The Girl Power Roundup: Women in Law Edition - September 2020

Olivia Martin ’22

      Welcome back to another exciting year with the Girl Power Roundup! This September we will be celebrating all of the achievements women have made in the legal profession! 

  Women have been leaders in the legal profession since 1869, when the first female lawyer in the United States, Arabella Mansfield, passed the Iowa Bar Exam. Ever since then, women have been trailblazers in the legal profession both nationally and locally. 

   Nationally, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to ever hold a position on the Supreme Court. On September twenty-fifth, it will be the thirty-ninth anniversary of her swearing in to the Supreme Court. She decided on extremely important cases, such as one that decided that nursing was not just “women’s work,” and she even created a learning tool for students about the government called iCivics. Since Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s leadership role in the legal field, there have now been four women serving as justices on the Supreme Court. 

I think the important thing about my appointment is not that I will decide cases as a woman, but that I am a woman who will get to decide cases.

- Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

   Locally, there have been amazing women in Rhode Island that have been trailblazers in the legal profession. Ada Lewis Sawyer became the first female lawyer in Rhode Island in 1920. Arlene Violet was not only the first woman to become the Rhode Island Attorney General (helping rid Rhode Island of organized crime), but she was also a Sister of Mercy. Today, we look to the leadership of our governor Gina Raimondo who received her Juris Doctor Degree from Yale University in 1998 and became the first female governor of Rhode Island. 

Read on to learn more about these outstanding women!