By Ms. JD Summer Book Series • May 18, 2008•Ms. JD, Ms. JD Book Reviews
Pinstripes & Pearls: The Women of the Harvard Law Class of '64 Who Forged an Old Girl Network and Paved the Way for Future Generations
Author Judith Richards Hope, a member of the Harvard Law Class of '64, states in the introduction to her book:
"[W]e didn't fully understand what we were getting into - what obstacles we would encounter, what trails we would blaze.... We just knew, from an early age, that we wanted both to serve our country, help make our world a little better and a little safer - and to marry; rear honest, happy children; and lead fulfilling personal lives - just like our mothers."
In some ways, the concerns of Hope and her classmates are so similar to those of women in the law today. Issues of work-life balance, career success, and negotiating law school and legal careers as women, figure prominently in the book. The trail-blazing nature of the women of the Class of '64, however, stands out.
In 1961, when Hope and her classmates applied to law school, modern civil rights legislation had not yet been passed, and women candidates were not generally regarded as desirable future lawyers. In fact, only 15 women graduated in the Harvard law class of 1964 from a class of 513 students.
The qualities that led these women to succeed both at law school and in their careers, including determination, perseverance, and a high level of dedication to the practice of law, are truly inspirational to aspiring lawyers and practicing lawyers alike. What is also noteworthy is the way in which the women of the HLS class of '64 balanced their careers and their personal and family lives.
Ultimately, however, what stands out is the 'old-girl' network that Hope and her classmates created. With organizations such as Ms. JD establishing modern networks of women attorneys and law students, the anecdotes and stories in Hope's book provide fuel for women attorneys, both current and aspiring. This book is a great addition to any summer reading list, especially for those who will be sporting their pinstripes with their pearls.
Judith Richards Hope became the first female associate director of the White House Domestic Council in 1975. In 1981, she cofounded the Washington office of Paul Hastings, where she still practices. She was the firm's first female partner and the first female executive committee member. In 1988, she was the first women elected to the Union Pacific board. In 1989, she became the first woman named to the Harvard Corporation, the university's senior governing board. Ms. Hope has taught law at Pepperdine, Georgetown, the University of Richmond, and Harvard.