Clarence Darrow & Women Lawyers

21 December 1916 — Plain Dealer

+++++++++++++++“When Portia Wields a Quill” by Lora Kelly

+++++“A new magazine called ‘Oyez’ managed and edited by women has begun publication in New York. The purpose of the magazine, according to its founders, is to call attention of women to their lack of legal status in this country and to open an inquiry column through which they may be advised free of charge.
+++++That is a daring piece of effrontery on their part, after Mr. Clarence Darrow, famed defender of the oppressed, had definitely settled their status in the profession.

Clarence Darrow (Library of Congress)

Clarence Darrow (Library of Congress)

+++++‘You can’t be shining lights at the bar,’ said Mr. Darrow, ‘because you are too kind.’
+++++‘You can never be corporation lawyers because you are not cold-blooded. You have not a high grade of intellect.
+++++‘You can never expect to get the fees that men get. I doubt if you will ever make a living. Of course you can be divorce lawyers. That is a useful field.’
+++++Somehow Mr. Darrow’s remarks sound strangely familiar. In the early part of the nineteenth century precisely the same logic was brought to bear upon the advocates of higher education for women.
+++++‘Send a woman to college? The very idea! Education will unfit a woman for motherhood, make her less companionable to man, and destroy her feminine bloom.’
+++++The ‘feminine bloom,’ whatever that is, failed to suffer. Women remained fundamentally the same as far as their sex was concerned, but mightily improved in matters of the intellect. Even if the pioneer institutions did make mistakes, sometimes ludicrous ones, such as the providing of bootjacks for the girls at Vassar, they blazed the way for education of young men and women on an equal basis.
+++++Woman has ever had an instinctive fear of the law. Having nothing to do with its making, nothing to do with its administration, not ever permitted to study it in some quarters, and coming in contact with it only as ‘the prisoner at the bar,’ is it any wonder that she regards it as uncharted territory!
+++++The Portias who are endeavoring to enlighten their sisters as to what is nominated in the bond apparently believe that what woman wants is ‘not power over man but more power over herself.'”

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