By the time they went to law school at Harvard
and Penn and BU in the 1970s, women found
female colleagues, and when they interviewed
with firms, they found one or two women
forebears. “I felt I was accepted as a lawyer,”
recalls Faye Cohen, a 1972 law school graduate
now practicing in Philadelphia.
But Cohen and her peers still had battles to fight.
One opposing counsel in a long-ago arbitration
hearing told Martha Hartle Munsch, now an equity
partner at Reed Smith in Pittsburgh, “Shut up,
sweetie”—and the male arbitrator let it slide. Some
women endured male colleagues making jokes
about their engagement rings and bras; male
professors going overboard with rape examples;
male judges sneering at briefcases and pantsuits.
“I can still hear [the ‘shut up’ comment] ringing,”
Here are some of their stories.