Take this short quiz to test your knowledge on the history of women in law. Share your result by leaving a reply or using #1stWomenLawyersQuiz.

1 Which of these was not given as a reason for excluding women from the legal profession before 1919?
A woman is not a person
Women did not have the required qualifications
In 1919 it was not necessary to have a degree to become a lawyer.  Solicitors had to serve 5 years of articles (3 years with a degree) in a solicitor’s firm and, as members of the Law Society, sit the solicitors’ final examination. In order to become a barrister it was necessary to join one of the four Inns of Court (Lincoln’s Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple or Gray’s Inn). Student barristers had to pass the bar examination and to keep terms (in other words dine in their Inn) for three years. For graduates, the number of dinners they were required to eat was 36. This rose to 72 dinners for non-graduates.
Women are too illogical and emotional to become lawyers
There were no suitable lavatory facilities
2 Which of these countries was the last to admit women lawyers?
United Kingdom
As Maud Crofts (née Ingram) wrote in The Evening News on 14 March 1914, ‘The opening in this country of the legal profession would hardly be in the nature of an experiment, because almost every other civilised country now possesses women lawyers, and gladly recognises the service they are rendering. England, whom we are accustomed to regard as an example of progress, is still lagging behind in this reform. But Norway, Finland, Denmark, and three of the Swiss Cantons can boast women lawyers; in the Netherlands forty-eight women are practising law, and in Paris and the provinces there are about one hundred women barristers. For the last thirty years, women lawyers have practised in the United States, where there are no fewer than twenty thousand of them at work.’ Compare her thoughts with the assessment the Benchers of Inner Temple made of the impact of women lawyers in other countries.
United States
3 Which of these Bills was passed to become an Act of Parliament?
The Women’s Emancipation Bill 1919
The Barristers and Solicitors (Qualification of Women) Bill 1919
The Legal Profession (Admission of Women) Bill 1912
The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Bill 1919
The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act received Royal Assent on 23 December 1919. This landmark legislation prevented the Law Society and the four Inns of Court from refusing to admit women solely on the grounds of their sex. For many women, who had been campaigning in support of the Women’s Emancipation Bill, which would have introduced universal suffrage on the same terms as men, it did not go far enough. The Barristers and Solicitors (Qualification of Women) Bill was one of three Bills on the question of women’s admission to the legal profession introduced in the House of Lords by Lord Buckmaster. The Legal Profession (Admission of Women) Bill was presented to the House of Commons on 6 May 1912 and 10 April 1913. On 9 July 1913, in answer to a question concerning the case of Bebb v Law Society, the Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith, responded that although he had seen the reports in the Press of Miss Bebb’s case he was unable ‘to give facilities from government for time for the Bill referred to in the latter part of the question.’
4 Where did the first woman in Great Britain and Ireland to practise as a lawyer come from?
In 1920 Madge Easton Anderson was the first woman in Great Britain and Ireland to both qualify and to practise as a lawyer.  In November 1921 Frances Kyle and Averil Deverell were the first women called to the Bar of Ireland.  Ivy Williams, the first woman called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1922, never practised.  The first woman to practise as a solicitor in England was Maud Crofts (née Ingram) and in Wales was Agnes Twiston Hughes.
5 When was the first female judge appointed to the House of Lords/Supreme Court?
In 2004, Baroness Hale became the first woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary to sit in the House of Lords. In 2009, when the House of Lords became the Supreme Court, she became the first female Justice of the Supreme Court. In 2013, Baroness Hale was appointed Deputy President of the Supreme Court and in October 2017 she became the first female President of the Supreme Court.  She was joined on the Bench by Lady Justice Black.  In 1965, Dame Elizabeth Lane was the first woman appointed to the High Court Bench and in 1972 Dame Rose Heilbronn was the first woman to sit as a judge in the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey).

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