By Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Legal Education and Social Responsibility / The Moral Role of the Lawyer

October 24, 1984

Legal Education and Social Responsibility / The Moral Role of the Lawyer
Type: Law review article, Speech
Source: Fordham L. Rev., Fordham University, New York, NY
Citation: 53 Fordham L. Rev. 659 (1985)
Occasion: Dedication of the new wing of Fordham University School of Law
Notes: Date is approximate

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I am very pleased to be present here today, October 24, 1984, for the dedication of Fordham Law School's expanded facility. I think I should acknowledge and thank in part for my invitation Fordham's Rec tor in 1918. That year the faculty faced the issue of women's rights. The minutes of a May 1918 faculty meeting note that shortly before the close of the meeting, the Rector "asked for a discussion of the advisability of matriculating women in the Law School. After listening to the opinion of the various faculty members he announced that he would take the 'matter under advisement' and notify the faculty of his decision."1 A postscript to the minutes adds: "In a letter from the Rev. Rector... under the date of July 6, 1918, he writes, 'it has been decided that, owing to objections raised against it, women will not be admitted to classes of the Law School this Fall.' " 2 The minutes, however, contain a terse unexplained amendment: "In September, 1918 the Rev. Rector authorized the matriculation of women and ordered the insertion of this fact to be put in the newspapers."3

I like to think that your former Rector not only helped advance the cause of women in the law, but that he would have been pleased that a woman was invited to give remarks today.

Your new law school building is most impressive and attractive. Before moving to its present site in 1961, the Law School had a rather nomadic existence in quarters that

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