Ms. JD Summer Reading: Pinstripes & Pearls by Judith Richards Hope

Pinstripes & Pearls: The Women of the Harvard Law Class of '64 Who Forged an Old-Girl Network and Paved the Way for Future Generations by Judith Richards Hope is not a new book, but it holds up.  And believe it or not I actually found this legal memoir hard to put down.

Hope follows the 14 women who graduated with her from Harvard Law School in 1964 from the moments in their childhood that shaped their path to law school, through those three tough years, and then on to the triumphs and road bumps of their careers.  The stories are compelling and the anecdotes, priceless: "Ladies Day" in 1L Property, Stephen Breyer's law school crush, the women's restroom (or lack thereof), the ranking of "female" below "lower half of class" in law firm hiring practices.

The stories are at once easy to relate to and awe inspiring. These women are judges, leaders of industry, professors, and expert practitioners. But they still struggled with dating, exams, the laundry - the same mundane trials we all experience.  They also came up short sometimes: there are failed marriages, bad LSAT scores, and professional blunders. 

In the end, these women have so much to be proud of individually and so much to show for their network. As they progress through their careers they consistently turn back to one another for support, recommendations, advice, and assistance.  And those moments of collective triumph were the most rewarding to read.  I'm happy to report that the old girls club lives on!



I’ve given copies of Pinstripes & Pearls to many a HLS friend. Great descriptions of what life was like for the first women at HLS—and it’s mind-boggling that it all happened so recently.

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