13 Pioneering Women in American Law: Alta Hulett
Image from the Chicago Bar Association.
Something of a wunderkind, Alta Hulett helped draft legislation for the Illinois state legislature which produced the nation’s first anti-sex-discrimination law on March 22, 1872, when she was 17 years old—after she had already passed the bar exam. Though she was required to take the exam a second time after the law passed, she was admitted to the state bar as the first woman attorney in Illinois on June 6, 1873 at the age of 19. She set up an office in downtown Chicago which enjoyed success until her death at 23 of a heart condition.
“Her accomplishments were so outstanding that the all-male Chicago Bar Association held a memorial service in her honor and passed a resolution lauding her ability as an attorney,” says the Chicago Bar Association website.