WHEN I BEGAN AS A STUDENT at Harvard Law School more than two decades ago, I heard stories about the days when there were only a handful of women law students in attendance. I remember being incredibly grateful that these women had the courage to demand a seat at the table for me and my female classmates, who then filled about 30 percent of the incoming class.
Women before and since then have broken down barriers in the legal profession on a daily basis, and law schools are no different. In 2016, for the first time, the number of women in the first year of law school nationally exceeded that of men. Law faculties are now as diverse in gender as the profession, and the number of women serving as deans has risen dramatically.
There is no question that both Georgia State University and the College of Law have always valued diversity. I am proud to follow in the footsteps and stand on the shoulders of Marjorie Fine Knowles, Marjorie Girth and Janice Griffith, all of whom have led this law school with distinction. It may be that we are the only law school in the country that has had a majority of our deans over time be women. That is an incredible legacy and stands as a testament of our commitment to rewarding talent in whatever form.
I know you will enjoy reading stories about our incredible alumnae who continue in this same tradition. Phi Nguyen (J.D. ’09) on page 21 is working hard to expand voting rights and immigrant rights through impact litigation.
Susanne Hollinger (J.D. ’08) talks about her experience as the head of patents for The Coca-Cola Co. on page 23, and Bea Yorker (J.D. ’88) explores the impact of her research for abused children on page 18. Wherever you care to look, there are Georgia State lawyers making a difference in their communities and serving as role models for future generations of women.
Although much remains to be done to ensure women’s equality, there is also much about which to be proud. We have been and will continue to be the law school that provides access to all students seeking to make an impact. Look for Georgia State lawyers on the front lines of the fight for equality. We’ll be there in force.