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The First Women Lawyers: A Comparative Study of Gender, Law and the Legal Professions

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ISBN13: 9781841135908
ISBN: 1841135909
Published: May 2006
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £36.99

Despatched in 7 to 9 days.

This comparative study explores the lives of some of the women who first initiated challenges to male exclusivity in the legal professions in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Their challenges took place at a time of considerable optimism about progressive societal change, including new and expanding opportunities for women, as well as a variety of proposals for reforming law, legal education, and standards of legal professionalism.

By situating women's claims for admission to the bar within this reformist context in different jurisdictions, the study examines the intersection of historical ideas about gender and about legal professionalism at the turn of the twentieth century. In exploring these systemic issues, the study also provides detailed examinations of the lives of some of the first women lawyers in six jurisdictions: the United States, Canada, Britain, New Zealand and Australia, India, and western Europe. In exploring how individual women adopted different legal arguments in litigated cases, or devised particular strategies to overcome barriers to professional work, the study assesses how shifting and contested ideas about gender and about legal professionalism shaped women's opportunities and choices, as well as both support for and opposition to their claims.

As a comparative study of the first women lawyers in several different jurisdictions, the book reveals how a number of quite different women engaged with ideas of gender and legal professionalism at the turn of the twentieth century.

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Legal History, Professional Conduct and Ethics, Biography
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 Poët, 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