Myra Bradwell, born in Manchester, Vermont in 1831, became the first woman admitted to the bar in Illinois. During her life, she challenged the status quo of the legal profession and advocated for women's rights and suffrage.
In 1868, she launched the newspaper, the Chicago Legal News which became the first legal publication edited by a woman. The newspaper eventually "became the official medium for the publication of all court records in Illinois, and become the most widely circulated legal newspaper in the nation." She also used the newspaper as a platform to advocate for women's rights.
Less than a year later, in 1869, Bradwell sat for and passed the Illinois bar exam. The Illinois Supreme Court, however, denied her admission to the bar because as a woman she could not enter into contracts without her husband's consent. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that "as a married woman" Bradwell "would be bound neither by her express contracts nor by those implied contracts which it is the policy of the law to create between attorney and client." The court reasoned that when the legislature enacted the laws of granting licenses to practice law, it did not intend to extend the privilege to women.