Monday, January 7, 2019

Trailblazing Women in Law—website and book

Wouldn't it be great to sit down for a chat with a woman who entered the legal profession 50 or 60 years ago and managed to achieve success as a judge, law professor, law firm partner, or government official? What was it like to be one of only a a few women in law school? How did she get her first job? What sorts of cases did she handle?

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become a pop culture figure—perhaps you have an RBG T-shirt or coffee mug of your own—but she's not the only one! The ABA and the American Bar Foundation started the Women Trailblazers Project a few years ago to capture oral histories of some women in this generation. In November, Stanford's Robert Crown Law Library launched a multimedia site with material from the project (including material that the ABA has never posted).

For different trailblazers, the Stanford site has photos, oral history transcripts, audiorecordings, videorecordings, and photographs. (A few subjects, including RBG, have restricted their material, to be released after their death.)

Here's a tip: After you click on an oral history, click on the download icon below it. That will give you a list of what's available (e.g., transcript, audiorecordings, photos).
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For local interest, check out the pages for Judge Betty Binns Fletcher (UW Law 1956) and Ada Shen-Jaffe (long-time director of Columbia Legal Services and social justice advocate).

cover art - Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers

If thousands of pages of oral history and hundreds of hours of recordings overwhelm you, you can start with a book that curates highlights: Jill Norgren, Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers: Lives in the Law (2018) (publisher's page). The library has a copy in print. There also happens to be a great bargain on the Kindle version: it's just 99 cents this week (until Jan. 13).

(This is just one 99-cent deal NYU Press is offering. There are some interesting books on technology and society, women in the workplace, transgender kids, and more.)