The history of women’s struggle for the right to be admitted to the legal profession begins in the second half of the 19th century. And it is not surprising that this process began precisely in the United States of America, where the legal profession received its maximum development.


Arabella Mansfield

The first female lawyer in the United States to practice law in Iowa in 1869 was Arabella Mansfield. At that time she was 23 years old. After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University, Arabella joined her brother’s law firm. In 1869, despite the then law restricting applicants to practice in jurisprudence only to white men over the age of 21, she was allowed to pass the exam for the right to practice as a lawyer, which she successfully did. Shortly after Arabella Mansfield passed the exams and became the first female lawyer in the United States, Iowa amended its laws and was the first state in America to allow women and minorities to practice law.

And although Arabella Mansfield was sworn in and accepted into the bar, setting a precedent, she never practiced law, focusing on teaching.


Alta M. Hulett

In the state of Illinois, Alta M. Hulett became the first female lawyer in 1873, having secured consideration and adoption in the state legislature of a bill prohibiting discrimination in any profession except the military. If you want to follow in her footsteps, we advise you to familiarize yourself with Illinois bar exam information, so you’ll know what to expect.

Also worth mentioning is Lemma Barkala, who became the first female law student and the first female lawyer to appear in court. In 1870, she was admitted as a lawyer for the Missouri Supreme Court.


Florence Jacoby

The first female lawyer in Texas was Florence Jacoby. In 1914, she passed the exams for the right to practice law. She worked in this field for four years, devoting her further life to a film career.


Charlotte Elizabeth Elena Rae

Charlotte Elizabeth Elena Rae became the first black female lawyer in the United States. Educated at the first institute for education for the different races in Washington, DC, she opened her own law office.


Margaret Kidd

Margaret Kidd was appointed QC for the Scottish Bar in December 1948, thus becoming Britain’s first female QC (appointed by the King on the Lord Chancellor’s recommendation from among reputable lawyers, senior members of the Bar, the right to act as senior attorneys appointed by the Crown) and the only female attorney in the Scottish Bar at the time.

Helen Normanton and Rose Heilbronn were also among the first women QCs to take the oath of office in the House of Lords in April 1949. Elena was the first to be admitted to an English law corporation as a law student. She joined the bar in 1924 and was the first woman to appear in the Supreme Court, the Old Bailey and London sessions, and charged in a murder case as a junior attorney.


Gloria Allred: not the first but the best

Gloria Allred is recognized by many of her colleagues as the best lawyer in America. She is famous for taking on many scandalous and controversial cases, especially about the struggle for the rights of women, victims of sexual violence, and the oppression of sexual minorities. Often represents clients filing lawsuits against stars (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Jackson, Donald Trump, etc.). Allred frequently covers the details of the cases with which she works in the press and leads a public life.

In addition to advocacy, this amazing woman taught at school for 6 years and also lectured at the University of Southern California for several years.

In 2008, a law firm founded by Gloria helped legalize gay marriage in California.