NAWL Convention_1923 w Chief Justice Taft.jpg

    Seated to the right of Chief Justice, former President, WIlliam Howard Taft, is Emilie Bullowa, President of NAWL 1923-24,
    as well as Judge Mary O'Toole of Washington, D.C., Customs Court Judge Genevieve Cline, N.Y. and Phoebe Munnecke of Michigan.


    Timeline | NAWL Presidents

    Timeline of Important Events

    Arabella Babb Mansfield.jpg
    Arabella Babb Mansfield
    (Image courtesy of the Belle Babb Mansfield Memorial)



     Arabella Babb Mansfield became the first American woman lawyer admitted to the bar.


    Charlotte E. Ray became the first African-America woman lawyer admitted to the bar.


    Belva A. Lockwood became the first woman lawyer admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Charlotte E Ray.jpgCharlotte E. Ray
    (Image courtesy of Black Entertainment Television)



    The Women Lawyers' Club was founded by a group of 18 women lawyers in New York City.


    The first issue of the Women Lawyers Journal was published (pdf).  It cost 15¢ per issue and had 25 subscribers. 


    Membership in the Women Lawyers' Club grew to 170, with representation from 25 states.

    NAWL Suffragettes.jpg

    NAWL Suffragettes





    Long before women could vote,

    they became attorneys.™


    Belva A Lockwood.jpg
    Belva A. Lockwood
    (Image courtesy of the U.S. National Archives)   



    Women's suffrage became the first major project undertaken by the Club.  Three time NAWL President, Olive Stott Gabriel, argued for women's voting rights across the county.


    Judge Mary Belle Grossman and Mary Florence Lathrop became the first two women lawyers admitted to the American Bar Association.


    Congress passed the 19th Amendment and the Women Lawyers' Club membership mobilized to work for ratification by the states.

    Mary Belle Grossman.jpgJudge Mary Belle Grossman
    (Image courtesy of

    During the first four decades of the Club (and later, the Association) worked consistently on social legislation - including child labor laws, minimum wage, divorce and marriage laws, the right for a woman to keep her name after marriage, and the right for women to serve on juries.


    Due to increasing nationwide membership, the Women Lawyers' Club became the National Association of Women Lawyers.

    NAWL held its first national convention in Minneapolis with Chief Justice William Howard Taft.

    Mary Florence Lathrop.jpg Mary Florence Lathrop
    (Image courtesy of American Bar Association)


    NAWL member Florence E. Allen of Ohio was appointed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President Roosevelt and she became the nation's first woman federal judge and the
    highest-ranking woman jurist.


    NAWL was one of the first national organizations to endorse the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced to Congress in 1922.  The ERA becomes an ongoing high priority for the Association
    over the next several decades.


    NAWL became an Affiliated Organization of the American Bar Association.

    Florence E Allen.jpgFlorence E. Allen
    (Image courtesy of the Supreme Court of Ohio)

    NAWL led the creation of opportunities for women to serve in the military.  More than 150 NAWL members were serving in the WACS, WAVES, and the Marine Corps Women's Reserve.


    NAWL became an official NGO Observer of the newly-founded United Nations.


    The National Association of Women Lawyers celebrated its 50th Anniversary in St. Louis.

    Maguerite Rawalt.jpg
    Maguerite Rawalt
    (Image courtesy of American Bar Association) 



    NAWL drafted the Uniform Divorce Bill, calling it "the greatest project NAWL has ever undertaken."


    The first NAWL office was established in the new ABA Center in Chicago.


    NAWL past president, Marguerite Rawalt, was appointed by President Kennedy to the President's Commission on the Status of Women.

    Sarah Hughes VP Johnson .jpg
    Sarah Hughes swearing in Vice President Johnson
    (Image courtesy of Cecil W. Stoughton)





    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
    committed citizens can change the world. 
    Indeed, it is only thing that ever has."
    Margaret Mead

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg.jpg
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    (Image courtesy of Columbia Law)



    NAWL member Lorna E. Lockwood became the first woman chief justice of any state.


    Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment.  The ratification of the amendment by the states became NAWL's major project for the rest of the decade.


    The Women Lawyers Journal carried a comprehensive review of the need to the Equal Rights Amendment written by Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the first tenured woman law professor at Columbia University.

    Sandra Day OConnor.jpgSandra Day O'Connor
    (Image courtesy of CBS News)


    Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.


    Mahala Ashley Dickerson became the first African-American president of NAWL.


    NAWL began granting membership to male applicants.

    Juanita Kidd Stout.jpgJuanita Kidd Stout



    NAWL member, Juanita Kidd Stout, was appointed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, becoming the first African-American woman to serve on a state's highest court.


    The NAWL assembly endorsed the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).


    Roberta Cooper Ramo was elected the first woman president of the American Bar Association.

    Martha Walters Barnett HOLLAND AND KNIGHT.jpg
    Martha W. Barnett
    (Image courtesy of Holland & Knight)


    NAWL member, Martha W. Barnett, became the first recipient of NAWL's highest honor, the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award.


    NAWL celebrated its Centennial Anniversary.


    The first Directory of Women Lawyers and Women Owned Law Firms was published.

    Sonia Sotomayor.jpgSonia Sotomayor
    (Image courtesy of NY Times)

    Sonia Sotomayor received the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award.


    NAWL's first Annual General Counsel Institute was held in New York City.


    NAWL published the first National Survey on the Retention and Promotion of Women in the Law.

    Elena Kagan US SUPREME COURT.jpg
    Elena Kagan
    (Image courtesy of US Supreme Court)



    NAWL published the Summit Report Actions for Advancing Women into Law Firm Leadership.


    NAWL's independent Supreme Court Committee recommended the confirmation of Elena Kagan as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court.  



    NAWL holds regional meetings on the status of the Summit Report Actions for Advancing Women into Law Firm Leadership.


    NAWL introduces the NAWL Challenge Club

    Information gathered from NAWL's archives and the writings of Mary Zimmerman and Selma Moidel Smith 

    Back to Top

    NAWL Presidents

    Year of NAWL Presidency Name Location

    1899 - 1911

    Rosalie Loew

    New York, NY

    1911 - 1913

    Marion Weston Cottle

    New York, NY

    1913 - 1914

    Edith Julia Griswold

    New York, NY

    1914 - 1915

    Jean H. Norris

    New York, NY

    1915 - 1917

    Olive Stott Gabriel

    New York, NY

    1917 - 1918

    Sarah Stephenson

    New York, NY

    1918 - 1920

    Jean H. Norris

    New York, NY

    1920 - 1924

    Emilie M. Bullowa

    New York, NY

    1925 - 1927

    Rose Falls Bres

    Brooklyn, NY

    1927 -1930

    Katharine R. Pike

    Washington, D.C.

    1930 - 1934

    Olive Stott Gabriel

    New York, NY

    1934 - 1935

    Burnita Shelton Matthews

    Washington, D.C.

    1935 - 1938

    Percilla Lawyer Randolph

    Los Angeles, CA

    1938 - 1939

    Laura M. Berrien

    Washington, D.C.

    1939 - 1940

    Helen M. Cirese

    Chicago, IL

    1940 - 1941

    Florence Thacker Bradley

    Indianapolis, IN

    1941 - 1942

    Gertrude Harris

    Atlanta, GA

    1942 - 1943

    Marguerite Rawalt

    Corpus Christi, TX

    1943 - 1944

    Daphne Robert Leeds

    Washington, D.C.

    1944 - 1945

    Lula E. Bachman


    1945 - 1946

    Laura Miller Derry

    Louisville, KY

    1946 - 1947

    Adele I. Springer

    Brooklyn, NY

    1947 - 1949

    Charlotte E. Gauer

    Chicago, IL

    1949 - 1950

    Eleanor March Moody

    Boston, MA

    1950 - 1951

    J. Helen Slough

    Cleveland, OH

    1951 - 1952

    Mary H. Zimmerman


    1952 -1954

    Dorothea K. Blender

    Chicago, IL

    1954 - 1955

    Diana J. Auger

    Boston, MA

    1955 - 1956

    Victoria V. Gilbert


    1956 - 1957

    Neva B. Talley

    Little Rock, AR

    1957 - 1958

    Grace B. Doering

    Cleveland, OH

    1958 - 1959

    Nina Miglionico

    Birmingham, AL

    1959 - 1960

    Maurine H. Abernathy

    Washington, D.C.

    1960 - 1961

    Rebecca Bowles Hawkins

    Birmingham, AL

    1961 - 1962

    Anna O. Blum

    Monroe, WI

    1962 - 1963

    Dorothy M. Orsini Jones

    Little Rock, AR

    1963 - 1964

    Catherine Anagnost

    Chicago, IL

    1964 - 1965

    Catherine Edmondson

    Clarksville, TN

    1965 - 1966

    Mattie Belle Davis


    1966 - 1967

    Mary Louise DeMarco McLeod


    1967 - 1968

    Grace D. Cox

    New York, NY

    1968 - 1969

    Ruth Gentry Talley


    1969 - 1970

    Jettie Pierce Selvig

    San Francisco, CA

    1970 - 1971

    Adele T. Weaver

    Miami Beach, FL

    1971 - 1972

    Jean McVeety

    Minneapolis, MN

    1972 - 1973

    NettaBell Girard Larson


    1973 - 1974

    Helen Viney Porter

    Northbrook, IL

    1974 - 1975

    Marjorie M. Childs

    San Francisco, CA

    1975 - 1976

    Kathleen Ryan Dacey

    Boston, MA

    1976 - 1977

    Lee Berger Anderson

    North Chevy Chase, MD

    1977 - 1978

    Mary Alice Duffy

    Philadelphia, PA

    1978 - 1979

    Miriam G. Newman

    New York, NY

    1979 - 1980

    Sheila Gallagher

    Anchorage, AK

    1980 - 1981

    Ann W. Lake

    Boston, MA

    1981 - 1982

    Meredith P. Sparks

    Coral Gables, FL

    1982 - 1983

    Claire E. Morrison

    Detroit, MI

    1983 - 1984

    Mahala Ashley Dickerson

    Anchorage, AK

    1984 - 1985

    Mary Jo Cusack

    Columbus, OH

    1985 - 1986

    Virginia S. Mueller

    Sacremento, CA

    1986 - 1987

    Irene Redstone

    Miami, FL

    1987 - 1988

    Sylvia Marks-Barnett

    Oklahoma City, OK

    1988 - 1989

    Leona Beane

    New York, NY

    1989 - 1990

    Gail McKnight Beckman

    Atlanta, GA

    1990 - 1991

    Jeanne Schubert Barnum

    Cherry Hill, NJ

    1991 - 1992

    Janis L. Blough

    Lansing, MI

    1992 - 1993

    Veronica C. Boda

    Brigantine, NJ

    1993 - 1994

    Faith F. Driscoll

    Dedham, MA

    1994 - 1996

    Myrna S. Raeder

    Los Angeles, CA

    1996 - 1997

    Sally Lee Foley

    Bloomfield Hills, MI

    1997 - 1998

    Janice L. Sperow

    San Diego, CA

    1998 - 1999

    Susan Fox Gills

    Chicago, IL

    1999 - 2000

    Katherine J. Henry

    Washington, D.C.

    2000 - 2001

    Gail Sasnett-Stauffer

    Gainesville, FL

    2001 - 2002

    Elizabeth K. Bransdorfer

    Grand Rapids, MI

    2002 - 2003

    Ellen A. Pansky

    South Pasadena, CA

    2003 - 2004

    Zoe Sanders Nettles

    Columbia, SC

    2004 - 2005

    Stephanie Scharf

    Chicago, IL

    2005 - 2006

    Lorraine K. Koc

    Philadelphia, PA

    2006 - 2007

    Cathy Fleming

    New York, NY

    2007 - 2008

    Holly English

    Roseland, NJ

    2008 - 2009

    Lisa Horowitz

    Washington, D.C.

    2009 - 2010

    Lisa Gilford

    Los Angeles, CA

    2010 - 2011

    Dorian Denburg

    Atlanta, GA

    2011 - 2012

    Heather C. Giordanella

    Philadelphia, PA

    2012 - 2013

    Beth L. Kaufman

    New York, NY

    2013 - 2014

    Deborah S. Froling

    Washington, D.C.

    2014 - 2015

    Lisa M. Passante

    Philadelphia, PA

    2015 - 2016

    Marsha L. Anastasia

    Stamford, CT

    2016 - 2017

    Leslie Richards-Yellen

    Chicago, IL / New York, NY

    2017 - 2018

    Angela Beranek Brandt

    St. Paul, MN

    Back to Top

    National Association of Women Lawyers®

    American Bar Center MS 17.1, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654
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