Call for Submissions

Dear Columbia Law School Students, Faculty, Administrators, and Alumni,

Columbia Law School, in conjunction with the Columbia Law Women’s Association and the Office of Alumni Relations, invites nominations for a groundbreaking new project, HERstory:  Celebrating the Pioneering Women of Columbia Law School. 

HERstory traces historic FIRSTS for women at Columbia Law School (CLS), highlighting and  celebrating the legacies of the extraordinary women who broke glass ceilings and paved the way  for future generations of women at CLS and in the legal profession. In doing so, we hope to  illuminate the women of CLS whose contributions have advanced the rule of law and led  movements for equality, justice, and basic human dignity. These pioneering women, among  others, will be celebrated in a special, on-campus exhibit in fall 2022.

HERstory will highlight prominent women FIRSTS at CLS. For example:

  • the first woman admitted to the Law School and first woman editor of the Columbia Law Review,  MargaretSpahr ’30;
  • the first Black woman admitted to Columbia Law, Hon. Elreta Melton Alexander-Ralston ’45;
  • the first woman dean, Barbara Aronstein Black ’55; and
  • the first woman tenured professor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59.

The exhibit will also highlight alumnae who achieved FIRSTS in the legal profession. For example:

  • the first woman elected partner at a “Wall Street” law firm, Soia Mentschikoff ’37;
  • the first Jewish woman elected to the House of Representatives, Bella S. Abzug ’44;
  •  the first Black woman appointed to the federal judiciary, Hon. Constance Baker Motley ’46; and
  • the first Latina-American to argue a case before the Supreme Court of the United States, Vilma Socorro Martinez ’67.

Please send your submissions suggesting CLS alumnae FIRSTS via this Google Form to lead researcher and project manager, Ourania S. Yancopoulos ’23. The responses will be shared with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations for archival purposes. The deadline for all submissions is Friday, September 10, 2021, at 5 p.m. EDT.

We hope that you will consider this request and look forward to reviewing your submissions.


Ourania S. Yancopoulos 
B.A., Columbia College ’16; M.S., Columbia Journalism ’21; J.D., Columbia Law ’23
email: [email protected] 
mobile: +1 (914) 980-6881