First women LLBs centenary

2 April 2009 was the 100th anniversary of the graduation of the first women in Scotland to take an LLB.

width=127Eveline MacLaren (left) and Josephine Gordon Stuart (below right) entered the Faculty of Law at Edinburgh University in October 1906 and emerged with their degrees after width=170stellar performances throughout their three academic years in Old College.  But they could not enter the legal profession at the time; it took a world war to knock down the barriers that the law had erected to ensure that the profession remained a male preserve.  Even then neither woman ever became a fully fledged lawyer; but throughout their lives they had close links to and indeed involvement with the legal profession.  They both died in 1955, having also been born within a few days of each other in November 1883.

Edinburgh Law School will be marking this centenary with a number of events later in 2009, while a paper describing and assessing the lives of Eveline and Josephine will be published in the forthcoming Miscellany VI volume of the Stair Society.

The first female LLB graduate of Glasgow University was Madge Easton Anderson in 1919 (who in 1920 became the first woman to be admitted as a law agent in Scotland), while Aberdeen's first woman LLB was Elizabeth Barnett, who graduated with the degree in 1921.  She later became first (in 1947) a partner in A C Morrison & Richards (Aberdeen), then senior partner of the firm before she retired at the end of 1966.