Louise A. Steele ’26


7 October 1931 — Montana Butte Standard

+++++++++“Butte Woman is Admitted to Bar”

+++++“Miss Louisa Steele of this city, who went to California some months ago, has just been admitted to the bar of California and has established offices with Joseph L. Rainer, prominent member of the Los Angeles bar. Miss Steele, who is a native Montanan, was a member of the Business and Professional Women’s club. She had offices in the Silver Bow block. In a letter to Butte friends the girl lawyer, while expressing her appreciation of California’s hospitality, denies that it has any climatic or scenic advantages over the state of her birth.
+++‘I am still loyal to Montana,’ she declares.”


Kathleen O. Beitiks, “Never too old to practice, bar veterans keep going,” January 1996 California Bar Journal

+++++“And Louise A. Steele, 90, the oldest active female member of the bar is still working daily, although she plans to fold up her practice at the end of this year because of back problems and difficulty climbing stairs.
+++++In her earlier years, Steele worked as a secretary to the city attorney of Butte, Mont., who encouraged her to study law. She never attended college, but studied law under a former New York attorney and passed the Montana Bar in 1926.
+++++In 1931, she moved to California, passed the bar and spent many decades working for a small Los Angeles firm, handling probate, workers’ compensation and admiralty law cases.
+++++Today she is working on several different cases dealing with fraud, divorce, probate and trusts. Maybe the years are catching up with her, she admits, because some days she thinks ‘it would be nice just to sleep in.'”
+++++Steele agrees with those who say that the legal field has become vast and complex. ‘There have been a lot of changes in probate,’ she says. ‘There are more demands, the work is heavy and more detailed.’ . . . .”


Born:

+++++24 July 1905, in Montana

Parents:

+++++Farris “Dave” Steele and Sarah Fitch Axtell

Sibling:

+++++One sister

Law Office Study:

+++++Studied in the office of David H. Wittenberg, graduate of City College of New York. She also studied in the law offices of F. E. Glodgett, J. F. Emigh, and Joseph P. Vilk, members of the Montana Bar.

+++++“The law subjects which she has studied are: Constitutional Law by Cooley and Hall; Equity by Bispham; Trusts and Suretyship by Woolley; Law of Real Property by Burdick; Law of Personal Property by Kent; Evidence by Greenleaf and Jones; Mortgages by Jones; Contracts by Cooley, Huffcut and Woodruff and Clark; Probate by Church; Partnership by Mechem and Burdick; Corporation by Clark and Cooley; Torts by Cooley and Erwin; Crimes by Clark; Agency by Steele; Sales by Tiffany and Burdick; Negotiable Instruments by Brannan; Domestic Relations by Long and Woodruff; Master and Servant, Corpus Juris; Common Law Pleading and Practice by Shipman; Code Pleading and Practice by Baylie and Sutherland; Conflict of Laws by Minor; Federal Statutes relating to Judiciary, Professional Ethics by Archer; Howell’s Mining Manual; and Montesque on ‘Spirit of the Laws.’ Several of these authorities are taken from the Hornbook Law Series.”

Petition of Louise A. Steele, In the Matter of Louise A. Steele for Permission to Enter for Examination for Admission to the Bar of the State of Montana undated

Admitted to Practice:

  • Montana 1926
  • California 1931 (about)

Married:

+++++Yes

Children:

+++++1 son

Died:

+++++28 February 2004, in Los Angeles, California

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