Rough Road to Justice

This hardbound book, the first published on the subject, describes the many “firsts” of women lawyers in Texas. Walk in their shoes as author Betty Trapp Chapman tells of how they learned the law, established professional careers, and learned to balance their private lives with the demands of being Texas lawyers.

Imagine a time when married women could not buy or sell property or enter contracts in their own names; a time before women were allowed to vote or to serve on juries; a time when women, although making inroads into fields such as medicine and education, were considered too gentle and sympathetic to be capable of succeeding in the aggressive, competitive nature of courtrooms. Now imagine Edith W. Locke in 1902 El Paso County, fully aware of the seemingly insuperable legal and cultural barriers in her path, applying to the courts for admission to the bar—and earning her license.

This is the trailhead of Rough Road to Justice: The Journey of Women Lawyers in Texas. Historian Betty Trapp Chapman serves as able guide from Locke’s bold first steps into the legal field, through the all-female 1925 special Texas Supreme Court and the El Paso-born Sandra Day O’Connor’s 1981 appointment to the United States Supreme Court, to the American Bar Association’s 2006 selection of Kim Askew to chair its largest section, and to all points between. The journey is far from over, but Chapman’s account of the road traveled thus far not only records where women lawyers in Texas have been but also, in doing so, provides momentum and a sharper focus for the course that remains ahead.


Click Here


Chapter One – Pushing the Gate Open
Chapter Two – Traveling the Narrow Road
Chapter Three – Jumping Hurdles
Chapter Four – Forging Ahead
Chapter Five – Serving the Public Interest
Chapter Six – Standing for Election
Chapter Seven – Ascending to the Bench
Chapter Eight – Taking Charge 186


Appendix A State Bar of Texas Women Fifty-Year Lawyers
Appendix B Ma’at Justice Award
Appendix C Gertrude E. Rush Award
Appendix D Margaret Brent Award
Appendix E Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Excellence
Appendix F Sarah T. Hughes Women Lawyers of Achievement Award
Appendix G Women Attorneys: Attorney Statistical Profile (2006–07)


Purchase Rough Road to Justice