LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO SCHOOL of LAW (2016 Winter Magazine) - page 16-17

It is difficult to ascertain how
the women graduates of that era
used their law degrees. Securing
a position as a practicing lawyer
was still very difficult for women at
that time—and would remain so
for decades to come. (Women had
not even been allowed to join the
American Bar Association until 1918.)
Some women succeeded in practice
quite well, however.
After practicing as a public
defender, Katherine Nohelty
(JD ’37) became the first woman to
be elected judge of the municipal
court in Chicago. When she returned
to the law school in 1958, however, it
was to speak to the LawWives Club—
suggesting that, two decades
after her graduation, men may
still have been considered to be
“typical” law students.
Edna Devlin Bowens (JD ’30,
LLM ’31) became the president of the
Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
within a few years of her law school
graduation; she began her own
law practice. Another early Loyola
graduate to serve as WBAI president
was Mary Kelly (JD ’27).
The number of women at the
law school seems to have thinned as
WorldWar II approached and in the
few years that the school continued
to operate after the war began. After
the war, a few women joined the
ranks of law students as the school
reopened in 1946; most students,
however, were men who were
returning to complete their education
and the careers that had been
interrupted by wartime service.
Women students in the early
postwar years included Mary Ann
(Grohwin) McMorrow (JD ’53), who
would later become the first woman
to serve as the Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Illinois.
1970s sees
swelling numbers
As the 1970s dawned, changes
in the role of women in society
led to a remarkable increase in the
number of women applying to law
schools nationwide. Loyola too
experienced a dramatic increase in
its student body, particularly women,
which consequently emphasized
the school’s increasingly inadequate
facilities throughout that decade.
The significantly larger number of
women students and the era’s focus
on social justice led to conversations
about sexism and feminism. Whatever
the specifics at Loyola, one woman
student, Roseann Oliver (JD ’72), took
, the new law student
newspaper, to defend Loyola: “I am
aware of charges made in other law
schools regarding discrimination
[against women]…however, these
tactics have never been practiced by
any member of our faculty. I think
that every faculty member tries (in his
or her own way) to teach us how to be
competent attorneys.”
When the law school’s
intraschool moot court competition
was reestablished in 1977, the first
winners of that competition were
two women: Patricia Kuehn (JD ’78)
and Elizabeth Pendzich (JD ’78).
Women law students informally
began an organization called the
Committee on Women’s Issues in
the early 1970s, which continues
to operate today as the Women’s
Law Society.
In 1977-78, women at the
law school began to produce
Women’s Law Reporter
, a
review of legal matters of particular
concern to women, with Dorothy
Lupton (JD ’78) as its first editor-in-
chief. That publication later went
through changes that led to today’s
Consumer Law Journal
Throughout the law school’s
modern era, women scored firsts.
Some of those firsts were within the
law school: Teree Foster (JD ’76)
was the first woman to serve as
editor-in-chief of the
University Chicago Law Journal
Kathy O’Dekirk (JD ’81) was the first
woman to serve as the president
of the Student Bar Association,
and Loretta Douglas (BS ’65, JD ’68)
became the first woman to serve
as president of the Law Alumni
Association in 1972-73.
A momentous occasion for
women at Loyola was the hiring of
Nina S. Appel to the full-time faculty
in 1973; she was not the first woman
on the faculty, but she was the first
to stay there for the balance of her
career—and she went on to become
the first woman dean of the law
school in 1983.
In recent decades, women
have often constituted more than
half the first-year class, and they
continue to participate in and
excel at all student endeavors.
Loyola today can take pride in its
achievement over the past 90
years of Siedenburg’s vision of a
law school that was open to all
qualified applicants.
Thomas M. Haney
has been a member of Loyola’s full-time law faculty since
1975. He is the author of
The First 100 Years
, a book he wrote in 2009 about the
centennial history of Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Patricia Kuehn (left) and Elizabeth Pendzich (both JD ’78) won the first
intraschool moot court competition when it was revived in 1977.
Anna Marie Galvin (JD ’27) was the first woman class president.
The 1957 student editorial board of
Recent Decisions
meets with its faculty advisor, Professor John C.
Hayes (standing). Seated, from left: Edward Lehman, Jo Anne Lucey, Thomas Lyons, Editor Frank Covey Jr.,
Theodore Gulino, Helen McCabe, and Richard Sikes (all JD ’57).
Mary Ann Grohwin McMorrow (JD ’53)
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