March is Women’s History Month, designed to pay tribute to generations of women whose contributions are invaluable to society and the planet. At Deshon Laraye Pullen PLC, we would like to highlight some of the brave and brilliant women in the legal realm.
These are colorful and remarkable characters! We encourage you to read about each woman, even if you have never heard of her before.
Arabella Mansfield: At the age of 23, Arabella became the first, officially-recognized female attorney in the United States (1869). She was granted admission to practice law in Iowa.
Esther McQuigg Morris: Esther is largely recognized as the first female judge in the U.S., via her position as Justice of the Peace in South Pass City, Wyoming (1870). She gained a larger-than-life reputation after a local saloonkeeper came into court in an uproar over her new position. Esther fined him and then jailed him after he refused to pay the citation. The jailed saloonkeeper was her husband!
Charlotte E. Ray: The first African American female lawyer in the U.S. (1872). Charlotte was one of the top students in her graduating class at Howard’s law school, but had to abandon practicing law because few were open-minded enough to hire her.
Alta M. Hulett: Alta Drafted an Illinois bill providing that no person can be excluded from any occupation or profession because of gender (1872). After its passage, Hulett became Illinois’ first woman attorney at the age of 19. She did so by earning the highest score on the bar exam.
Belva Ann Lockwood: The first woman admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court (1879), Lockwood won a $5 million settlement for the Cherokee Indian Nation after it was robbed of its land. Years later, she ran for President under the Equal Rights Party, winning more than 4,000 votes in six states.
Next week, look for the second part of Female Attorneys Who Paved The Way.