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The Women Trailblazers in the Law Project (WTP) captures the oral histories of women pioneers in the legal profession nationwide, memorializing their stories in their own voices and preserving their experiences and observations for future generations.

The women who entered the legal profession in the 1970's and earlier faced blatant discrimination and a variety of unique challenges and dilemmas. It is this history that Women Trailblazers in the Law is preserving – as told by the women who lived it.

The Project has taken the oral histories of over a hundred senior women who have made important contributions to the law and have opened opportunities for other women in the profession. Chosen primarily for their accomplishments and contributions, the senior women interviewed are from all areas of the legal profession: the judiciary, academia, law firms, government, corporations, and public interest organizations.  They are in cities and towns across the country.  Interviewing them are lawyer volunteers, selected and trained by the Project, who live in their communities.

The Women Trailblazers Project is unique.  While there are oral histories of women, including women attorneys, in libraries and archives scattered across the country, the Women Trailblazers Project is the only comprehensive nationwide project devoted exclusively to capturing, recording, and preserving the complete life histories of pioneering women lawyers as told by the women themselves.

The WTP collection is housed at two repositories: the Library of Congress and the Schlesinger Library at Harvard.

Now sponsored by the ABA’s Senior Lawyers Division (SLD), the Project was initiated by Brooksley Born, Chair of the ABA’s SLD Women Trailblazers Project Committee, and Linda Ferren, its Project Director, under the sponsorship of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. The Project is a Collaborative Research Project between the ABA and the American Bar Foundation.

Meet the Honorees


Special thanks to Interviewers of Women Trailblazers. Click on the name of an Interviewer to access the interviewer's bio.