New Book: Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers

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Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers: Lives in the Law by Jill Norgen is a new book that the Law Library has recently added to the collection. Norgen used the oral history project from the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession and the Senior Lawyers Division, titled Women Trailblazers in the Law Project (WTP), to write this book. The WTP interviewed one hundred senior female attorneys regarding their experiences and life histories.  For more information about the WTP, visit the ABA's website containing the list of women and their interviews.

Norgen uses these interviews to tell the story of women in the law, starting with the late 1880s and moving into the Twentieth century. These women faced many struggles throughout their careers, subjected to discrimination because of their gender. The book discusses their early childhood, influences that led them to pursue law as a career, and the difficulties they faced in law school. Many of the women faced similar difficulties throughout their careers, in starting out and as they continued to move up in the profession.

Many of the women struggled to find jobs, often turned away, told they were "taking the place of a man" or "they would leave to have children." These were similar reasons these women were given as they were passed up for promotions. Norgen tells the story of the first generation of women lawyers gaining admission into law school and making names for themselves in government positions. The next generation of women broke into large private firms, the judiciary, and academia. Some of them literally wrote the book on women and gender discrimination, creating courses and text books as more women entered law school and even became law professors. These trailblazing women participated in advocacy groups, fighting for women's rights. Yes, there is even a section in the book devoted to “The Pant Suit.” 

Many of the Trailblazing Women are famous lawyers and judges, including Justice Ginsburg, Justice O’Connor, and Janet Reno. Powerful women lawyers have been in the news a lot recently. Earlier this year, the documentary RBG was released and became a surprise hit (currently streaming on Hulu).  On the Basis of Sex, a movie based on Justice Ginsburg's fight against gender discrimination while she was an attorney, opens on December 25, 2018.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of Justice Ginsburg joining the US Supreme Court.

Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers: Lives in the Law is available for checkout in the library. For additional books regarding women lawyers, take a look at Women Lawyers – United States as a subject heading in the library catalog.

Some of these similar works include:

Posted by Allison Symulevich on Wed. October 10, 2018 4:20 PM
Categories: Uncategorized


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