International Women’s Month
March is International Women’s Month. In many countries around the world, women are honored with flowers and gifts on March 8 each year. While we appreciate that thought, the women of Rooney & Rooney would rather think of National Women’s Month as a month of recognition. Recognition of the role women play in the work force and in the family. Recognition of their contributions to the strength of our country through the businesses they run, the political offices they hold, their influence on the children they raise, and their partnerships with other women, and men.
Today I would like to write about some women who made history in the legal profession. When former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor first passed the bar as a graduate from the prestigious Stanford Law School, she could not find a firm willing to hire a female attorney. Eventually she was able get work as an attorney for the San Mateo County offices in California, but only because she agreed to work for free.
“The first known female attorney of record was Arabella Mansfield. She became an attorney in 1869. For most of her career, she was not a practicing attorney, however, she did put her training to good use. From Wikipedia: “Arabella Mansfield “read the law” as an apprentice in her brother, Washington’s, law office after he had passed the bar and established his practice. Although by Iowa law, the bar exam was restricted to “males over 21”, Arabella Mansfield took the exam in 1869, passing it with high scores.
In 1869, Iowa became the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law after Mansfield challenged the state law excluding her. The Court ruled that women may not be denied the right to practice law in Iowa, admitting Mansfield to the bar. Mansfield was sworn in at the Union Block building in Mount Pleasant that year.
Although admitted to the bar, Mansfield did not practice law, concentrating on college teaching and activist work. She taught at Iowa Wesleyan College, followed by DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. In 1893, she was selected as Dean of the School of Art at DePauw, and in 1894 as Dean of the School of Music. In 1893, Mansfield joined the National League of Women Lawyers.”
Mansfield was also active in the women’s suffrage movement, chairing the Iowa Women’s Suffrage Convention in 1870, and working with Susan B. Anthony.”
Attorneys at Rooney and Rooney Law
personal injury debt settlement, family law, divorce
Excerpts from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Block_(Mount_Pleasant,_Iowa)