Celebrating Women in the Legal Field
Women’s History Month is a time to recognize and commemorate women who have helped shape our country into what it is today. Over time, there have been many women who contributed to the legal field. Below are just a few of the remarkable women who have left an indelible mark on the legal field.
Margaret Brent (1601-1607) arrived in St. Mary's City on November 22, 1638, She was regarded as the most successful lawyer of her time. She argued and won 100 court cases and became the namesake of the American Bar Association Margaret Brent Award. A St. Mary’s County middle school located in Mechanicsville, MD is named after Margaret Brent.
Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Justice on the Supreme Court and served for 24 years.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a pioneer for gender equality and women’s rights. She argued six landmark cases before the Supreme Court before becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1993.
Mabel Houze Hubbard was the first African-American female attorney appointed to any bench in the State of Maryland. In 1928, she was appointed as a Master-in-Chancery for the Supreme Bench (now the Circuit Court for Baltimore City). She was later appointed to the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City and then the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
Sonia Sotomayor was nominated as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court by former President Barack Obama in May of 2009. She filled her seat in August of 2009. She is the first Hispanic and third woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Elena Kagan was the former Dean of Harvard Law School before President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court in May of 2010. She filled her seat in August of 2010.
Amy Coney Barrett was nominated as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by former President Donald J. Trump. She filled her seat in October of 2020.
Jane Bolin was a trailblazing attorney who went on to become the first Black female judge in the United States. Many of her efforts were focused on protecting women seeking abortions. She was a recipient of the 1993 ABA Margaret Brent Award.
Loretta Lynch was the first Black woman to serve as U.S. Attorney General. Lynch focused primarily on police reform, LGBTQ+ and minority rights.
Tammy Baldwin was the first openly gay politician elected to the U.S. Senate and Wisconsin’s first congresswoman. Baldwin became known for her support of the LGBTQ+ rights and universal health care. She was a 2021 ABA Stonewall Award recipient.
Mia Yamamoto, a transgender woman, spent the beginning of her adulthood in the military before attending UCLA’s School of Law. While at UCLA, she co-founded the Asian Pacific Islander Law Student Association and became an ABA Stonewall Award recipient in 2013.
Regina Montoya is recognized as one of the top lawyers in the United States. She was one of the first Latinas to earn a partnership at a large corporate law firm and has since dedicated herself to the economic advancement of the American Latino community. In 2020, Montoya was the recipient of the ABA Margaret Brent Award.
These women, among many others, have paved the way for countless women to come in the legal field. To learn more about Women’s History Month as it pertains to the law, visit https://www.americanbar.org/groups/diversity/resources/celebrating-heritage-months/womens-history-month/.