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History

A Brief History of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association

by Barbara H. Grcevic

The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association (BWBA) was founded on April 11, 1918, two years before the enactment of the nineteenth amendment to the United

States Constitution which granted American women the right to vote. In 1918, women in New York State were not eligible for jury duty and women lawyers were a rarity. A large number of women lawyers were solo practitioners because the established firms refused to hire them. Many bar associations, including the Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA), excluded women as members and the BBA, for example, continued to do so until 1940 when it finally amended its bylaws to permit all lawyers to become members.

Since its founding, the BWBA has provided a professional network and support system for women attorneys, afforded legal education programs to our members and all lawyers, and engaged in efforts helpful to the broader community. The BWBA is a proud chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY). Through its affiliation with WBASNY, the Association has played a key role in shaping many local and national laws affecting women and, by participating in WBASNY’s International Law Committee, the BWBA has expanded its influence in global matters involving women’s rights.

The BWBA routinely participates in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, thereby raising funds for the American Cancer Society. We conduct an October Courthouse Alert to increase public awareness about breast cancer. The BWBA organizes a Fall clothing drive, in conjunction with The Relief Boutique, to benefit economically disadvantaged women returning to the workforce. At our year-end holiday party, we donate toys for the children of women living at a local domestic violence shelter and we raise funds to benefit the women at that shelter.

The vision of our founders in 1918 continues to be relevant today and inspires an organization dedicated to equality, diversity, fairness and opportunity for women lawyers and for all women. 

Certificate of Incorporation



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123 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
| Phone: 347-790-0300

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