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The captivating story of how a diverse group of women, including Janet Reno and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, broke the glass ceiling and changed the modern legal profession In Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers, award-winning legal historian Jill Norgren curates the oral histories of one hundred extraordinary American women lawyers who changed the profession of law. Many of t The captivating story of how a diverse group of women, including Janet Reno and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, broke the glass ceiling and changed the modern legal profession In Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers, award-winning legal historian Jill Norgren curates the oral histories of one hundred extraordinary American women lawyers who changed the profession of law. Many of these stories are being told for the first time. As adults these women were on the front lines fighting for access to law schools and good legal careers. They challenged established rules and broke the law's glass ceiling.Norgren uses these interviews to describe the profound changes that began in the late 1960s, interweaving social and legal history with the women's individual experiences. In 1950, when many of the subjects of this book were children, the terms of engagement were clear: only a few women would be admitted each year to American law schools and after graduation their professional opportunities would never equal those open to similarly qualified men. Harvard Law School did not even begin to admit women until 1950. At many law schools, well into the 1970s, men told female students that they were taking a place that might be better used by a male student who would have a career, not babies. In 2005 the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession initiated a national oral history project named the Women Trailblazers in the Law initiative: One hundred outstanding senior women lawyers were asked to give their personal and professional histories in interviews conducted by younger colleagues. The interviews, made available to the author, permit these women to be written into history in their words, words that evoke pain as well as celebration, humor, and somber reflection. These are women attorneys who, in courtrooms, classrooms, government agencies, and NGOs have rattled the world with insistent and successful demands to reshape their profession and their society. They are women who brought nothing short of a revolution to the profession of law.


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The captivating story of how a diverse group of women, including Janet Reno and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, broke the glass ceiling and changed the modern legal profession In Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers, award-winning legal historian Jill Norgren curates the oral histories of one hundred extraordinary American women lawyers who changed the profession of law. Many of t The captivating story of how a diverse group of women, including Janet Reno and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, broke the glass ceiling and changed the modern legal profession In Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers, award-winning legal historian Jill Norgren curates the oral histories of one hundred extraordinary American women lawyers who changed the profession of law. Many of these stories are being told for the first time. As adults these women were on the front lines fighting for access to law schools and good legal careers. They challenged established rules and broke the law's glass ceiling.Norgren uses these interviews to describe the profound changes that began in the late 1960s, interweaving social and legal history with the women's individual experiences. In 1950, when many of the subjects of this book were children, the terms of engagement were clear: only a few women would be admitted each year to American law schools and after graduation their professional opportunities would never equal those open to similarly qualified men. Harvard Law School did not even begin to admit women until 1950. At many law schools, well into the 1970s, men told female students that they were taking a place that might be better used by a male student who would have a career, not babies. In 2005 the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession initiated a national oral history project named the Women Trailblazers in the Law initiative: One hundred outstanding senior women lawyers were asked to give their personal and professional histories in interviews conducted by younger colleagues. The interviews, made available to the author, permit these women to be written into history in their words, words that evoke pain as well as celebration, humor, and somber reflection. These are women attorneys who, in courtrooms, classrooms, government agencies, and NGOs have rattled the world with insistent and successful demands to reshape their profession and their society. They are women who brought nothing short of a revolution to the profession of law.

45 review for Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers: Lives in the Law

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Enlightening and fascinating, this book should be considered essential reading for women attorneys, and any women considering the field of law. SUMMARY The Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers tells the thought-provoking stories of several generations of women lawyers who, with their insistence on equal treatment, helped to create a new dynamic in the field of law. After World War II, changes in U.S. public policy along with the second women’s movement altered longstanding resistance to femal Enlightening and fascinating, this book should be considered essential reading for women attorneys, and any women considering the field of law. SUMMARY The Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers tells the thought-provoking stories of several generations of women lawyers who, with their insistence on equal treatment, helped to create a new dynamic in the field of law. After World War II, changes in U.S. public policy along with the second women’s movement altered longstanding resistance to female participation in the law profession. This book captures the experiences of 100 women lawyers who challenged the rules and fought for access to law schools and meaningful legal careers. It draws on a unique set of oral histories gathered by the American Bar Association’s, Women Trailblazer Project. One hundred outstanding senior women lawyers were asked to recount their personal and professional histories in interviews. The women chosen were selected on the basis of their accomplishments in the post World War II period. The woman who were interviewed have had careers at private law firm’s; government agencies; state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States; Congress; law schools; and public interest legal organizations. The oldest interviewee was born in 1916, the youngest in 1951, with the majority born in the 1930s and 1940s. The Stories from Trailblazing Women aptly describes the societal values in the decade after WWII, and the astounding lengths men would go, to keep women out of the legal profession. The stories are sometimes painful, sometimes funny, but very inspirational. They highlight what women did, and what they had to do, in order to become lawyers. And when they entered the profession, the Trailblazers succeeded with brilliance. Neither law firm‘s nor most government institutions hired female attorneys. The thinking at law schools, therefore, was simple: why train women as lawyers if nobody will hire them? Why use a precious place for a woman that could be given to a man?” “Harvard Law School did not even open its law school to women until 1950. By 1961 the number of women admitted at Harvard had worked its way up to twenty in a class that also included 540 men.“ REVIEW Norgren had a daunting job in front of her when she was handed the oral interviews from these 100 women, with each interviewee transcript numbering hundreds of pages long. She has done a superb job at capsulizing an immense amount of information and organizing it in a coherent manner. She begins her recounting of these stories by starting with the childhood influences that supported or discouraged the aspirations of these women and the motivations that drew them to the law profession. Stories about the difficulties in gaining admission to and treatment at law schools were followed by the women’s experiences as they began or attempted to begin their job search. Norgren then explores the work experiences of these trailblazing women and she highlights specific stories of women in private practice, public interest, government and the judiciary. The stories were amazing and moving. The resilience and fortitude exhibited by these women is inspiring. Norgren is a consummate storyteller and the book was immensely satisfying. She skillfully showcased a multitude of astounding women and the battles that had to be fought in an effort to secure their dreams. This book should be essential reading for all women attorneys, and women considering the field of law, so they understand the challenges that have preceded them. Jill Norgren is a Professor Emerita of government and legal studies at John Jay College and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, where she taught government, law and society, and women’s studies for thirty years. This is the third book she has written about women lawyers in the U.S. Thanks to NetGalley and New York University Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Publication Date May 22, 2018. “I sent you a letter asking you to join the chief executives organization, but we didn’t realize you were a woman. And we don’t have any women—and we have to withdraw that offer…… But we understand that your assistant is a man and he can join.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this collection. The author is a legal historian who has curated an oral history collection from over one hundred outstanding American women lawyers. It follows a 2005 national history project commissioned by the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession, where these senior women were interviewed by junior colleagues on their personal and professional histories. I found this concept fascinating, particularly as it covered women I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this collection. The author is a legal historian who has curated an oral history collection from over one hundred outstanding American women lawyers. It follows a 2005 national history project commissioned by the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession, where these senior women were interviewed by junior colleagues on their personal and professional histories. I found this concept fascinating, particularly as it covered women lawyers from various racial, cultural, educational and social backgrounds who went on to have an equally diverse range of careers - all sharing the common thread of being trailblazers in their own right. The content of the book covers what inspired the women to pursue a career in law, their education and experiences at law school (including a particularly cringe-worthy dinner with the Dean of an Ivy League law school that many of the women noted!), their early career, and issues gaining employment and progressing through their career. Outside of the more well known trailblazing women currently on the Supreme Court of the United States, there are many women in this collection who are perhaps not as widely known and I think this collection does a great job of showcasing these stories. Overall, this is a comprehensive history and a unique account of women in the American legal profession and I think is one that younger law graduates and students would be inspired by reading. I'm keen to read other studies or histories in other jurisdictions (If you have any recommendations please comment below!)  Thanks to NetGalley and NYU Press for am ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

    I recently watched the movie RBG and became fascinated with Ruth Bader Ginsberg and women that faced those seemingly insurmountable obstacles yet managed to clear the way for us. For this reason, Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers appealed to me. It did not disappoint. It is a type of case study of more than 100 women born between 1916-1951 that became lawyers. The book catalogues: • Childhood experiences through college (including the attitudes of their parents, siblings, and friends, reli I recently watched the movie RBG and became fascinated with Ruth Bader Ginsberg and women that faced those seemingly insurmountable obstacles yet managed to clear the way for us. For this reason, Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers appealed to me. It did not disappoint. It is a type of case study of more than 100 women born between 1916-1951 that became lawyers. The book catalogues: • Childhood experiences through college (including the attitudes of their parents, siblings, and friends, religious and cultural experiences). • What motivated them to move forward to a profession in law when odds were not in their favor. • The challenges, attitudes and discrimination they experienced once they actually made it to law school. • Career paths they took and the challenges they faced not only in discrimination at the workplace but also as working mothers. • Outcomes of their toil. What I absolutely loved about this book is that it is incredibly entertaining while it delved into the psychology of these women and accurately portrays the societal values of the post WWII environment in which they lived. As you read you are pulled into these women’s lives, you feel some of the struggles they faced and see how they impacted the world in which we live in a way that no other group of people could. The end result is inspiring and empowering. This book is ideal for anyone considering a career in law, enjoys true girl power books, or loves history, politics, or psychology. I would highly recommend it. Thanks so much to Netgalley, the publishers, and the author for providing me with a copy for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    April

    Meh. This is very much a 2nd wave white feminist book. There’s a very small attempt at introducing some intersectionality but not much (and Kimberlé Crenshaw herself doesn’t get even an honorable mention). Interesting to read about these women’s lives. But on the whole, not a great read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ruksana

    Amazing trail blazing women who have shaped history and shook the world. A great read just to witness greatness.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gorman

    This books looks at 100 women who have changed the legal system, many who have not been recognised until now. This is the perfect antidote the anti-women culture we are seeing at the moment and should give encouragement to women lawyers at the moment as it shows how one woman can truly make a change to the world around her.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer M

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lea

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  12. 4 out of 5

    Doris Moore

  13. 5 out of 5

    Darra Lanigan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy Sarah

  15. 4 out of 5

    Najla

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chloë McNab

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Livingston

  18. 4 out of 5

    Abbie Joiner

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kara

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kendra Mills (dreadbetweenthelines)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Esil

  23. 5 out of 5

    Linda Prihoda

  24. 5 out of 5

    ellen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

  26. 4 out of 5

    Najira Ahmed

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amber

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bambi Unbridled

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angela Karnes

  30. 5 out of 5

    Trica Johnson

  31. 4 out of 5

    Fleet Sparrow

  32. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Purpura

  33. 4 out of 5

    Shomeret

  34. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  35. 4 out of 5

    Margo

  36. 5 out of 5

    Britt

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  38. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  39. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Wallace

  40. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

  41. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

  42. 5 out of 5

    Karyn Palmer

  43. 4 out of 5

    Kim Ellis

  44. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Rogers

  45. 4 out of 5

    Haley

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