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About

WTP @ RCLL

In June 2016 Stanford Law School's Robert Crown Law Library entered into an agreement with the American Bar Association’s Senior Law Division to digitize and ingest the WTP collection into Stanford's institutional repository and to create this site to host and promote it. The oustanding team responsible for WTP @ RCLL included:

Esther Chen, Digital Services Specialist

Jake Kubrin, Metadata Librarian

Sarah Reis, Reference Librarian

Sergio Stone, Deputy Director

Carol Wilson, Project Archivist

George Wilson, Reference Librarian

None of this work would have been possible without our brilliant and fearless repositority and website team leaders:

Alba Holgado, Academic Technology Specialist; and

Camelia Naranch, Digital Projects & Continuing Resources Librarian

We are also grateful for the talented and gracious IT support of our SLS colleague Jean-François Barthe.

Our goal at RCLL has been to enhance public access to and discoverability of these oral histories for the benefit of law students, legal scholars, and anyone interested in the rich and inspiring stories of these pioneering women. It is our honor to preserve this priceless collection.

History of the WTP

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 also physically housed at three repositories: the Library of Congress, the Schlesinger Library at Harvard, and the Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford. Now sponsored by the ABA Senior Lawyers Division (SLD), the Project was initiated by Brooksley Born, Chair of the SLD Women Trailblazers Project Committee, and Linda Ferren, its Project Director, under the sponsorship of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. WTP is a Collaborative Research Project between the ABA and the American Bar Foundation. Additional information about donors who contributed to the ABA project, is available here

Selected Materials about the WTP

Women Trailblazers in the Law Project, C-SPAN (Apr. 22, 2010),
https://www.c-span.org/video/?293150-1/women-trailblazers-law-project.

Memorializing the Work and Lives of Women Trailblazers in the Law
By Brooksley Born and Linda Ferren

The Rules of Engagement: How Women Attorneys Broke Law's Glass Ceiling
By Jill Norgren

Member Spotlight: Brooksley Born, 1 Voice of Experience (Jan. 2016), https://perma.cc/EE67-J3LK.

A Message from the Chair: Meet Our Trailblazers, 1 Voice of Experience (Jan. 2016), https://perma.cc/WS68-VG4G.
By Louraine C. Arkfeld

Feature: Women Trailblazers Project, 1 Voice of Experience (Jan. 2016), https://perma.cc/4BBW-Y29Q.

Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers: Lives in the Law
By Jill Norgren

Women Who've Blazed Trails, 28 Experience (June/July 2018), https://perma.cc/Z7T6-HHNX.
By Michael J. Van Zandt, Lee Smalley Edmon, Richard M. Leslie, and James L. Schwartz

See also the following international efforts:

Australian National University & The University of Melbourne have launched their own The Trailblazing Women and the Law Project at: http://www.tbwl.esrc.unimelb.edu.au.

From our colleagues in the Oxford Bodleian Law Library, Trailblazing in the Law: Forging a Path for Women.  

On-going information about the New Zealand Judges Oral History Project: Women Trailblazers in the Law.