Lavinia Goodell, First Woman Lawyer in Wisconsin: This biographical essay summarizes the struggles of the first woman to pass the bar and practice law in Wisconsin. Lavinia Goodell (1839-1880) lived in Janesville (Rock Co.), where she was initially employed as a copyist and allowed access to a law library. She was admitted to the bar in 1874. Prohibited from appearing before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1875, she appealed their decision and ultimately won, ensuring the right of women to practice law in Wisconsin. The essay not only covers these events in detail, quoting often from her letters, but also provides a reliable account of her family, upbringing, and personal life. (30 pages)
Wisconsin Supreme Court
Lawyers; Judges; Female; Women's rights
Lavinia Goodell of Janesville, the first woman admitted to the practice of law in Wisconsin. Photo
courtesy the author.