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Katherine "Kate" Stoneman became the first woman admitted to practice law in New York in 1886, paving the way for thousands who followed. She did so against enormous odds; supporting herself as a teacher, she worked nights, weekends, and summers as a clerk until she became the first female graduate of Albany Law School in 1898.

Even though she passed the New York State Bar Exam, her application to join the bar was rejected because of her gender. She then launched a successful campaign to amend the Code of Civil Procedure to permit the admission of qualified applicants without regard to sex or race.​​

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