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.