History

History of Women Lawyers

A great place to begin research on women in the law: Women’s Legal History

For a quick overview of women’s legal history in the United States, click here.

The project entitled Women Trailblazers in the Law initiated by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in 2004, has transcripts of oral histories of many individual women lawyers.

History of Associations of Women Lawyers

Since 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 formal or informal 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. Specific women’s bar associations have come and gone. Some of the oldest in continuous existence are the National Association of Women Lawyers (1899), Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (1914), the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (1917),  Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (1919), Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (1919) and Queen’s Bench of San Francisco (1921). During the “Second Feminist Wave” of the 1970s, an influx of women into the profession brought renewed energy to women’s bar associations, and many new groups were created. It was in response to this interest that the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations came into being at an American Bar Association meeting in 1981.

For more on the history of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, click here.

Here are links to descriptions of the history of a few other women’s bar associations:

California

Lawyers Club of San Diego

Women Lawyers of Alameda County

District of Columbia

Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia

Florida

Florida Association for Women Lawyers

Georgia

Georgia Association for Women Lawyers

Hawaii

Hawaii Women Lawyers

Illinois

Women’s Bar Association of Illinois

Iowa

Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys

Louisiana

Association for Women Attorneys

Maryland

Women’s Bar Association of Maryland

Michigan

Women Lawyers Association of Michigan

Minnesota

Minnesota Women Lawyers

Mississippi

Mississippi Women Lawyers Association

New York

Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York

North Carolina

North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys The North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys: Creating Camaraderie, Nurturing Leaders and Protecting the Rights of Women

Oregon

Oregon Women Lawyers

Tennessee

Lawyers Association for Women

Texas

Travis County Women Lawyers Association

Utah

Women Lawyers of Utah

Wisconsin

Association for Women Lawyers