Thursday, November 12, 2009

Margaret Brent, the real first woman attorney in Maryland

According to majority of sources I've come in contact regarding Etta Maddox, Margaret Brent is referred to as Maryland's first woman lawyer, however, the sources always point out that the actual first woman attorney in Maryland was Margaret Brent. According to the book, Notable Maryland Women,

In Maryland and in other North American settlements most litigants depended upon their own legal ability or on that of experienced but unprofessional attorneys until well into the eighteenth century. Nor was it unusual for women to appear in the colonial courts.[1]

Margaret Brent is not only known as Maryland's first woman lawyer, she could also be known as a suffragist. According to the Maryland State Archives website, "on January 21, 1648, Margaret Brent appeared before the assembly and requested two votes. She asked one for herself as a landowner and one as Lord Baltimore's attorney."[2]

[1]Masson, Margaret W. "Margaret Brent, 1601-1671: Lawyer, Landholder-Entrepreneur." In Notable Maryland Women, edited by Winifred G. Helmes, 44. Cambridge: Tidewater Publishers, 1977.

[2] The Maryland State Archives. "Margaret Brent (ca.1601-ca. 1671)." (accessed November 29, 2009).

New River Notes. Picture of Margaret Brent, (accessed November 29, 2009).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In re Maddox

I added a link on the left of the page labeled as In re Maddox.  This link will lead you to the case before the Maryland Court of Appeals regarding Etta Maddox's application for admission to the Maryland State Bar and the Court of Appeals decision.  I found this case on Westlaw.[1]

This case is important because it is regarding Etta Maddox's application to be admitted to the Maryland Bar.  During this time, women were not permitted to practice law in Maryland.  The Maryland Court of Appeals decided that " we are not to be understood as disparaging the laudable ambition of females to become lawyers.  It is for the general assembly to declare what class of person shall be admitted to the bar.  We have no power to enact legislation.  The courts can only interpret what the legislature adopts. "  

This article is from the Baltimore Sun.  It announces the Maryland Court of Appeals decision to not admit Etta Maddox to the Bar.  Also, it announces Ms. Maddox's plans to take the issue to legislature. [2]

[1] In re Maddox,  55 L.R.A. 298, 93 Md. 727, 50 A.487 (1901).