Voices of Women in Law: Four Collections of Essays to Read in Celebration of Women’s History Month


The National Women's History Alliance has designated the 2024 Women's History Month theme as "Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion”, recognizing women who work to “eliminate bias and discrimination entirely from our lives and institutions” and who are committed to embracing everyone and excluding no one in our common quest for freedom and opportunity.” 

In that spirit, we’re featuring four titles from Jenkins’ print collection that amplify the voices of women in law. Each of these books is a compilation of essays that highlights the diverse experiences, struggles, and triumphs of women in the legal profession. From Black women lawyers who blazed a trail in law and politics in the 19th and 20th centuries to contemporary judges and attorneys who challenge systemic inequalities in the 21st century, these books offer valuable perspectives from women committed to championing equity and justice for all.  

Here are some highlights:

Rebels in Law: Voices in History of Black Women Lawyers, edited by J. Clay Smith Jr.
This collection of speeches, previously unpublished writings, and works published in hard-to-find journals or newspapers highlights the involvement and success of black women in law and politics, starting with an interview of Lutie Lytle in 1897. Other pieces include:

        •  Pauli Murray’s Appeal: For Admission to Harvard Law School (1944), by Pauli Murray
        • Justice and Values in Government (1976), by Barbara Mae Watson
        • Forty-five Years a Woman Lawyer (1988), by Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander
        • The Power of Black Women to Tell Their Stories (1992), by Anita Faye Hill
        • Some Recollections of My Career (1988), by Constance Baker Motley (Bonus: Jenkins also owns Constance Baker Motley’s Equal Justice Under Law: An Autobiography) 

Her Story Book 2 : The Resilient Woman Lawyer's Guide to Conquering Obstacles, edited by Teresa M. Beck, Alicia M. Menendez, and Shayna M. Steinfeld. 
Published by the ABA Litigation Section’s Woman Advocate Committee, these stories aim to be “a form of virtual mentoring meant to build up the next generation of woman advocates…” (p. ix). Stories include:

        • Getting Out of the Box (No Matter How We Got In), by Tara N. Cho
        • Grateful to Be a Sober Female Lawyer, by Jessica R. Blaemire
        • Be Authentic: Navigating Complex and (Sometimes) Paradoxical Identities, by Michal Rogson

Grit, the Secret to Advancement: Stories of Successful Women Lawyers, prepared and written by Milana L. Hogan, EdD. for the ABA Commission On Women in the Profession.
Combining research on grit with 47 letters from women working in various legal environments (i.e., solo practitioners, law firm lawyers, in-house lawyers, and government and non-profit lawyers), this ABA publication focuses on how women have achieved their own versions of success. Letter authors include:

        •  Anne Thomas Sulton, Recipient of the 2007 NAACP William Robert Ming Advocacy Award
        • Roula Allouch, Chair of the ABA’s Center for Human Rights & Former Board Chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations 
        • Juanita C. Hernandez, Co-Chair of the SEC’s Hispanic and Latino Opportunity, Leadership and Advocacy Committee (HALO). 

Her Honor: Stories of Challenge and Triumph from Women Judges, edited by Lauren Stiller Rikleen; foreword by Dahlia Lithwick.
This compendium of stories, published by the ABA Judicial Division, features current and former judges who are recipients of the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.

        •  Overlooked, Underestimated, and Interrupted, by Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye
        • Do Not Let Fear Win Over Change, by Judge Angela M. Bradstreet
        • The Spark of Manifest Injustice, by Judge Bernice B. Donald