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Book Reviews: Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz
By Samantha Buckingham
Book Reviews columns.
Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz
by Barbara Babcock
Standford University Press (2012)
In Woman Lawyer, Barbara Babcock recounts the true-life story of a pioneer woman lawyer — Clara Shortridge Foltz. At the turn of the century, Foltz was an inventor of the public defender, a crusader for suffrage, and a trial lawyer extraordinaire. Very little was known about Foltz until Babcock researched and assembled this information about Foltz’s life, career, and activism.
With only two years of formal education, Clara Foltz made her way to the West in the 1870s. She was abandoned by her husband and left to raise five children. It is hard to imagine today how difficult it would have been at that time to overcome such limited education and familial responsibility. Foltz faced adversity with a spirit and confidence that Babcock brings to life with the details of her trials, speeches, and engagement with the press. In addition to being a feminist and a trial lawyer who achieved local f
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