Golden Gate University Law Review


Over one hundred years ago, the composition of the American legal profession changed in a small but significant way. The year 1869 saw both the first Black graduate of any United States law school and the first woman admitted to any American bar association. However, until recently, the participation of women and minorities in the American legal profession has been of insignificant proportion. Before 1970, less than 3% of American lawyers were women; about 1% were Black. While this lack of participation is undoubtedly the result of a number of factors, three areas stand out for their particular influence in shaping the profession's composition: American Bar Association policy, law school participation, and law firm hiring practices. Each of these areas is explored briefly.