Some of the most powerful women I’ve met are successful attorneys.
For a long time, women who work as lawyers have had to fight to prove themselves to be just as smart, efficient, and powerful as men who practice law.
There has been a long line of magnificent female lawyers in the U.S. who have shown how well women can work in law during times when it was considered unusual and unconstitutional for them to practice.
Belva Ann Lockwood was a trailblazer for those women, as she was the first woman admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Belva was born in Royalton, New York, in 1830. Growing up, she was always passionate about breaking norms and wanted to seek higher education. But at the time, she was only deemed eligible for an education that would make her a suitable wife and mother.
So, when Belva was 18, she married local farmer Uriah McNall and had a daughter with him. But when she was only 23 years old, Uriah died, leaving her a widow with no way of supporting herself.
In the mid-1850s, Belva sent her daughter to live with her grandparents while she moved to Lima, New York, so she could study at the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary and Genesee College, known today as Syracuse University.
In school, Belva became more and more passionate about women’s rights and joined the cause of fighting for equal opportunities for men and women. In 1866, she moved to Washington, D.C., with her daughter, where she became more involved in the suffrage movement, attended political meetings, and worked with peace organizations.
During that time, she married her second husband, Reverend Ezekiel Lockwood, a Civil War veteran who supported her interests in law and politics.