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Law Library News for March 11, 2002

Ann Hemmens, editor

Law Library News Archive


Extended Library Hours

From March 10th - 21st the Law Library will be open every night until 11pm! So if you need a quiet place to study during this exam period - stop by the Library.

Lost & Found

If you have lost something in Condon Hall this Quarter (books, coats, glasses etc.), please check the Lost & Found at the Library Circulation Desk. Several times a year the unclaimed items are taken to the Husky Union Building (HUB) Lost & Found located in the center of campus.

Where Is CD Law?

CD Law is a web-based commercial service that contains Washington State legal materials, including bills, statutes, regulations, cases, court rules, attorney general opinions, administrative agency decisions, city and county codes, and more. Until earlier this year this service could be accessed on computers located on the 2d floor outside of the Reference Office or via the Law Library's Internet Legal Resources website. But it is no longer available. LexisNexis recently purchased the product and the Library is in the process of trying to acquire online access to some of these materials in another format from Lexis. Stay tuned - we'll announce any developments in the Crier.

There are other online sources of legal information available to you as a law student (in addition to Lexis and Westlaw, of course). For example, two low-cost alternatives, Loislaw and VersusLaw provide national coverage. Loislaw is unique in that unlike VersusLaw, LexisNexis, or Westlaw, it may be used both for your law school classes and in your part-time or summer job and Loislaw includes many of the Washington State Bar Association deskbooks and CLE materials! Information on how to register for these services is found on our guide to Low-Cost Legal Research Services on the Web. Links to free Internet sources of Washington and federal primary legal materials are found on the Internet Legal Resources webpage.

Finding the History of Women Lawyers in America

by Sarah Devotion Garner, Reference Intern

Did you know that in 1869 the first woman lawyer was admitted to a state bar[1] and in the following year, Ada H. Kepley became the first woman in the United States to receive a law degree[2]? However, in 1873 the United States Supreme Court, in Bradwell v. Illinois, 83 U.S. 130 (1873), held that states are not required to admit women to the bar.

Did you also know that the American Bar Association did not give women membership status until 1920 and Harvard Law School did not admit women until 1950? In the late 1800's, American women were not allowed to vote, form contracts, or even serve on juries. Therefore, any attempt by women to join the legal profession was either ridiculed or met with hostility and sometimes both. For example, in 1875 when rejecting Lavinia Goodell�s application for admission to the Wisconsin bar, Edward G. Ryan, the state�s Chief Justice, wrote:

It would be revolting to all female sense of the innocence and sanctity of their sex, shocking to man's reverence for womanhood and faith in woman, on which hinge all the better affections and humanities of life, that woman should be permitted to mix professionally in all the nastiness of the world which finds its way into courts of justice. In the Matter of the Motion to admit Ms. Lavinia Goodell to the Bar of this Court, 39 Wis. 232, 245-6 (1875).

While there are not many texts on the aspirations and accomplishments of the early American women lawyers, there are resources online to help you explore their history.

To start, try the Women�s Legal History Biography Project, This site has a lot of research material to check out, like substantive articles, research leads, bibliographies, and links to other sites. Several bar associations chronicle the history of women within their states. The Illinois Bar�s site, Bar None: 125 Years of Women Lawyers in Illinois,, highlights the lives and work of some of the state's first 100 women lawyers, who were admitted to the bar during the period 1873 to 1901. The Wisconsin bar honored Wisconsin�s first 150 women lawyers (from 1879-1943), The Tennessee Bar Association honored 281 women in a project titled 50 Years of Pioneers: Early Women in the Law, The Washington State Bar Association has no official chronicle of women lawyers, but does have some relevant articles on its website. See Victoria L. Vreeland & Karen Koehler�s article:Proud to be a Lawyer�A Female Lawyer,

Using Westlaw, Lexis, or LegalTrac, or even browsing the stacks, you can find interesting articles like:

  • Selma Moidel Smith, A New Discovery: The First Women Members of the ABA: Mary Belle Grossman & Mary Florence Lathrop, 85 Women L. J. 3 (2000)
  • Selma Moidel Smith, A Century of Achievement: The Centennial of the National Association of Women Lawyers, 85 Women L. J. 2 (1999)
  • Barbara Allen Babcock, Book Review: Feminist Lawyers, 50 Stanford L. Rev. 1689 (1998)
  • Lelia J. Robinson, Women Lawyers in the United States, 2 Green Bag 10 (1998)
  • James R. P. Ogloff, David R. Lyon, Kevin S. Douglas, & V. Gordon Rose, More Than Learning to 'Think Like a Lawyer:' The Empirical Research on Legal Education, 34 Creighton L. Rev 73 (2000).

If you search MARIAN, the online catalog, by entering the subject �women lawyers united states,� you will get back many options. Pick one and explore. For example, type in �women lawyers united states history� and find books like:

  • The Invisible Bar: The Woman Lawyer in America, 1638 to the Present, by Karen Berger Morello. KF299.W6M67 1986 at Classified Stacks
  • Sisters in Law: Women Lawyers in Modern American History. KF299.W6D7 1998 at Classified Stacks
  • Women Lawyers and the Origins of Professional Identity in America: The Letters of the Equity Club, 1887 to 1890. KF299.W6W655 1993 at Classified Stacks

Finally, to see how far women lawyers have come (and how far they have still to go) take a look at The Timeline of Women�s Legal History,, which outlines significant events for women's experiences with the law from 1619 to the present day and the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession�s report, The Unfinished Agenda: Women and the Legal Profession,