds to attend. This grant was created as a memorial to retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice Betty Roberts, a 2006 recipient of the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Women in the Profession’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award and a former president of the OWLS Foundation. Over the years, the Foundation has made grants to OWLS for such things as scholarships for students and low-income attorneys to attend continuing legal education programs and for co-sponsorships of community efforts such as the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association’s Inspiring Minority Attorneys Toward Growth and Excellence (IMAGE) retention program, designed to build skills, networking, and leadership for racial and ethnic minority attorneys as they begin their legal careers in Oregon. In addition to the above grants, the OWLS Foundation has supported several new programs in recent years. In 2017, the OWLS Foundation made a founding grant of $10,000 to be the first sponsor of the Mid-Valley CourtCare program (MVCC), which was organized by the OWLS Mary Leonard Chapter to provide child care for children of litigants at the Marion and Polk county courthouses. The Foundation has since made grants totaling $2,500 to MVCC. As a partner in the Multnomah Bar Association’s “Bar Fellows” fellowship program, which was founded in 2018, the Foundation made an initial grant of $10,000 National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
I50 Years of Women
Betty Trier Berry became Southwestern’s first graduate in 1915.
Holley ‘88 Berry 1915
for a law student, who will work at Legal Aid Services of Oregon in the summer of 2019. In 2019, in celebration of OWLS’ 30th anniversary, the Foundation launched the Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation Legacy Society to honor donors who have pledged a gift to the Foundation through their estate or financial plans.
RHODE ISLAND RHODE ISLAND WOMEN’S BAR ASSOCIATION & THE HISTORY OF WOMEN LAWYERS IN OUR STATE Nicole P. Dyszlewski, Esq., Cassandra L. Feeney, Esq. and Gina Renzulli Lemay, Esq.1
very year in recent memory, the Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association (RIWBA) and the student Women’s Law Society of Roger Williams University School of Law (RWU Law) join together at an annual dinner named Women in Robes. At this yearly event, members of the Rhode Island bench and bar join law students for dinner, fellowship, and a short speaking program. At the Women in Robes event in 2017, a speech by Rhode Island Superior Court Justice Nettie Vogel piqued much interest when she spoke of historical underrepresentation of women attorneys in Rhode Island. Out of this speech grew an intensive statewide collaborative effort to rediscover the history of women in law in our state. Beyond rediscovering the names of these women, we rediscovered, retold, and celebrated their lives, their careers, and their stories, even joining together to commemorate a plaque in honor of these “First Women” at the law school in April 2019. This article is a brief summary of the work done in Rhode Island by members of the RWU Law staff, faculty, and administration with the help of members of the state judiciary, the state bar association, members of the bench and bar, friends and family of these early women attorneys, and, of course, the RIWBA.
In order to celebrate the early women lawyers in our state, we had to first figure out who they were. One of the most surprising parts of our state’s story is that no one in Rhode Island has been tracking members of the bar by gender in any wholistic way. As one might expect, that makes researching the history of women attorneys in our state quite a challenge. Because there was no one entity that had tracked gender of lawyers in the state, researchers had to attempt to re-create a list. An incomplete list was found in an old filing cabinet and was used as a starting point of sorts. From there, the research team amassed the most complete collection to date by reviewing old news articles, historical law firm advertisements, old Supreme Court rolls, historical bar association yearbooks, historical bar application information, bar association archived data, and many conversations with community members. RWU Law Library researchers discovered that others, namely Cassandra L. Feeney and the RIWBA, had started similar projects. All involved shared their work to try to compile the most accurate list to date. The list was published in the Rhode Island Bar Journal with a statement that encouraged community members to send names of known or possible women who may have been overlooked or omitted. The legal community responded with several names and recollections, which were then further explored by the research team. The research was made especially challenging because of the practice of some women of taking their spouses’ names upon marriage. Led by the diligent efforts of researcher Nicole P. Dyszlewski and members of the RWU Law Library staff, we now have the clearest picture of the early women attorneys in our state that we have ever had. The first woman admitted to the Rhode Island bar was Ada L. Sawyer. Rhode Island’s foremost Ada L. Sawyer scholar is another female lawyer in our state, Denise Aiken. Aiken describes the hurdles Sawyer had to overcome in a 2010 article, stating: “[I]n 1920, when Ada took the Bar exam, many states including Rhode Island still allowed its applicants to read the law. ... Percy W. Gardner was Ada’s employer and tutor. However, when Ada went to take the exam, the Board of Bar Examiners
The story of female attorneys in Rhode Island is dynamic, inspiring, and important. They were not just female attorneys. They were attorneys and mothers, daughters, wives, state senators, elected officials, fearsome litigators, CEOs, judges, newsmakers, standard bearers, glass ceiling breakers, activists, partners, leaders, and icons. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
balked. After all, the rules stated that any ‘person’ could read the law. Was a woman a person? They required a letter from Supreme Court Associate Justice (and later Chief Judge) William H. Sweetland ... since Ada L. Sawyer was found to be a person, she could sit for the exam.”2 In another article, Aiken continues Sawyer’s story, “Of the 22 people who took the bar in September 1920, she was the only one of who passed who had not gone to either college or law school.”3 From Sawyer’s admission in 1920 to 1959, there were only 18 additional female lawyers to be admitted (five others were admitted in the 1920s, one in the 1930s, two in the 1940s, and nine in the 1950s). The number of women admitted rose modestly in the 1960s (two in 1960, two each in the years 1965, 1966, and 1967, one in 1968, and one in 1969). The numbers then rose dramatically in the 1970s, and by 1979, our state had seen a total of 176 female lawyers admitted to the bar.4 Next year, in 2020, will be the centennial celebration of Sawyer’s admission to the Rhode Island bar. These 176 “First Women” were trailblazers. They include the first three female Supreme Court justices in Rhode Island, one of whom – the Hon. Maureen McKenna Goldberg – remains on the bench today.5 These “First Women” include at least 23 judges and justices who have sat on the Housing Court, Probate Court, Family Court, District Court, Superior Court, and the Supreme Court. According to our research, the earliest of the female lawyers who were admitted and are still alive were admitted in the 1950s (1953 and 1957). Nationally, only two women from Rhode Island have served on the NCWBA board. The first was Mary E. Brooner from Providence in 1991-1995, and the second was Kate Ahern from Providence in 2017-2019. The story of female attorneys in Rhode Island is dynamic, inspiring, and important. They were not just female attorneys. They were attorneys and mothers, daughters, wives, state senators, elected officials, fearsome litigators, CEOs, judges, newsmakers, standard bearers, glass ceiling breakers, activists, partners, leaders, and icons. They should be remembered for their contributions to law, to our state, and to the lives of all female attorneys now and to come in Rhode Island.6 Endnotes 1. Nicole P. Dyszlewski, is the Head of Reference, Instruction, and Engagement at the Roger Williams University School of Law Library, Gina Renzulli Lemay is the current President of the RIWBA, and Cassandra L. Feeney is a member of the Board of Directors for the RIWBA. 2. Aiken, Denise, “Ada L. Sawyer: The Providence Portia,” RI Bar Journal, Vol. 59, No. 2, Sept./Oct. 2010, pages 31-32. Available at: https://www.ribar.com/UserFiles/File/Sept-Oct_2010%20Jrnl.pdf 3. Aiken, Denise, “Ada L. Sawyer: The Providence Portia,” Roger Williams University Law Review, Vol. 16, Iss. 2, Art. 1, 2011. Available at: http://docs.rwu.edu/rwu_LR/vol16/iss2/ 4. One hundred seventy-six is the number of female attorneys admitted in Rhode Island in the first 60 years beginning in 1920 researchers have been able to identify at this time. New names and leads are continuously being pursued and this number could increase with new light being shed on these amazing women. 5. The first three women Supreme Court Justices in Rhode Island include the Honorable Florence Murray, the Honorable Victoria Lederberg, and the Honorable Maureen McKenna Goldberg. Tucker, Eric, “Veteran Judge Takes Over Top Spot on R.I. High Court,” South Coast Today, Jan. 4, 2009. Available at: https://www.southcoasttoday.com/article/20090104/News/901040336 6. For more information on the history of female attorneys and their stories, Cassandra L. Feeney and Etie-Lee Schaub author a continuing series published in the Rhode Island Bar Journal. See, e.g., Cassandra L. Feeney, Esq., and Etie-Lee Schaub, Esq., “Rhode Island Women Lawyers: Past, Present, & Future – Susan Leach DeBlasio, Esq.,” RI Bar Journal, Vol. 67, No. 5, March/April 2019, pages 21-22. Available at: https://www.ribar.com/UserFiles/File/CMSUploadFiles/RI%20Bar_MarApr_2019.pdf; Cassandra L. Feeney, Esq., and Etie-Lee Schaub, “Rhode Island Women Lawyers: Past, Present, & Future – The Honorable Netti C. Vogel,” RI Bar Journal, Vol. 67, No. 3, Nov./Dec. 2018, page 13. Available at: https://www.ribar.com/UserFiles/RI%20Bar_Nov-Dec2018_Jrnl(2).pdf. Additional information about the Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association, including newsletters and publications with further information on the history of Rhode Island women attorneys, is available at: https://www.riwba.com/
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
SOUTH CAROLINA SOUTH CAROLINA WOMEN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
he South Carolina Women Lawyers Association (SCWLA) was founded through the sheer willpower and determination of countless women who devoted their time and energy to ensure that practicing law is now easier for women lawyers than it was in years past. After a series of organizational meetings that began in the summer of 1993, SCWLA was incorporated and registered with the South Carolina secretary of state in 1994. The mission of SCWLA is to enhance the status, influence, and effectiveness of women lawyers in the state of South Carolina. Through advocacy, action, and association, SCWLA works to ensure that women lawyers achieve their fair share of opportunities and benefits available to those in the legal profession. SCWLA’s goals are to encourage and promote the advancement of women in the profession of law; to provide opportunities for the development of collegiality and mentoring among women lawyers; to enhance the professional lives of women lawyers; to increase the number of women in the judiciary; and to provide a forum to consider and address issues unique to women in the legal profession. Today, SCWLA has more than 900 members and an active member board of directors (the number varies, but cannot exceed 25). The organization, at both the regional and statewide levels, offers opportunities for its members to hone their skills, network, gain recognition, and help other women through activities that include: • regular regional lunches and other networking events; • the provision of information on the state’s judicial selection process and recognition of members who are running for a judgeship; • the provision of information on vacancies on and the process for consideration for state boards and commissions; • awards for women lawyers to recognize their work, leadership, and contributions; • opportunities for members to provide community service and pro bono legal assistance; and • more than ten 1-3 hour continuing legal education programs a year, in addition to SCWLA’s annual conference. Timeline: South Carolina Women in the Law and SCWLA • 1890: The first women enter the University of South Carolina School of Law, but eventually drop out, probably because women were not permitted to
practice law. Before women were admitted to the bar in South Carolina, some attended law school outside of the state and then returned to practice without appearing in court. • 1916: Claudia James Sullivan enters the University of South Carolina School of Law by convincing the faculty that legislation permitting women to practice law was pending. At this time, all students who graduated from law school, male or female, were automatically admitted to the bar without taking the bar examination. • 1918: On Feb. 14, Gov. Richard I. Manning signs the bill permitting women to practice law. This legislation was initiated by Sullivan and her supporters. May 3: James Perry, named after her father, becomes the first woman admitted to the South Carolina Bar. June 12: Sullivan is the first woman to graduate from the University of South Carolina School of Law. • 1923: The first women-only law firm in South Carolina is formed, and includes Julia David Charles and Anna McCants Beaty, both of Greenville. • 1925: The South Carolina General Assembly passes an act that moves toward emancipating married women, allowing them to sue and be sued. • 1937: Perry becomes the first woman partner in a South Carolina law firm. • 1941: Cassandra E. Maxwell becomes the first African-American woman to be admitted to the South Carolina Bar. • 1970: Ellen Hines Smith is the first woman judge appointed in Spartanburg County. • 1982: The South Carolina General Assembly first elects a woman, Judy Bridges, as a family court judge by one vote. • 1984: Jean Galloway Bissell is the first woman from South Carolina to serve as a federal judge. President Ronald Reagan appoints her to the U.S. Tax Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. • 1988: Jean Hoefer Toal is the first woman elected by the South Carolina General Assembly to the Supreme Court of South Carolina. Jan. 24: Carol Connor is the first woman elected by the South Carolina General Assembly to serve as a South Carolina Circuit Court judge. • 1992: Karen J. Williams is the first woman from South Carolina appointed as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. • 1993: Elaine H. Fowler becomes the first woman president of the South Carolina Bar. June 2: The South Carolina General Assembly elects Connor as the first woman to serve on the South Carolina Court of Appeals. Sept. 22: The first organizational meeting of the SCWLA is held in the auditorium of the University of South Carolina School of Law. • 1994: SCWLA is incorporated and registered with the South Carolina secretary of state.
• 1998: Margaret B. Seymour is the first AfricanAmerican woman appointed as a federal judge in South Carolina (judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina). • 1999: Judge Kaye G. Hearn is the first woman elected by the South Carolina General Assembly to serve as chief judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. • 2000: Jean Hoefer Toal is elected by the South Carolina General Assembly as the first woman chief justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina. • 2004: SCWLA forms the Ladder Group, chaired by Barbara Barton, to promote women lawyers for leadership positions. • 2009: On May 27, 2009, the South Carolina Court of Appeals convenes its first all-women panel including Hearn, Judge Paula H. Thomas, and Judge Aphrodite K. Konduros. • 2011: SCWLA creates the South Carolina Women Lawyers Foundation as a separate nonprofit corporation, with its own board of directors. • 2018: Sherri A. Lydon is the first woman appointed as the U.S. attorney in South Carolina. • 2019: April 2 is proclaimed “Women in the Law” Day by Gov. Henry D. McMaster to recognize the contribution of women lawyers in South Carolina to the field of law. The proclamation provides: WHEREAS, in 1916, the first woman was admitted to the University of South Carolina School of Law by convincing the faculty that pending legislation supported permitting women to practice law; and WHEREAS, on February 14, 1918, Governor Richard I. Manning signed that legislation, and women were granted the authority to practice law in the State of South Carolina; and WHEREAS, during the past century, women lawyers across the Palmetto State have made great strides in their field, serving as leaders in law firms, government agencies, corporations, and public service organizations, and judges at local, state, and federal levels; and WHEREAS, as leaders in public service, South Carolina women lawyers not only work to secure their own rights of equal opportunity but also are advocates in efforts to secure and protect the rights of others; and WHEREAS, in 2019, approximately 35 percent of lawyers registered by the South Carolina Bar are women. NOW, THEREFORE, I, Henry McMaster, Governor of the great State of South Carolina, do hereby proclaim April 2, 2019 as WOMEN IN THE LAW DAY throughout the state and encourage all South Carolinians to recognize the many contributions women have made in the field of law. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
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TEXAS TEXAS WOMEN LAWYERS
n a state as big as Texas, there are many people and many different voices. Texas Women Lawyers (TWL) serves as an umbrella group, uniting the many women’s bar associations and organizations across the state to share ideas and resources and to speak with a common voice on women’s issues in the law and in the legal profession. TWL is celebrating a quarter of a century since its founding and more than a century of contributions from those women who paved the way before us. A History of Women Lawyers in Texas The history of women lawyers in Texas is filled with women who have made their mark on the state and national scenes. Following is a brief chronology of the accomplishments of just a few of these Texas trailblazers. • 1902: Edith W. Locke was the first woman granted a law license in Texas, when she was admitted to practice before the courts of El Paso County. • 1910: Hortense Sparks Ward was the first woman to pass the state bar exam, and in 1915, the first Texas woman lawyer admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. • 1935: Sarah T. Hughes was the first woman appointed as a state district judge, and in 1961, the first woman appointed as a federal judge in Texas, later earning the distinction of being the only woman to have ever sworn in a U.S. president – Lyndon B. Johnson. • 1953: Charlye O. Farris was the first African-American woman admitted to the State Bar of Texas, and the next year, the first African-American woman to sit as a county judge pro tem in the state. • 1955: Edna Cisneros was the first Hispanic American female admitted to the State Bar of Texas and to serve as a district attorney in the state. • 1981: Sandra Day O’Connor, an El Paso native, was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. • 1982: Ruby Kless Sondock was the first woman appointed as a regular justice to the Supreme Court of Texas. • 1992: Rose Spector was the first woman elected as a justice to the Supreme Court of Texas. These Texas women lawyers and their “firsts” are chronicled in the book Rough Road to Justice: The Journey of Women Lawyers in Texas, published in 2008 by historian Betty Trapp Chapman with the support of the State Bar of Texas and its Women in the Profession
Committee. One of the most storied instances from the book (and pictured on the cover) is the “All-Woman Supreme Court of Texas,” formed in 1925. The governor appointed all female justices to this special court to preside over Johnson v. Darr, following the recusal of a number of male justices who were members of a fraternal organization that was a party to the case. Led by Special Chief Justice Hortense Ward, the court issued a unanimous decision in favor of the fraternal organization and then disbanded. It was another 30 years before women could legally serve on juries in Texas, 57 years before Sondock would be appointed as the first regular female justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, and 66 years before another state high court’s justices would be majority female. A History of Texas Women Lawyers TWL is committed to the empowerment of women lawyers to achieve full rights, privileges, and responsibilities in the legal profession. Through our network, we advocate the interests of women in the justice system and society. Our stated purposes include: • To promote and protect the interests of women attorneys and to achieve their full participation in all the rights, privileges, and benefits of the legal profession; • To advance opportunities for women attorneys and to improve access to positions of merit and responsibility; • To promote and assist in the organization and growth of local women’s bar associations; • To serve as a vehicle for the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas among women’s bar associations; • To promote continuing legal education (CLE); and • To promote the advancement of women in society and in the administration of justice. Over the years, TWL has hosted its Annual Meeting and CLE focusing on issues facing women in the profession, networking, and business development. At the event, TWL presents its Pathfinder Award to an individual who has been a champion promoting the advancement of women in the law and who exemplifies professionalism, leadership, and commitment to the public interest. Sondock was the first recipient of the award, in recognition of her contributions as a pioneer on the bench, and we were honored by her presence at our 25th Anniversary Celebration this year. Louise Ballerstedt Raggio, the second recipient of the award, was a Dallas lawyer who was instrumental in the passage of the Marital Property Bill, which removed certain legal disabilities that prohibited married women from owning property in Texas. Other past recipients have been heavily involved in their communities, giving back through programs helping underserved groups such as immigrants, abuse victims, and teens graduating from foster care. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
UTAH WOMEN LAWYERS OF UTAH: PAST AND PRESENT By Brit Merrill, Historian for Women Lawyers of Utah 1
he Utah Territory was settled by Mormon pioneers who trekked, pushing hand carts and driving covered wagons carrying their children and all their worldly goods, across the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains in search of a new home. It was a treacherous journey on which many died – especially the men. Thus, upon arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, the ratio of women to men, among the survivors, was staggeringly high. Clearly, the skills, talents, intellect, and resilience of every pioneer – regardless of gender – was essential to the success of this grand adventure. To build a new civil society, women not only needed to make homes, provide for their families, procreate, and raise their children, they were expected to participate in virtually every facet of civic life. The Utah Territory was the second place on the continent (on the heels of neighboring Wyoming) to give women the right to vote in 1870; and the victory was achieved with remarkably little controversy, stunning suffragists on the East Coast facing persistent resistance.2 Similarly, Utah was the first state to grant women the right to serve on juries. Women were given the right to hold public office as part of the new Utah State Constitution in 1896; and Utah was the fourth state to admit women to the bar. The First 100 Women Lawyers: 1872 to 1976 Cora Georgiana Snow Carleton (1844-1915) and Phoebe Wilson Couzins (1839-1913) were the first two women admitted to the Utah Bar in 1872, and they were admitted on the very same day. Carleton was born in Canton, Ohio, in 1844, and traveled to Utah by wagon when she was 8 years old. The oldest of seven children in a large Mormon family, Carleton studied law from her father, Zerubbabel Snow, who was an attorney in Salt Lake City, the attorney general for Utah Territory, and, later, an associate justice of the Utah Supreme Court. Couzins, who was from St. Louis, Missouri, was admitted to the bar in Missouri in 1871 and later to the bars of Arkansas and Kansas. Couzins never lived in Utah. Carleton, on the other hand, remained in Utah for the majority of her life. While she did not practice law, Carleton remained active in legal, political, and intellectual pursuits. Among her many accomplishments, Carleton was elected notary public by the Utah Legislature in 1874, she was a founding member of both the Ladies’ Literary Club in Salt Lake City and the Intermountain Library, and was nominated by the governor to serve as the territorial librarian.
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Reva Beck Bosone (1895-1983) received her law degree from the University of Utah College of Law (U Law) in 1930 and was the 14th woman admitted to practice law in Utah. Upon graduation, she worked with her lawyer brother for a time before moving to Helper, Utah, and starting her own law firm. Two years after graduation, she was elected to the Utah State Legislature, and four years after that, she was appointed to serve as the first woman municipal judge, choosing to preside over the police and traffic court because it was the court that “touched the lives of the most people.” Bosone served as a judge until 1948, when she became the first woman elected to represent the state of Utah in the U.S. House of Representatives. Born in the tiny town of Erda, Utah, Irene Warr (19312013) graduated from U Law in 1957 and became the 38th woman admitted to practice law in Utah, “because she did not want to ride a hay wagon all her life.” She worked her way through college and law school as a legal secretary in a Salt Lake City law office, and upon receiving her JD, continued to work as an attorney in the same office. When her mentor retired, he turned his firm over to her, and she continued to work there for more than 50 years. Perhaps most importantly, however, law gave Warr the ability and resources to be a force in her community. In addition to being a full-time attorney and mother, she served on numerous nonprofit organization boards, served as president of the Utah Legal Aid Society, and was instrumental in establishing the Meals on Wheels program for senior citizens. She helped start the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation of Utah, which provides grants and scholarships to women who need to improve skills to reenter the labor market, serving as its first president and remaining involved with the foundation for more than 50 years; and she established a softball park in her hometown of Erda to honor her father’s memory. The “Invasion” Year: 1971 It took more than 100 years for Utah to admit its first 100 women lawyers, but a critical mass was finally achieved with the explosion of the women’s movement in the early 1970s.3 While only one woman was admitted to the Utah Bar in 1971, a dozen women made up the incoming class at U Law, and from 1971 on, the number of women law students continued to increase each year.4 It is no wonder the first talk of forming a women’s bar organization did not begin in Utah until the early 1970s. Christine Durham recalls moving to Utah in 1973 and attending the national meeting of women’s law student caucuses held at U Law, where she met a dozen or so female attorneys practicing in Utah, including Utah’s first female judge, Bosone. “I was so excited because I came from North Carolina and Duke, where there were so few women lawyers. Now I found out later, that was it! That was all the women lawyers in Utah.” From this meeting, a loose association formed and the group instigated biannual luncheons. “Each time we met,
our numbers grew, as more women were graduating from law school. And every time we met, we debated whether if we organized we could provide more support to women, especially women coming out of law school.” In 1977, Margaret Billings and Ann Wasserman wrote letters to the president of the Utah State Bar investigating the feasibility of forming a women’s section within the young lawyers section of the bar. Billings and Wasserman also began contacting women lawyer groups in other states to see how the groups were organized. Billings reflects, “I was once active in trying to put such a group together, but interest at that time among other women attorneys was quite low and it never got off the ground.” Founding Women Lawyers of Utah: 1981 The debate over whether or not to formally organize continued. One woman lawyer recalls, “There were some rocky times ... and some real hot debates about singling ourselves out as women.” Another recalls, “The older women, those who had been practicing for 20 years or so, were strongly opposed to such an organization. They explained, ‘We’ve spent all our lives fighting to become lawyers rather than women lawyers, and now you young people want to take us backwards.’” On the other hand, recent graduates like Jan Graham missed the support and camaraderie of the student Women’s Law Caucus. Graham reminisces, “I had a sense of being left alone to navigate this tricky male bastion by myself. Jones Waldo was progressive for the day, but still decidedly male dominated and wary of what women could, and should, contribute to the grand practice of law.” Pat Christensen, who graduated from law school in 1977, agreed: “We all recognized that it would be nice to have a group of women that we could get together and talk to about some of these issues and try to sort out how we were going to manage having careers and families and do it all and try not to lose our minds.” Finally, in the fall of 1980, Graham met with Durham and Judge Eleanor Lewis and decided the time was ripe. On Oct. 31, 1980, forty women lawyers met at the New Yorker restaurant in Salt Lake City and unanimously voted to form a women lawyers group in Utah. Several months later, in the spring of 1981, Women Lawyers of Utah (WLU) was born. Building a Woman’s Presence on the Bench: 1976 to Present One of the earliest WLU priorities was the appointment of women to the bench. Although Bosone had been Utah’s first woman judge, elected a municipal court judge in 1936, the first woman appointed to a general jurisdiction trial court bench was Durham in 1978, and she continued to be the only woman district court judge in Utah until WLU was formed. In 1981, however, Judith Billings was appointed to the state district court bench, and, in 1982, Durham was appointed to the Utah Supreme Court.
The Utah Territory was the second place on the continent (on the heels of neighboring Wyoming) to give women the right to vote in 1870; and the victory was achieved with remarkably little controversy, stunning suffragists on the East Coast facing persistent resistance.2
Judge Durham served on the NCWBA board from 1986 to 1988. In 1987, the Utah Court of Appeals was created, and Judge Billings and Pamela Greenwood were appointed to its seven-member court. From then on, year by year, WLU was successful in encouraging the appointment of more and more women to the federal and state court benches in Utah. Today, 13 of 69 trial court benches in Utah are filled by women, but all sit on the Wasatch Front, leaving no women judges in five of the eight judicial districts across the state. The Utah Task Force on Gender and Justice: 1988-1994 Following its creation, “WLU exploded with support and enthusiasm. Our numbers grew faster than we ever could have anticipated,” Graham remembers. The new bylaws stated four goals: (1) encourage professional growth and development, (2) assist in establishing professional contacts, (3) provide a support and communication network, and (4) generally promote the professional endeavors of women lawyers in Utah. Graham recounts, “There was always controversy about the mission. Are we a support group? A social group? A political group? A continuing legal education [CLE] vehicle? A career placement program? The answer to all the above was ‘Yes.’” In the 1980s, WLU was at the forefront of several political issues, including organizing a boycott of the Alta Club for its ban on women members. Between 1988 and 1994, WLU was active in implementing the recommendations of the Utah Task Force on Gender and Justice, which was established in November 1986 by the Utah Judicial Council, at the urging of Durham, to inquire into the nature, extent, and consequences of gender bias as it might exist within the Utah court system. Utah Supreme Court Justice Michael Zimmerman and Aileen Clyde were appointed to chair the task force, which explored courtroom bias against National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Between 1988 and 1994, WLU was active in implementing the recommendations of the Utah Task Force on Gender and Justice, which was established in November 1986 by the Utah Judicial Council, at the urging of Durham, to inquire into the nature, extent, and consequences of gender bias as it might exist within the Utah court system.
women, domestic violence laws and procedures, court access, child custody, visitation, and alimony. Findings included descriptions of the problems discovered in each area followed by specific recommendations for addressing the issues to eliminate bias. When the report was released, WLU organized its own task force, under the leadership of WLU President Pat Christensen and Executive Committee Member Paula Smith, to implement the Gender and Justice Task Force recommendations. “There were recommendations for judges and court administrators, for the bar, for the law schools, for the Legislature, for prosecutors, police, the medical community, and ecclesiastical leaders,” recalls Christensen. “It took an army of attorneys and judges to implement the recommendations, but over five or six years, things got a whole lot better because there were so many people who did so much.” Utah State Bar Leadership WLU has also worked hard to elect women to the Utah State Bar Commission. In 1990, Greenwood became the first woman Utah State Bar president, followed by four additional women who have now held that position: Charlotte Miller, Debra Moore, Lori Nelson, and Angelina Tsu, who was also the first minority bar president. Today, the Utah Bar Commission is composed of a majority of women. Initiative on the Advancement and Retention of Women in Law Firms: 2006-2010 In 2006, under the leadership of WLU presidents Evelyn Furse and Melanie Vartebedian, the organization undertook a four-year study to answer two basic questions: 1) Do Utah law firms face greater challenges retaining and promoting female attorneys than male attorneys? And, if so, 2) What concrete, unbiased actions can Utah law firms and Utah attorneys take to meet these challenges? This effort was known as the Initiative on the Advancement and Retention of Women Attorneys.5 To answer the first question, and, if answered in the affirmative, to isolate the causes, WLU worked with professionals to develop a survey submitted to all Utah attorneys admitted between 1985 and 2005. Following the survey, Utah held symposia in 2009 to explore the challenge further with the help of industry experts and to begin to develop best practices for the advancement and
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retention of women in the profession. In a report published in 2010, the initiative provided practical and specific steps that firms and attorneys can take to improve firm practice generally and the experience of women attorneys specifically. The initiative and its report generated significant community-wide support and conversation about the issues, followed by concerted efforts on the part of law firms, law departments, and other legal employers to improve the landscape of experience for women in the profession. In 2020, WLU will publish the results of a follow-up survey going on now to evaluate how far we have come in the 10 years since. Women Lawyers of Utah Today: 2019 Today, WLU remains a vibrant organization. Run by a 20-woman board, it continues to provide opportunities for Utah’s women lawyers to advance their careers and to give back to their communities in meaningful ways. Through its CLE, Work-Life Balance, and Career Advancement committees, WLU hosts free monthly CLEs, a judicial mentoring program that provides one-on-one mentoring to WLU members actively pursuing judicial vacancies, an annual “Banter with the Bench,” an annual Fireside Chat with Justice Durham, spring and fall networking socials, and an annual weekend retreat. WLU members also sponsor a Girl Scout troop at a local homeless shelter and prepare and serve meals once a month for homeless members of the community. Each year, WLU presents two awards to outstanding members of Utah’s legal community: the WLU Mentoring Award and the Christine M. Durham Woman Lawyer of the Year Award. WLU also presents scholarships to two exceptional law students each year: one from U Law (the Reva Beck Bosone Scholarship) and one from Brigham Young University Law (the Cora Snow Carleton Scholarship) in memory and honor of two of Utah’s exceptional pioneering women lawyers, who continue to inspire us today. Endnotes 1. The author greatly relied on and appreciates the previous works written on behalf of the Women Lawyers of Utah, including: Stacie Stewart & Kristen Olsen, Pioneers Who Paved the Way: A Look at Some of Utah’s First Women Lawyers, 287 BYU L. Sch., 1 (2013); Brit Merrill and Adrienne Nash, Women in the Law: Refreshing our Collective Memories, Utah Bar Journal, Nov./ Dec. (2017). 2. In 1887, Utah women’s right to vote was taken away by Congress in the struggle over polygamy, but was restored in 1896 when Utah’s new state constitution was ratified. 3. Between 1872, when the first two women were admitted to the bar, and 1975, only 91 women were admitted to the Utah Bar. In 1976, 28 women graduated together, to finally reach the 119 number. We refer to these 119 women as the “First 100.” Biographical information on each of the 119 women lawyers, photographs, and comments from many of the women about their
careers and is available at http://utahwomenlawyers.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/WomenTrailblazers-in-the-Law-Booklet.pdf. 4. U Law admitted more women than men to its incoming class for the first time in 1992. Utah’s second law school, the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University (BYU Law), which was founded in 1973, admitted more women than men for the first time in 2018. 5. The full report is available at http://utahwomenlawyers.org/wp-content/uploads/WLU_ Initiative-Report_Final.pdf.
WASHINGTON WASHINGTON WOMEN LAWYERS HISTORY
ashington Women Lawyers (WWL) was formed in 1971 in Seattle as a support for women lawyers and law students and to deal with the problems of women lawyers and the legal problems that have particular impact on women. WWL has continued these efforts to the present. Washington’s first woman lawyer was Mary Gysin Leonard, a colorful immigrant of Swiss descent who passed the bar exam of the Washington Territory in 1885. Though she was admitted to the Washington Territory bar shortly thereafter, she never practiced in Washington. Rather, she went to Oregon, where her application to the bar – the first received from a woman – was rejected based on her gender. She fought to change the law that denied her admission, and eventually became the first woman admitted to the bar in Oregon as well. The first women graduates of the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle – Othilia G. Carroll Beals and Bella Weretnikove Rosembaum – graduated in 1901, but it was in 1913 when the first woman was admitted to the Washington State Bar Association – Rebecca “Reba” Jane Hurn, who set up a legal practice in Spokane (she was also the first woman elected to the Washington State Senate). In 1914, Reah Mary Whitehead became one of the first female judges in the nation and the first woman elected to a judicial position in Washington, in the Seattle Justice Court. More than 50 years later, Nancy Ann Holman became the first female Washington Superior Court judge in 1970. Carolyn R. Dimmick was the first female justice on the Washington Supreme Court in 1981. In 2002, Barbara M. Durham became the first woman chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court. And in 2003, for the first time in Washington history, there was a female majority on the Washington Supreme Court. There is now a supermajority of women (six out of nine justices). Women in Washington were granted the right to vote in 1910 by amendment to the state constitution, 10 years before the U.S. Constitution was amended. Six decades later, Washington was one of the early states that passed an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was effective Dec. 7, 1972, following approval by Washington voters in the November 1972 general election (the federal amendment has not been fully ratified). One of WWL’s
major initial goals was passing the ERA to the Washington Constitution. The Washington constitutional amendment ensures that, “Equality of rights and responsibilities under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex.” Since its passage, the Washington ERA has been interpreted to allow woman-only groups, e.g. the Washington State Women’s Council in 1973, as forms of “affirmative action plans” that do not conflict with the ERA or the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that such plans are “aimed at enhancing the equality of the sexes.” WWL began with 10 to 12 women lawyers meeting as a support group, and the organization grew from there. On Aug. 10, 1971, 34 women lawyers and law students met in Seattle, officially founding WWL. The organization was loosely structured with a rotating chairperson to take responsibility for each monthly meeting. Its stated goals were “to promote the implementation of equal rights for women; to help qualified women to secure positions of leadership within the legal system; to interview and rate candidates for judicial office; and to serve as a watchdog to prevent discrimination against women within the legal system, the private sector, government, and wherever else discrimination against women may arise.” Some of the founding members were Mary Ellen Krug, Janice Niemi, Betty Bracelin, Chris Young, Ruth Nordenbrook, Lee Kraft, Betty Fletcher, Linda Dawson, Mary Ellen Hanley, Clair McClaran, Marilyn Sloan, Sheila Eisenberg, Marjory Rombauer, Nancy Bradburn, Gail Barry, Virginia Binns, Susan French, and Rosemarie Vanwinkle. WWL’s first chapter was founded in 1977 in Spokane, and additional chapters around the state soon followed. The formal organization blossomed out of these early chapters, when it formed a nonprofit corporation in 1978. WWL’s first president was Jane Noland, elected in 1978, and other early members included Chief Justice Mary E. Fairhurst, the Hon. Patricia C. Williams, the Hon. Kathleen O’Connor, and the Hon. Faith Ireland. WWL now has 12 county-based chapters plus a chapter/law caucus at each of the three law schools in Washington. Each chapter is membership-supported and supervised by its own board of directors. The principal purposes of WWL are to further the full integration of women in the legal profession and to promote equal rights and opportunities for women and to prevent discrimination against them. WWL has more than 550 members statewide. Both at the state and county levels, it provides these members with opportunities for networking, education, and social activities. WWL has a statewide judicial evaluation committee and some local committees, which conduct confidential and impartial evaluations of candidates for judicial office within the state and provide a qualification rating for each candidate based on consistently applied principles. This is a service WWL has provided since soon after its formation. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
WEST VIRGINIA WEST VIRGINIA WOMEN ATTORNEYS
WWL founders on the cover of the Washington State Bar News (now the NWLawyer).
WWL sponsors a series of public events called “Plugging the Leaky Pipeline,” launched in 2013, consisting of a series of roundtable discussions aimed at finding solutions to the problem of disproportionate attrition of women in the legal profession. Since 1995, WWL has held an annual banquet to celebrate its work over the year, honor and recognize those working to support the mission, and hold its annual corporate meeting. WWL also has a Legacy Project headed by Karrin Klotz, which has archived interviews of pioneer women judges and lawyers in Washington state and compiled portions into a film called Her Day in Court (based on a previous film of the same named produced by the Gender and Justice Commission and the Northwest Women’s Law Center). In 2013, WWL received the Outstanding Member Program Award for this work from the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations. Throughout its history, WWL has worked to support members in sharing friendship and professional interests; to encourage and assist women to achieve competence and excellence in legal education, in the practice of law, and in the community; to eliminate practices that are detrimental to women in general and in the legal profession in particular; to promote and help implement equal rights for women; and to encourage qualified women and qualified men sensitive to women’s concerns to seek and attain positions of responsibility and stature within the legal profession and the community. WWL will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021.
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
est Virginia Women Attorneys (WVWA) is the newest statewide women’s bar association in the United States. Teresa McCune, a regional delegate for WVWA who has practiced in southern West Virginia for 39 years, offered her perspective on why our women’s bar formed only recently: Supporting and uplifting other women are some of our most important responsibilities as women in the profession. But back when I was a young lawyer, there weren’t very many older women attorneys to serve as role models and mentors. WVWA began in September 2016 as a Facebook group, followed by lunches attended by 20 to 25 lawyers each month in Charleston, West Virginia’s state capital. Over the next few months, interest in the lunch groups remained strong, and the Facebook group page grew to more than 750 members from across the state. By spring 2017, WVWA founder Sandy Kinney realized it was time to create a formal organization but knew that she needed some assistance with that task. The group joined the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (NCWBA), and Kinney soon began working with NCWBA mentor Elizabeth Bryson, whose guidance was indispensable. The first formation meeting occurred in May 2017, followed by two additional meetings in July. A diverse group of women attorneys from private practice, public service, and public interest comprised the formation committee: • Kathy Beckett, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC • Kate Charonko, Bailey & Glasser LLP • Amy King Condaras, Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC • Stephanie Coleman, formerly of Legal Aid of West Virginia • Jamison Cooper, Cooper Law Offices, PLLC • Kelly Elswick-Hall, Masters Law Firm LC • Lia DiTrapano Fairless, DiTrapano Law Firm • Kate Gibson, Littler Mendelson P.C. • Beth Goodykoontz, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC • Sharon Iskra, Bailey & Glasser LLP • Beth Kavitz, Kavitz Law PLLC • Sandra Henson Kinney, Henson Kinney Law, PLLC • Parween Mascari, small business owner and lobbyist • Teresa McCune, chief public defender, Mingo County • Stephanie Ojeda, law clerk to the Hon. Thomas Kleeh, Northern District of West Virginia • Kate Hartung O’Neal, formerly of LegalShield, Caldwell & Riffee • Diana Panucci, chief public defender, Kanawha County
We are finding out what a lot of other more established women’s bar associations have known for a long time, which is that there is a need for women practicing law to come together, to share experiences, to educate and support each other and their colleagues, and to try to contribute to the practice in some positive way that will, hopefully, benefit the younger generations of women lawyers and the practice as a whole. • Jessie Robey, Jackson Kelly PLLC • Liz Schindzielorz, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP On Aug. 17, 2017, the organization’s Articles of Incorporation were filed, and WVWA was official, with a formation board including officers and regional delegates from across the state of West Virginia. Our bylaws, drafted in large part by Panucci and refined with help from Condaras, set forth our mission: • to promote the welfare, interests, and professional development of women attorneys; • to advance the honor and integrity of the legal profession by advocating principles of fairness and equality; and • to serve as a champion of justice for all. In June 2018, WVWA hosted its inaugural conference and continuing legal education (CLE) at West Virginia University College of Law. The full day of programming featured, among others, Frost Brown Todd LLC’s Kim Mauer, chair of the firm’s Women’s Initiative; Justice Beth Walker, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia; Susan Brewer, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC’s CEO; Hon. Joanna Tabit, judge, 13th Judicial Circuit, West Virginia; and Marilyn McClure, vice president and associate general counsel, Nationwide. In late spring 2018, WVWA nominated Cooper, regional delegate and formation board member, to the NCWBA board. Cooper, who has practiced law in northern West Virginia since 1999, is a founder and member at Cooper Law Offices, PLLC in Bridgeport, West Virginia. The NCWBA inducted Cooper to serve as a board member from August 2018 to August 2020. Cooper has found membership on the NCWBA board to be “a great opportunity for our new organization to establish relationships with other women’s bar associations and
to learn from them about programs and incentives to benefit our members.” In October 2018, in the midst of a heated Supreme Court of Appeals election, WVWA hosted a Supreme Court Candidate Forum geared toward non-lawyers and the general public. Eleven candidates participated in the forum. The organization received a grant from the West Virginia Bar Foundation for the event. The board and a core group of members continue to work on programming and events to serve current members and attract new ones. Cooper articulated what drives these women to remain committed: We are finding out what a lot of other more established women’s bar associations have known for a long time, which is that there is a need for women practicing law to come together, to share experiences, to educate and support each other and their colleagues, and to try to contribute to the practice in some positive way that will, hopefully, benefit the younger generations of women lawyers and the practice as a whole. We are proud of the diversity of membership in our fledging organization – from prosecutors and public defenders to plaintiffs’ lawyers, and from solo practitioners to lawyers at large firms. Our group includes leaders from across the West Virginia Bar, including Ellen Cappellanti, the first woman managing member of Jackson Kelly PLLC. Cappellanti, who has practiced business law since 1980, has seen her work evolve over the years from banking and bankruptcy to real estate development, commercial lending, and sales of assets. Since taking on the managing member role in 2015, she spends much of her time traveling among the firm’s 11 offices across the country. Diversity and inclusion are her key initiative. Cappellanti elaborated on how membership in WVWA meshes with her role at Jackson Kelly: Having a women’s bar organization aligns with this initiative and facilitates networking and mentoring. Mentoring goes both ways, and I continue to learn a lot from those much younger than me. WVWA is still feeling growing pains, particularly with converting Facebook group members to organization members. While the Facebook group had hundreds of members, our paid membership has remained steady at 50 to 55 members from our first membership year and into our second. Nonetheless, we are committed to pressing on. Our first board elections were in May 2019, and we are excited to have a new crop of women leaders to carry us forward. WVWA welcomes as prospective members all lawyers who are active members of the West Virginia State Bar in good standing (as voting members) as well as all inactive members of the West Virginia State Bar in good standing and current law students (as non-voting members), regardless of gender. We welcome you to visit our website, http://www.wvwomenattorneys.org, to learn more about our growing organization. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
WISCONSIN A HISTORY OF WOMEN LAWYERS IN WISCONSIN
e cannot but think the common law wise in excluding women from the practice of the law … The law of nature destines and qualifies the female sex for the bearing and nurture of the children of our race and for the custody of the homes of the world and their maintenance in love and honor. And all lifelong callings of women, inconsistent with these radical and sacred duties of their sex, as is the profession of the law, are departures from the order of nature; and when voluntary, treason against it … Rhoda Lavinia Goodell had to read this language in Chief Justice Edward Ryan’s decision denying her motion for admission to the Bar of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1876. She had started the study of law three years earlier in Janesville, Wisconsin, working in the firm of Jackson and Norcross. She had been admitted to the local circuit court bar in 1874 and engaged in a general litigation practice. She became interested in jail reform and related legislation. When one of her cases was appealed to the state Supreme Court, she petitioned for admission. Although this was routinely granted after admission to a circuit court bar, Ryan saw no reason to follow precedent in the case of a woman. Undeterred, Goodell took the issue to the Legislature. In 1877, a law was enacted prohibiting denial of admission on the basis of gender. Her second petition for admission was granted in 1879 over Ryan’s dissent. She won a criminal case before the Supreme Court in March 1880 and died three weeks later of ovarian cancer. Prior to her death, Goodell had entered into a partnership with Angela Josephine King, forming the firm of Goodell and King in Janesville. King had also been admitted to the bar in 1879. King pursued a law career after being denied the position of Janesville postmaster. She won the local election, but President Ulysses S. Grant refused to make the appointment without the endorsement of the district’s congressman, Benjamin Hopkins, who found himself unable to endorse a woman. King practiced law until her death in 1913. While Goodell and King were fighting for admission in 1879, Belle Case was graduating from the University of Wisconsin (UW). She married Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette in 1881 and clerked for him in the Dane County district attorney’s office. She entered UW Law School and became the first woman graduate in 1885. She never practiced law but worked with her husband through his terms in Congress and as Wisconsin governor. They founded La Follette’s Weekly Magazine,
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now The Progressive. She helped found the Women’s Peace Party, now the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. In 1935, Wisconsin reached the milestone of 100 women admitted to the bar, and it took only eight more years to reach the 150 mark. The first black woman to receive her law degree from UW was Vel Phillips, a 1950 graduate. She devoted her career to public service, becoming the first woman and first AfricanAmerican elected to the Milwaukee Common Council in 1956, the first woman judge in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court and first African-American judge in Wisconsin in 1971, and the first woman and AfricanAmerican elected Wisconsin secretary of state in 1978. Commenting on the attitudes she faced, she said, “every now and then they would forget my color, but they never forgot my gender.” Wisconsin first saw a woman on the state Supreme Court when Shirley Abrahamson was appointed in 1976. She was elected in 1979 and reelected in 1989, 1999, and 2009. A New Yorker by birth and accent, she came to Wisconsin for law school, graduating from UW in 1962. She served as the lone woman on the court for 17 years and became chief justice in 1996, a position she held until 2015. In 2004, she was given the inaugural Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence from the American Judicature Society. She also received the Margaret Brent Award from the American Bar Association. Abrahamson will retire from the court at the end of her current term. In Wisconsin, as was true throughout the country, women entered law school and the practice of law in larger and larger numbers in the 1970s. That decade saw the formation of the first women’s bar organization in Wisconsin, the Lawyer’s Association for Women of Greater Milwaukee. The organization struggled as there were few women in practice, and at that time, there was a concern that association with a women’s group might not be beneficial to one’s career. A small group soldiered on and in 1981 held the first Women Judges’ Night. There were few women judges to honor, but one of them, Abrahamson, agreed to come to Milwaukee and be the keynote speaker. That turning point revived the organization, now the Association of Women Lawyers with nearly 400 members. One of the highlights of the legal year is the annual Judges’ Night. Now the list of honored judges runs pages in the program, starting with six of the seven justices on the state Supreme Court. The 1980s saw a young gay woman, newly elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors, start law school. Graduating in 1989, Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay woman elected to the Wisconsin Assembly. Baldwin kept going, and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998. The next step was beating former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson for the U.S. Senate in 2012, and she was reelected in the tumultuous election of 2018.
Looking to the Future By Deborah Guyol
WHERE WE WERE AND WHERE WE ARE My law school class when I graduated, in 1982, was about one-third women. But there were only two female professors, and of them, only one really counted because the other taught legal writing, considered a lesser post. After graduation, I headed off to a “Biglaw” firm in New York, where there were only two female partners. When I left that firm five years later, four of the 88 partners were women – not even 5 percent. Things are different today. Women now comprise, on average, around 19 percent of Biglaw equity partners1 and something under 40 percent of law school faculty. But wait: Women represent well over a third of all U.S. lawyers, and half of law school students. And it’s been 37 years since I graduated. Clearly things are not quite different enough. Here’s a snapshot of how we’re doing now.
Biglaw According to the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) “2018 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms,”2 the percentage of women who are partners at “major” (undefined) law firms increased from 12 percent in 1993 to 23 percent in 2018 – not quite doubling over a period of 26 years. And the 23 percent number covers metropolitan area averages from a dismal low of 16 percent to a more respectable high of 29 percent. This might look acceptable unless you consider that women comprised just over 35 percent of all 109,459 lawyers at the firms surveyed. Further, the term “partner” in this survey apparently covers both equity and non-equity partners. Another survey, Working Mother magazine’s July 2018 piece “The 2018 Working Mother 60 Best Law Firms for Women,” put the average representation of women among equity partners
at a slim 21 percent. In some of these “best” firms, only 14-15 percent of equity partners were women.3 Well, but the percentage of equity partners isn’t the only measure of progress, is it? Sadly, in the Biglaw world, it is the one people look to. Working Mother must have considered other factors in choosing its “best.” These are discussed below, in the “What Is to Be Done” section.
The Judiciary The National Association of Women Judges has tracked women on the state court bench since 2008. That year, 25 percent of state court judges overall were women, the state-by-state figures ranging from 13 percent to 42 percent. Ten years later, the number is 33 percent, with a range from 15 percent to 49 percent. While women are well represented in the judiciary in several states, many others have unfortunate records.4 As of 2016, on the federal bench, 36 percent of judges on courts of appeal and 33 percent of judges on district courts were women. According to the National Women’s Law Center Fact Sheet, the source of these numbers, women are still “severely underrepresented” on the 3rd Circuit and 8th Circuit benches, and there are six U.S. District Courts around the country where there has never been a female judge.5 Ideally, the makeup of the bench would represent the population as a whole, not the population of lawyers. Again, we’re not there. In many parts of the country, we’re not even close.
Solo and Small Firms In the most recent statistics – from 2005! – the American Bar Association (ABA) found solos to constitute 48 percent National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
of private practitioners, and firms of two to five lawyers another 14 percent.6 Anecdotal evidence suggests that women make up a substantial segment of the solo-and-small-firm world, but the ABA’s numbers do not break this category of lawyer into subcategories. Assuming the proportion of solo and small firm lawyers has remained stable over the intervening years, and that the percentage of lawyers in this category who are women roughly equals the percentage of women in private practice as a whole, we can only conclude that someone should be paying more attention to how this large segment of our population is faring.
Public Sector Again, statistics are lacking. But in the courtroom, at least, women in the public sector are reportedly better represented than in the private. A study from the New York Bar showed women were 38 percent of lead counsel in public interest cases and almost 40 percent of lawyers representing public entities in civil litigation. The corresponding numbers for private practice cases are 19.4 percent and 18.5 percent.7
Academia One source claims that women make up less than 40 percent of law professors overall, while they constituted, in 2018, more than 50 percent of total law students.8 Women are currently 35 percent of law school deans, up from 30 percent in 2015.9
In-house Counsel As of the ABA’s April 2019 report, 30 percent of general counsel for Fortune 500 companies were women, as were 24 percent of general counsel for the Fortune 5011000. This represents a modest improvement over numbers from 2008, when 18 percent of general counsel for the Fortune 500 and 16 percent of general counsel for the Fortune 501-1000 were women.10
There’s still a lot of work to be done. Early efforts were largely made by the women themselves, but at this point, the profession as a whole is paying attention. Systemic Bias “You Can’t Change What You Can’t See: Interrupting Racial and Gender Bias in the Legal Profession,” a September 2018 report by the ABA, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), and Hastings College of Law, confirms bias in the legal profession.11 Announcing the report, an ABA news item states: “Despite efforts to reverse the trend, a new study confirms widespread gender and racial bias permeates hiring, promotion, assignments and compensation in the legal industry. Fifty-eight percent of women attorneys of color, and half of white women lawyers surveyed say they have been mistaken for administrative staff or janitors. ... In glaring contrast, only seven percent of white male lawyers report a similar occurrence.”12 The report addresses four main patterns of gender bias: Prove-It-Again (need to work harder); Tightrope (narrow range of behavior deemed appropriate); Maternal Wall (bias against mothers); and Tug of War (conflict between members of disadvantaged groups resulting from bias in the environment). And it prescribes corrective action; see below.
The Compensation Gap It’s real! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “At mid-career, when earnings peak, the top 10 percent of female lawyers earn more than $300,000 per year, while the top 10 percent of male lawyers earn more than $500,000.” Furthermore, the 76 percent income ratio between full-time year-round-working female and male lawyers is lower than the 80 percent female-to-male ratio across all occupations.13
WHAT IS TO BE DONE? In my innocent optimism, I assumed as a young lawyer that it would only take time – that as more and more women became lawyers and eventually reached critical mass in the profession, men and the institutions they controlled would come to recognize us as equals and treat us accordingly. I was mistaken. There’s still a lot of work to be done. Early efforts were largely made by the women themselves, but at this point, the profession as a whole is paying attention.
Judicial leaders discuss the future of women on the bench during a panel at the 2008 NCWBA Annual Summit in New York. The panelists, from left to right, are Justice Betty Roberts, Judge Nancy Gertner, and Justice Fernande R.V. Duffly.
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
The report addresses each of the patterns of gender bias with “bias interrupters [which are] tweaks to basic business systems that are data-driven and can produce measurable change. Bias interrupters change systems, not people.” The report itself contains specific directives for
Photos courtesy of NCWBA
The ABA – Interrupting Bias
Women’s bar associations play an important role in advancing women in the legal profession, offering such resources as continuing education and networking programs, mentorship, and assistance in navigating the judicial application process.
avoiding bias in hiring, work assignments, performance evaluations, compensation, and sponsorship (mentoring) recommendations. (See note 12.) We can only hope its recommendations will be implemented.
The Mansfield Rule, launched in 2017 by Diversity Lab, is named after Arabella Mansfield and “asks firms to consider two or more candidates who are women or attorneys of color when hiring for leadership and governance roles, promotions to equity partner, and hiring lateral attorneys. And, if the firms can demonstrate 30 percent of the pool for these positions are diverse, they’ll be ‘Mansfield certified.’”14 It is a truth (almost) universally acknowledged that diverse teams make better decisions; unconscious bias can make diversity harder to achieve. “The Mansfield Rule helps us bring greater intention to our considerations and actions so that we can achieve our aspirational goal,” said Kathryn Fritz, Fenwick & West managing partner.15 Mansfield Rule 2.0 was born in July 2018 and includes LGBTQ+ lawyers in addition to women and persons of color. Some 65 firms have signed on to the program.16 And in March 2019, Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition, was launched. It sets even more demanding goals for in-house legal teams. At the launch, eight legal departments signed on.17
women, and overall, 43 percent of state court judges are women, whereas the national average is 33 percent. Stateby-state percentages of women on the bench in 2018 can be found at www.nawj.org/statistics. The work of Oregon Women Lawyers in helping achieve this level of success is instructive. Its Road to the Bench program helps women navigate this path with an educational pamphlet, continuing education and networking programs, mentorships, and – perhaps most helpful – mock interviews. Oregon is not alone in these efforts: Minnesota Women Lawyers offers similar assistance to judicial hopefuls; four of the seven justices on its Supreme Court are women, and overall, 44 percent of its state court judges are women. See also Washington, where six of nine Supreme Court justices are women and women make up 39 percent of state court judges overall. California Women Lawyers offers “So You Want To Be a Judge,” which “demystifies the judicial application process”; Massachusetts’s “Judicial Pipeline” is like Washington’s. Women’s bars also offer programs aimed at career advancement, dealing with work-life balance and public policy. Minnesota Women Lawyers offers continuing education programs, networking and mentorship opportunities, assistance in seeking appointment to judicial positions, and more. Colorado Women’s Bar Association has a Public Policy Committee that works for the interests of women and children in the legislative arena and the courts.
Women’s Bar Associations
Law Firms Take Steps
Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have one or more women’s bar associations, each with a goal similar to that of Oregon Women Lawyers, which is “To transform the practice of law and ensure justice and equality by advancing women and minorities in the legal profession.” I lead with my state in part because of Oregon’s excellent record of women on the bench: Currently five of seven state Supreme Court justices are
Many large firms offer benefits or other features that warrant their inclusion on Working Mother’s “best” list. These show a way to the future: • Parental leave policies (up to 20 weeks of paid leave) • Other support for parents, including child care • Flexible and reduced work schedules • Formal mentoring programs, including leadership and rainmaking
The Mansfield Rule
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
• Programs addressing pay equity • A Women in the Courtroom program Several of the firms listed noted that 50 percent of new partners were women, that women had a significant presence on firm compensation and executive committees, and that one could be a partner even if working reduced hours.18 Anecdotally, some of the change is driven by evolving attitudes in the culture at large, in which parental issues are no longer exclusively female.
Women-owned Firms The gender gap in law firms has led many women to form their own firms. An ABA news item reported “healthy growth” in firms owned by women.19 And the women who have formed these firms report high satisfaction in the areas of control, work-life balance, compensation, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Women-owned firms are more family friendly for both women and men. “[D]espite the hand-wringing about women’s success in the biggest law firms, the same limitations are not inherent in the small-firm world.”20 Some of the stories:21 In 2012, Stephanie Scharf, chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, founded what became Chicago’s largest women-owned law firm – Scharf Banks Marmor. Jennifer Beckage, Buffalo tech and privacy lawyer and former partner at Biglaw firm Philips Lytle, in 2018 formed a tech and privacy boutique firm, Beckage PLLC, with offices in Buffalo and New York. Kelly Culhane formed Culhane Meadows, a virtual firm, in 2013. Forty percent of its partners and 60 percent of equity partners are women. Sara Lincoln left a large firm in North Carolina in 2009 and joined with Tricia Derr to form Lincoln Derr, a firm specializing in medical malpractice defense. As a litigation boutique with eight of its 10 lawyers women, it breaks stereotypes in more ways than one.22 Nicole Galli co-founded a trade association, Women Owned Law, which had 200 members as of late 2018. Its mission is to connect, support, and advance women entrepreneurs in the law; its “vision” is “Empowering women entrepreneurs to revolutionize the business of law.” See also NAMWOLF, the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms, https://namwolf.org/
Financial Matters Perhaps surprisingly, some efforts to close the gender gap involve financing. The Equity Project of Burford Capital, launched in October 2018, “earmarks $50 million to finance commercial litigation and arbitration led by women. That can mean that a woman litigator is first chair; a women-owned law firm is representing the client; a woman litigator earns origination credit; a woman partner is the client relationship manager; or a woman serves as plaintiffs’ lead counsel or chairs the plaintiffs’ steering committee.”23 The project reported in January 2019 that initial response to its initiative was encouraging.24
National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Litigation It’s always risky, but sometimes it works. Lucy Marsh, a full professor at University of Denver’s law school, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when she learned that female full professors were paid on average $11,000 less than similarly situated men. The university had acknowledged the difference in 2013 but failed to correct the situation, so the EEOC sued. In a settlement finalized in June 2018, the school agreed to pay $2.66 million and change its ways: It must increase the pay of the seven female professors who complained, publish salary and compensation information to all faculty, and hire a labor economist to study compensation equity annually for at least five years.25 Marsh expressed hope that the message would spread.
LOOKING AHEAD Change is decidedly afoot, and conditions for many women lawyers have improved. But the work is far from finished – and achieving equality is only part of the goal. In the end, we aspire to change the business model to one that is more humane – that does not honor partner profits and billable hours above all; to one that recognizes a life outside the law firm. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, when a male law clerk told her he would sometimes have to leave early for day-care pickup, “This is my dream of the way the world should be. When fathers take equal responsibility for the care of their children, that’s when women will truly be liberated.”26
Endnotes 1. “Making Strides Towards Gender Equality in the Legal Profession,” by Patricia Lee Renfro, ABA Business & Corp. Comm. Newsletter, Spring 2019. 2. Available via a link to a pdf file at https://www.nalp.org/reportondiversity 3. “Best Law Firms for Women 2018,” workingmother.com Aug-Sept 2018. 4. Compare https://www.nawj.org/statistics/2008-us-state-court-women-judges with https:// www.nawj.org/statistics/2018-us-state-court-women-judges 5. http://www.nwlc.org/resource/women-federal-judiciarystilllong-way-go-1 6. Email communication from Kimberly Kocian, Director, ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division. 7. https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2017/08/law-women-more-likely-to-lead-public-sector-cases.html?page=all 8. From a review of Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia, by Meera E. Deo. https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=25601 9. https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/2019/01/10/ more-minority-women-ascend-to-law-dean-jobs/ 10. The ABA’s statistics page provides figures on women in the profession from 2008 to 2019. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/diversity/women/resources/statistics/ 11. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/diversity/women/publications/perspectives/2018/ october-november/new-you-cant-change-what-you-cant-see-interrupting-racial--gender-biasthe-legal-profession/ 12. This report was prepared and written for the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association by Joan C. Williams, Marina Multhaup, Su Li, and Rachel Korn of the Center for Worklife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. See https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2018/09/ new-study-finds-gender-and-racial-bias-endemic-in-legal-professi1/ 13. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2018/05/women-lawyers.html 14. https://abovethelaw.com/2017/06/ get-ready-for-the-biglaw-rooney-rule-as-firms-try-to-actually-do-something-about-diversity/ 15. Id. 16. https://www.diversitylab.com/pilot-projects/mansfield-rule/ 17. https://abovethelaw.com/2019/04/bringing-diversity-to-the-in-house-world-get-ready-forthe-legal-department-edition-of-the-mansfield-rule/ 18. See note 3 above. 19. https://www.americanbar.org/news/legal-news/ new-female-owned-firms-counter-gender-disparity-in-law/ 20. https://www.lawpracticetoday.org/article/women-solo-success-small-firm/ 21. Several of these stories came from https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2018/10/09/ women-owned-law-firms-surge-amid-gender-disparity-in-the-profession-389-46189/ 22. https://lincolnderr.com/our-story/ 23. http://www.burfordcapital.com/blog/the-equity-project-what-it-is-and-how-it-works/ 24. http://www.burfordcapital.com/blog/update-the-equity-project/ 25. https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/6-1-18.cfm 26. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik (Dey St. 2015), at 123