Tulane law students hear pioneering women lawyers in Paris

July 23, 2013 12:00 PM

Linda P. Campbell

Ruth Bader Ginsburg started law school as one of nine women among more than 500 at Harvard University. At the time, Harvard’s business school didn’t even admit women, she told Tulane Law School students, professors and alumni gathered in Paris for a July 12 panel discussion that capped off the Tulane Law School summer Institute of European Legal Studies.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Meyer, Vernon Palmer

“Today, all doors are open to women,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said at the Tulane Law School’s summer institute in Paris. Here, she speaks with David Meyer, center, dean of the law school, and law professor Vernon Palmer. (Photo by Pascal Pierrou)

Ginsburg spent two years at Harvard Law School while her daughter, Jane, was an infant. When her husband, Martin Ginsburg, got his law degree and landed a job in New York, she finished her studies at Columbia Law School, graduating in 1959.

At that time, she said, “employers were up front” about not wanting female lawyers. “Today, all doors are open to women.”

As a lawyer, Ginsburg knocked down laws that unreasonably treated the sexes differently, winning five of six gender equality cases she argued at the Supreme Court between 1973 and 1976.

She had served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia 13 years when President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1993.

With a pair of lectures, two receptions and a discussion on women in the legal profession, Ginsburg highlighted the return of the Tulane summer program to Paris.

During the three-week program, hosted by Paris-Dauphine University, 22 students covered topics such as comparisons between U.S. and European approaches to judicial review and the impact of European Union antitrust and merger rules on U.S. corporations.

Speakers included Noelle Lenoir, a former French government minister and conseiller at the French Constitutional Court; Judge Margaret McKeown of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Columbia University law professor Jane Ginsburg, a specialist on copyright law and Justice Ginsburg’s daughter.

Tulane students at the Paris program and alumni in Europe continued visiting with the panelists at a reception hosted by Tulane alumni at the Paris office of White & Case.

Linda P. Campbell is director of communications for the Tulane Law School.

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