Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca (b. 1958) is the
current president of Malta, the youngest person and the second woman to hold
this position. She has been in office since 2014.
She has a degree in Legal and Humanistic Studies
and a public notary diploma. In 2014, after taking over the presidency of the
country, she established The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of
Society, a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting social inclusion and
higher living standards.
Caroline Kennedy (b. 1957)
is the daughter of John and Jacqueline Kennedy. She is an attorney and diplomat
who served as the US Ambassador to Japan and dedicated her career to law and
She studied at
Harvard and later earned a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School. She has
written two books on civil liberties and supported Democratic candidates for
the US presidency, endorsing causes such as same-sex marriage and abortion
Gertrude Rush (1880-1962) was the first African-American female lawyer in the state of Iowa. She achieved this in 1914, and remained the only African-American woman to practice law in the state for almost 40 years.
In 1921 she became president of the Colored Bar Association. She helped found the Negro Bar Association (known today as the National Bar Association) in 1925, along with other four black lawyers, after they were denied admission to the American Bar Association.
Leah Ward Sears (b. 1955) is a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. Upon her appointment in 1992, she became the first African-American woman to serve as Chief Justice in the United States, as well as the first woman and the youngest member of Georgia’s Supreme Court.
She also served as a fellow of the Institute of American Values, and taught at the University of Georgia Law School. She is a founder of the Battered Women’s Project in Columbus, Georgia.
Loretta Lynch (b. 1959) served as the Attorney General of the United States from 2015 to 2017. She was the first African-American woman appointed to the position.
She graduated from Harvard Law School and was first US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. She investigated numerous high-profile crimes and corruption cases during her time in office.
Emilie Kempin-Spyri (1853-1901) was the first woman to obtain a law degree in Switzerland. Since she was not allowed to practice in her native country afterwards, she emigrated to the United States and established a law school for women.
She graduated from the University of Zurich in 1887 as the first female Doctor of Law in Europe. She applied to become a lecturer at the university, but was rejected twice, on account of her not being an active citizen – Swiss women were denied citizenship at the time.
Sarah Weddington (b. 1945) was the lawyer who represented “Jane
Roe” in the landmark case Roe v. Wade in 1973. The consequences of her success
meant that a woman’s right to an abortion was no longer restricted by state or
She studied at the University of Texas Law School,
and dedicated much of her work to challenge anti-abortion statutes. She remains
the youngest person ever to argue a successful Supreme Court case, at age 27.
Brenda Hale (b. 1945) is currently President of the
Supreme Court in the United Kingdom. She is the first woman to have been
appointed to the role.
In 1984, she became the first woman appointed to the
Law Commission of the country, where she oversaw a number of important reforms.
She is the Honorary President of the Cambridge University Law Society.
(1961-2015) was the head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
during the Obama administration. She was a Harvard Law School graduate who had
previously served as a lawyer for the NAACP.
During her time at Harvard, she was the editor of the Harvard Civil Rights – Civil Liberties Law
Review. She worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lawyers
Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, especially preoccupied with the rights of
women and minorities.
McGuinness (b. 1934) is a former Irish judge. She
served as Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge of the High Court, and Judge of
the Circuit court, the first woman to hold that office in her country.
She has worked with the Employment Equality
Agency, and with the Forum for Peace and Conciliation, among other institutions
dedicated to protecting human rights. In 2011 she became a patron of the Irish Refugee