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Minnesota Women Lawyers 1974

MWL Meeting at the MSBA Convention, June 24, 1974 in Duluth, MN
Left to right: Irene Scott, Mary Louise Klas, Judith Oakes, Sue Sedgwick, Corrine Lynch, Charlotte Farish, Mary Walbran, Rosalie Wahl, Patricia Belois, (unknown),
Nancy Olkon, Sue Halverson, Camilla Reiersgord, and Cara Lee Neville

"It became apparent to me that if I was going to practice law ... that I wouldn't survive without changing the system.” This was the feeling of many of the founding mothers of Minnesota Women Lawyers (MWL) when they began the organization in 1972. Before that time, women lawyers in Minnesota had two options for professional outreach. They could join a national legal sorority. Or, they could go it alone in a profession, which was dominated by men and was often extremely isolating for women.
In 1972, an national legal sorority decided to merge with a nationwide men's fraternal organization. It was then that women lawyers in Minnesota, determined to maintain a forum for support and action, formed Minnesota Women Lawyers. MWL's first order of business was to identify every woman lawyer and law student in the state of Minnesota. At the end of the search, MWL sent letters to every single one – 120 women in all, including 50 law students – inviting them to join.

MWL is currently over 1,200 members strong and plays an active role in Minnesota's legal community, providing a voice for women lawyers and working to advance the success of women attorneys and strive for a just society. Minnesota Women Lawyers salutes and offers its sincere gratitude to the women who have come before as guides and role models in the legal profession and in our communities.


MWL Founding Mothers

Women in attendance at the first MWL meeting on September 21st, 1972:

Patricia Belois
Mary Jeanne Coyne
Michelle Egan
Doris Ohlsen Huspeni
Ethel Kommes
Eleanor Kostermann
Donna Johnson
Harriet Lansing
Jean McVeety
Cara Lee Neville
Judy Oakes
Nancy Olkon
Frances Peterson
Frieda Pinger
Camilla Reiersgord
Irene Scott
Violet Sollie
Esther Tomljanovich
Rosalie Wahl




Minnesota Women Lawyers
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 390B
Minneapolis, MN 55402

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