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The First Women Lawyers


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Table of Contents

Introduction The First Women Lawyers Prologue: Contemporary Questions about Women as Lawyers Rethinking the First Women Lawyers: Themes of Gender, Professionalism and Women's Lives Toward a Comparative History: Introducing the First Women Lawyers 1 American Pioneers: The First Women Lawyers A Century of Struggle The Context for the First Women Lawyers: New Ideas about Women's Equality and Legal Professionalism Constitutionalising (In)Equality for Women Lawyers Women's Rights and Professional Identities 2 Women Lawyers in Canada: Becoming Lawyers 'On the Same Terms as Men' Women as 'Fellow Lawyers' The Context for the First Women Lawyers in Canada: Reformist Ideas about Professionalism and Women's Roles 'Persons,' Pronouns, and Policy Choices: Judicial Reasoning in French and Langstaff Contested Ideas: New Women and Legal Professionalism 3 'Sound Women' and Legal Work: The First Women in Law in Britain Women's Access to the Legal Professions in Britain Eliza Orme: Challenging 'Woman's Sphere' and a 'Gentleman's Profession' A Woman in Law in the Public Sphere Eliza Orme and the Gender Issue 4 Colonies of the British Empire: The First Woman Lawyer in New Zealand Women Lawyers in the Colonies Ethel Benjamin A 'Rebel [Extending] the Boundary of the Right'? 5 The Empire and British India: The First Indian Woman 'In Law' A Woman Pleading in a British Court in India: 1896 Becoming a Woman in Law in India Cornelia Sorabji: 'No Peer Among the Women of India' 6 European Connections: Women in Law and the Role of Louis Frank La Femme-Avocat and European Women Lawyers Lydia Poet, Marie Popelin and Jeanne Chauvin: Louis Frank's Support for Women in Law The Context of L'Affaire Chauvin Conclusion Reflecting on the First Women Lawyers

About the Author

Mary Jane Mossman is Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Toronto, Canada.


Mossman's The First Women Lawyers offers a pinnacle achievement, both in depth of biographical and legal case inquiry and in scope of comparative cross-national research. For scholars of the legal profession, and gender and the professions more generally, The First Women Lawyers is simply required reading...offers tremendous breadth of cross-national research and refined precision through detailed individual biographies, blended together in a masterful work. Extricating patterns across countries, time, lives, and laws is a monumental undertaking. Mossman succeeds formidably, and her meticulous comparative analyses reveal several compelling patterns...offers a wealth of new insights and resolutely challenges established views held by several scholars of women in the legal profession...does much to advance our understanding of the culture of the legal profession and women's challenges to male exclusivity during the past two hundred years...Mossman...provides the most ambitious cross-national comparative and historical work on women lawyers to date. Fiona M. Kay Osgoode Hall Law Journal Vol. 45, No. 2 ...a thoughtful fits well alongside..the contemporary accounts of women lawyers at the turn of the 21st century... Erika Rackley Feminist Legal Studies Jan 2007 It is a compelling story both scholars and the general population should be able to appreciate. In addition, the book is particularly well suited for those interested in comparative scholarship, gender issues, and of course, law and politics...It is one thing to write a scholarly work, and another to write in a manner that makes the experience both informative and enjoyable. Mossman clearly does the latter while holding true to comparative and historical institutionalist methodology. Jennifer Woodward Law and Politics Book Review Vol.17 No.2 Feb 2007 I recommend this as a text for graduate students in women studies or legal history; as a text for further reading for undergraduate studies in colleges and universities, particularly in the areas of organizational behaviour or human resources. It is an edifying and informative read for feminists. Patricia DeGuire Voices, Vol 13, No 2 Jan 07 Some of the most interesting insights of Mossman's work involve her identification of those historical aspects of women's entry into the law that shaped and continue to impact the way the profession is conducted today. Sara Gottlieb German Law Journal, No 3 March 2007 ...a rich historical treasure trove in which one can find lots of theoretical and evidential jewels...[Mossman's] assiduous approach to research, combined with her wide knowledge of previous work on women's entry into the legal profession, has enabled her to make useful cross-cultural comparisons and new theoretical points. Dr Paula Bartley Women's History Magazine Issue 57, Autumn 2007 In its identification of important themes and issues, no less than its careful study of hitherto neglected sources, Mossman's book offers an invaluable and very readable contribution. Rosemary Auchmuty The Journal of Legal History 28:2, August 2007 The First Women Lawyers is a lively account of remarkable women who became the first women to practice law in their regions The breadth and detail of this work develops themes of gender and professionalism on a global scale, while remaining true to the lives and spirits of these women. The issues raised ... establish and important context to the issues we face today in the professions. Linda Gehrke Journal of Law and Social Policy Volume 22, 2009

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