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. In October 2009, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
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.
Albany Law School plans many events throughout the year in honor of Kate Stoneman. For further information visit www.katestoneman.org.
Kate Stoneman Day
Kate Stoneman Day is held in honor of the Law School's first female graduate (1898) who was also the first woman admitted to practice law in New York state.
On March 14, 1994, Albany Law School celebrated its first Kate Stoneman Day, presenting the "Kate Stoneman Award" to individuals, like Stoneman, who have demonstrated a commitment to actively seeking change and expanding opportunities for women.
Honorable Judith S. Kaye, Chief Judge of the State of New York, delivered the inaugural Kate Stoneman keynote address during Albany Law School's first Kate Stoneman Day. Other honorees included Helen M. Pratt '28 and Professor Bernard E. Harvith.