This September, Harvard Law School commemorated 65 years since women first graduated from Harvard Law School. Since that historic milestone, the number of women at HLS has grown dramatically from 13 women in the Class of 1953 to women making up nearly 50 percent of the incoming class in 2018.
This past weekend, on Sept. 14-15, hundreds of Harvard Law alumnae gathered on campus for Celebration 65 to commemorate this anniversary and celebrate HLS alumnae’s contributions to the legal profession and society.
In the “Countless Stories” video series, alumni from across the generations share their HLS experience and explain the difference their legal education has made in their lives.
In this segment, Frederica Brenneman ’53 shares her Harvard Law experience as a member of the first HLS class to admit women. In 1967 Frederica Brenneman was working as a law clerk to the Connecticut legislature’s judiciary committee when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that juveniles were entitled to constitutional due process. In the wake of In Re Gault, the state’s juvenile court doubled in size and Brenneman was appointed, the second woman on the bench in Connecticut history. She became judge in Superior Court when the state trial courts merged in 1978. In her long career Brenneman has specialized in abuse and neglect cases, pushed for stronger legal protections for children, shaped clear statewide protocols and case law, trained innumerable judges, and educated caseworkers, attorneys, parents, and the public on court procedures. Read more about Brenneman’s career in public service and her role as a consulting judge in the T.V. series “Judging Amy,” starring her daughter Amy Brenneman, in Harvard Law Bulletin’s Summer 2000 article “Brennemans on the Bench.”