There is debate as to who was the first woman lawyer in the United States. Some count Margaret Brent who served as counsel to Lord Baltimore, Governor of Massachusetts. Arabella Mansfield, in 1869, became the first woman to officially obtain a state license (Iowa) which permitted her to practice law. According to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession, by the late 1990s, there were nearly 17,500 women in the legal profession and there have been four women who have served as justices on the highest court in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court.
Please join Professor Barbara Bernier on Monday, March 23 between 11-Noon in the East Reading Room of the Library as she discusses the influences women have had on the legal profession and what unfinished business is left.
If you can’t attend the coffee talk, then take a moment when you’re in the library next to browse our related book display.
Above is the book display that is currently in the library hallway near the East Reading Room. The poster above the books is a photograph of women suffragists picketing in front of the White House. Next to it is a photo of the current U.S. Supreme Court justices including three women: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. The top shelf of books are from the Charlotte Law collection on basic women’s rights through history; the middle shelf highlights the biographies of women judges and justices who have paved the way for current women in the law; and the bottom shelf has books and reports helpful to women practicing law today. A Charlotte Observer article about Sonia Sotomayor’s recent visit to Davidson College has been added. The books in this display are available for check out.
~Susan Catterall & Betty Thomas~