Today in Legal History: Woman Lawyer’s Bill Passed in California

Through the efforts of Clara Shortridge Foltz and Laura deForce Gordon, the words “white male” were replaced with “person” in the state requirements to take the bar exam.  This had the effect of not only allowing women to take the bar, but minorities as well.  Ms. Foltz, the single parent of five children, went on that fall to become the first woman lawyer in California and won court battles to attend Hastings law school.  (At the time, it was not atypical to pass the bar prior to attending school).  Later in her career, Ms. Foltz drafted a bill that would create a public defender system, which was adopted by 30 states. The Woman Lawyer’s Bill was passed in California on March 28, 1878.

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Women in the Law Panel

CPD held a moderated panel discussion in Sullivan Hall. Guest speakers from corporate, law firm, and government backgrounds shared their personal career trajectories and respective leadership paths, as well as discussed topics such as networking, resources, and the importance of mentors.

Check out the following books about women in law:


Women-at-law : lessons learned along the pathways to success
Phyllis Horn Epstein, author. American Bar Association. Law Practice Division, sponsoring body. 2015
Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF299.W6E77 2015 )

Women attorneys and the changing workplace : high hopes, mixed outcomes
Phyllis Kitzerow, author. 2014
Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF299.W6K58 2014 )

Learning to lead : what really works for women in law
Gindi Eckel Vincent, author. Mary B. Cranston; American Bar Association. Commission on Women in the Profession, issuing body. 2013
Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF299.W6V55 2013)


Today in Legal History: Women Lawyers Allowed to Practice Before U.S. Supreme Court

Lockwood_Belva“On February 15, 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed legislation allowing women to be admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Belva Lockwood became the first woman admitted to practice under the new law on March 3, 1879.” From (more…)


4 Things Women Law Grads Should Know

Texas attorney Kathleen Wu congratulates the women in this year’s law school graduating class and offers some advice in a Texas Lawyer article. “Be grateful for bad luck” and “Get real about balance” are among the observations. Regarding the latter, she notes that the two most recent nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court are unmarried and childless. Whether you ultimately agree with her advice, Ms. Wu’s article offers a thoughtful (and brief) read.

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