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History of Connecticut Women in the Legal Profession Project
Current Work on the Project (2016-)
Ann Rubin of Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP and the Hon. A. Susan Peck are co-chairing the History of Connecticut Women in the Legal Profession project. The Carmody firm will also play a leadership role and has committed to providing $20,000 to support the project. If you are interested in helping on this project, please contact ctbf [at] cbf-1 [dot] org.
Previous Work on the Project (1999-2014)
At the turn of the 20th century, women lawyers were virtually unknown in Connecticut. By contrast, at the onset of the 21st century, women comprised 49% of the entering law school classes in the United States. In their time at the bar, women have become leaders in the profession at a pace out of proportion to their brief history and numbers.
In 1999, the Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows initiated the Oral History of Connecticut Women in the Legal Profession Project. The Fellows are creating a permanent historical audio and video-taped record of the Connecticut legal profession’s most memorable moments as women entered the field of law. The participants are women whose ingenuity, perseverance and intelligence dismantled barriers preventing women from pursuing careers in the law. Connecticut has benefited from these “pioneers” as women join the ranks of men thereby enriching the legal profession.
The Connecticut Bar Foundation, as part of its James W. Cooper Fellows Oral History of Connecticut Women in the Legal Profession, in collaboration with Isabel Chenoweth, a lawyer and photographer, created photographic portraits of seventy-six women on the state and federal bench serving in Connecticut between 2001 and 2007. The photographs, taken at courthouses throughout the state, provide a striking visual statement about the powerful presence of women in Connecticut’s judiciary and consequently, their part in history. They were on display at the Legislative Office Building for two weeks in 2007 and were then moved to the University of Connecticut School of Law where they remain on display.
The Foundation has interviewed thirty-one of Connecticut’s outstanding female jurists, a number of whom were among the first in Connecticut to achieve prominence in their particular roles within the legal profession. The Foundation is currently working with a documentarian to produce short videos of each interview to be streamed on the internet.