Honoring Women at UVA Law

Honoring Women at UVA Law

Tompkins Profile

Elizabeth N. Tompkins '23 earned a bachelor’s degree from Westhampton College and a master’s degree from Columbia University before she applied to study law at Virginia in 1920. After clerking for two years she moved to Richmond to start her practice, and played a leadership role at the University of Richmond. She also served as commissioner of accounts for Hanover County and commissioner in chancery for circuit courts in Hanover and Richmond.

Linda Fairstein '72

Linda Fairstein '72 is one of America's foremost legal experts on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence, and a New York Times best-selling author of more than a dozen crime novels. Before turning to writing full-time, Fairstein was chief of the pioneering Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

Beth Garrett

Elizabeth Garrett ’88 was the first woman president of Cornell University before her untimely death in 2016. She received UVA's 2016 Distinguished Alumna Award. Garrett had previously served as provost at the University of Southern California, on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School, and as a visiting professor at UVA Law and Harvard Law, among others.

Kim Michele Keenan

Kim Michele Keenan '87 recently served as general counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People before becoming president and CEO of the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council. She has also served as president of the District of Columbia Bar, the National Bar Association and the Washington Bar Association.

Julia Smith Gibbons

Julia Smith Gibbons ’75 joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2002 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. She was first nominated to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, when she was confirmed to serve as a judge for the Western District of Tennessee. Gibbons joined the judiciary after a career in private practice and after serving as a legal adviser. 

Katherine Redford

Katherine Redford '95 is a founder and director of EarthRights International, an advocacy group focused on human rights and the environment. In 2006, Redford was selected as an Ashoka Global Fellow, and in 2009, she launched an institute to train and build a network of public interest lawyers from China, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma and Laos.

Catherine Keating

Catherine Keating ’87 is the president and chief executive officer of Commonfund, a leading asset manager focusing principally on nonprofit and public-sector organizations. The company manages $25 billion in assets for hundreds of institutional clients. Prior to joining Commonfund, Keating held a variety of senior positions over two decades with JPMorgan.

Penelope W. Kyle

Penelope W. Kyle '79 became Radford University's sixth, and first female, president when she took office in 2005; she retired in 2016. Previously, she was director of the Virginia Lottery and practiced law at McGuireWoods in Richmond, Virginia, before serving a 13-year stint at CSX Corporation.

M. Elizabeth Magill

M. Elizabeth Magill ’95 is the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and dean of Stanford Law School. Before her appointment to Stanford, Magill was the Joseph Weintraub–Bank of America Distinguished Professor of Law, the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor and vice dean at UVA Law.

Karen Rothenberg

Karen Rothenberg '79, the Marjorie Cook Professor of Law at the University of Maryland School of Law, was the first woman to serve as dean (1999-2009) in the school's 185-year history. Rothenberg was a member of the first graduating class of women at Princeton University

Louise Sams

Louise Sams ’85 is executive vice president and general counsel for Turner. Sams directs a staff of lawyers located in Atlanta; Los Angeles; London; Hong Kong; Seoul; Mumbai, India; Tokyo; Sydney; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and São Paulo. Prior to joining Turner Broadcasting System in 1993, Sams was a corporate associate at White & Case in New York. 

 

Patricia Hatler '80

Patricia Hatler '80 is executive vice president and chief legal and governance officer for Nationwide, one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Hatler previously served as general counsel and corporate secretary for Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia.

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano '83 is the president of the University of California. Napolitano has also served as secretary of Homeland Security from 2009-13, as governor of Arizona from 2003-09, as attorney general of Arizona from 1998-2003 and as U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona from 1993-97.

Elaine R. Jones

Elaine R. Jones '70 is a prominent civil rights attorney and activist. She became Justice Thurgood Marshall's successor as president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the first woman to hold this position.

Gene Dahmen

Gene Dahmen '67 was the first woman president of the Boston Bar Association and the first woman president of the University of Virginia Alumni Association. She is now senior counsel at the law firm Verrill Dana in Boston.

Nancy L. Buc

Nancy L. Buc '69 was a partner in the law firm Buc & Beardsley in Washington, D.C., and in 1980-81 served as general counsel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She also served in posts at the Federal Trade Commission and was a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Buc had a distinguished legal career, with a  focus on health care policy and government service.

Lillian R. BeVier

Lillian R. BeVier joined the University of Virginia School of Law faculty in 1973, and five years later became the first tenured woman on the faculty. In 1984 she became the first female chaired professor. BeVier was the first non-graduate and the first faculty member elected to the Law School Foundation Board of Trustees.

Delores Boyd

Delores Boyd '75 retired as federal magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, following a tenure of 19 months as presiding judge of the Montgomery Municipal Court and more than 25 years of private law practice.

Deborah Platt Majoras

Deborah Platt Majoras '89 is vice president and general counsel of Procter & Gamble, and previously served as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. Before being appointed to the Federal Trade Commission, Majoras was principal deputy assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

Barbara Jeremiah

Barbara Jeremiah '77 serves on the Board of Directors of Equitable Resources Inc., and the Board of Trustees of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Jeremiah served as the executive vice president of Alcoa from 2002-08, where she headed the company's corporate development activities.

Mary Bauer

Mary Bauer '90 is the executive director of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. LAJC provides legal representation for low-income individuals in Virginia. Prior to joining the center, Bauer was legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama.

Motz Profile

Judge Diana Gribbon Motz '68 serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She began her judicial career on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and was chief of litigation and assistant attorney general in the Maryland Office of the Attorney General.

Cleo Powell

Cleo Powell '82 is a justice on the Supreme Court of Virginia. She was elected to the court in 2011 after having served on the Court of Appeals of Virginia for three years. She holds the honor of being the first African-American woman to serve on either bench in the Commonwealth.

In 1920, the same year American women obtained the right to vote, the first female students matriculated at the University of Virginia School of Law. Elizabeth N. Tompkins of Albemarle County, Virginia, was the first to graduate in 1923. After graduating, Tompkins clerked for two years in Charlottesville before relocating to Richmond for a distinguished 54-year legal career. She was the first woman admitted to the Virginia State Bar.

Since then, more than 6,000 women have enrolled and pursued their studies at the Law School. As students, women have been leaders at the Law School, editing academic journals, winning moot court competitions, earning fellowships and awards, and directing student organizations. As graduates, women have been leaders of the bar, business and academia. In 1995, UVA Law women students and graduates led a tribute to the women who came before them, as well as those who would follow, by designating and funding the Law Alumnae Lobby, located to the right of the school’s main entrance. In 2004, they paid further tribute to all alumnae by creating and funding the Law Alumnae Scholarship, one of the most generously endowed scholarships at the Law School.

These alumnae represent excellence in public service and private practice, the judiciary and the academy, and corporate counsel and business. They represent the best of the University of Virginia School of Law.