The American Bar Association celebrates National Women’s History Month

By Mary Smith
ABA President

The American Bar Association proudly celebrates National Women’s History Month this March, recognizing the vital contributions of women who have played pivotal roles in our nation’s history and the legal profession. We stand on the shoulders of trailblazers like Margaret Brent, the first woman to practice law in colonial America; Arabella Mansfield, the first woman lawyer in the United States; and Justices

Sandra Day O'Connor, Sonya Sotomayer and Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first woman, the first Hispanic woman and the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, respectively. Their legacies inspire our
ongoing commitment to gender equity and justice.

This year’s theme, “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” resonates deeply with the ABA’s vision by honoring women who have worked tirelessly to dismantle systemic bias and build inclusive legal institutions. We proudly celebrate these advocates and the diverse paths they forge — not only during Women’s History Month but throughout the entire year.

A recent National Association of Law Placement study shows a historic shift: For the first time, women account for more than 50% of associate attorneys in law firms. This milestone underscores the growing influence of today’s women attorneys who will chart the future of our profession. We honor their achievements and support their aspirations as they continue to redefine the legal landscape.

The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, established nearly 40 years ago, has been a beacon for progress. From its first chair, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the present, it has championed women in the profession. The commission has been instrumental in conducting groundbreaking research on women’s advancement in law, with special focus on women of color, and more recently, Native American women in law, while also providing invaluable resources and toolkits designed to empower women with the skills necessary for success.

It is our mission at the ABA to ensure this progress continues unabated. As we look to the future, the ABA remains dedicated to advocating for the rights and advancement of women in the legal profession and beyond. We invite our members and the broader legal community to join us in this essential endeavor, reinforcing our collective commitment to creating a more inclusive, equitable and fair world.