The New Advocate: A History of Early Female Lawyers in the United States from 1860 to 1920




Nichols, Mary (Janie)

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This thesis will explore the history of the first female lawyers in the United States. I will detail the struggles and successes of those women who, from 1860 to 1920, formed a sense of professional identity for American female attorneys. These women found success and overcame many social and legal limitations because of two primary factors: (1) the support of family and friends and (2) a strong personal commitment to their values concerning the practice of law. America’s first female lawyers also changed the face of their communities through interacting personally with their neighbors; the woman attorney displayed her unique talents and capabilities on an individual level to those around her. Personal connections with peers, family, classmates, and others allowed the early female attorney to promote her career, enrich her society, and make a way for the female lawyers of the future.