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“Pinstripes and Pearls” by Judith Richards Hope (Scribner, 320 pages, $26) Washington lawyer Judith Richards Hope’s new book, Pinstripes and Pearls, about the women of the Harvard Law School class of 1964, is an enjoyable if jumbled tribute to a time and place gone by. At times infuriating, at other times charming, it’s still a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the law, in women’s history, in Harvard and Harvard lore, or in the life of Washington’s power elite � categories which, in Washington, probably include a sizable number of the city’s professionals. The book’s organization is haphazard, at times structured thematically (“Arrival,” “Classes Begin,” “Men in Our Lives,” “Exams”), and at others biographically, in short word-portraits of HLS classmates at various stages of their lives. The latter are particularly annoying to wade through; the experience is like trawling through an excessively long alumni magazine or class reunion compilation, except that you don’t know any of the people. Nonetheless, the organization can’t completely mask the fascinating anecdotes and characters who emerge from Hope’s erratic account. Diana Lorenz, married to a fellow classmate, tells of leaving her study carrel in Harvard’s Langdell Library to cycle hurriedly home in order to catch Julia Child’s television program � determined to acquire the culinary skills of the ideal housewife � then cycling back to her law books. Ann Dudley Cronkhite, one of the most memorable figures of the book, monopolized the attention of everyone in the class � including future Justice Stephen Breyer � with her sassy, sexy clothes and her sharp tongue. Patricia Scott � who’d become Rep. Pat Schroeder � was refreshingly rebellious, wrangling with the deans who insisted that her parents sign a surety bond in order for her to enroll even though Scott had already put herself through college. Hope herself, a preacher’s daughter from the aptly-named Defiance, Ohio, adds her own memorable recollections, and Rosemary Cox contributes her winning (though badly spelled) letters home, providing a sense of the women’s day-to-day lives. Equally absorbing are Hope’s accounts of the professors and deans she and her classmates encountered, including Louis Toepfer, dean of admissions and creator of the LSAT, and two young professors who went on to make fabulous careers for themselves, Derek Bok and Charles Fried. Hope is especially sensitive in her treatment of Prof. W. Barton “Pappy” Leach and Dean Erwin Griswold, both of whom became infamous for their attitude toward women students. Leach refused to allow women to speak except on designated “Ladies’ Days”; Griswold had annual dinners at his home for women students, at which the women were expected to justify over coffee why they were at Harvard, taking the place of an equally qualified man. Hope manages to make these men’s behavior make sense, helping us understand their thinking without letting them entirely off the hook. But Hope is not blind to the sexism that existed at Harvard Law � she gives full detail of the frustrations of being female at Harvard, from the lack of adequate bathrooms to the open hostility from many male classmates, who would refuse to sit next to women in class or at lunch and would accost them in the hallways, asking what right they had to take the place of a man. In such an atmosphere, the women students had to help one another, and Hope conveys their connections well. Since many lived in Harvard’s dormitory for female graduate students, they could easily study together, and often upperclass women like Janet Reno or Marie Driscoll would share notes or coach them about how best to prepare for Ladies’ Day. Hope is proud of her and her classmates’ experiences, and it comes through in her writing. Much of the book has the chirpy, we’re-all-fine-here tone of a family holiday letter, starting with Hope’s lengthy subtitle: “The Women of the Harvard Law School Class of ’64 Who Forged an Old-Girl Network and Paved the Way for Future Generations.” Such grandiose claims turn out ultimately to be too much for the book to substantiate. Evidence of an old-girl network is scant; Hope mentions several occasions when she asked classmates for help in finding jobs, but she gives little indication that other women from the class of ’64 did the same. In fact, Hope’s own biggest achievements � landing her job with Edward Bennett Williams, the famous criminal defense lawyer; securing her first appointment to a corporate board of directors (the first of many such positions, which would eventually culminate in a post as a director of the Harvard Corp.); and securing a partnership at the D.C. office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, where she now works � were accomplished without any help from the 15 women who graduated from Harvard Law in 1964. As for the idea that the class of ’64 paved the way for future generations, Hope displays a stubborn historical myopia. That’s not to denigrate the achievements of Hope and her female classmates. But equally accomplished Harvard Law graduates, whose names Hope sprinkles liberally through her tale, were not actually in Hope’s class. She fudges by claiming Elizabeth Dole (’65) as her own and by mentioning Janet Reno (’63) many times. But surely Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who entered Harvard in 1956, challenges Hope’s assertion that there was something magical about Harvard in the early ’60s. In fact, Hope seems uninformed and at times unduly dismissive of the history of women in the law before 1964. Yale Law School had gone co-ed shortly after World War I, nearly two generations before Hope matriculated at Harvard, while Stanford (Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s alma mater) had admitted both women and men from its founding. NYU had a very long history of graduating successful women lawyers, and by the first decade of the 20th century, two law schools catered exclusively to women students, the Washington College of Law (now American University’s law school) and the Portia Law School (now the New England School of Law). Harvard was actually one of the last law schools to accept women, doing so only in 1950, eight decades after the first woman lawyer was admitted to a state bar. In such circumstances, painting the women of HLS’s class of ’64 as pioneers is a difficult task indeed. Certainly, women attorneys in the ’60s faced serious obstacles, and Hope sketches them with both honesty and humor. At such times, she drops the relentlessly cheerful tone of much of the book and lets real life and real feelings replace her often cutsie-pie veneer. I cheered inwardly when Hope tells how as a summer associate at Hughes, Hubbard in New York she dealt with a client who called her “Honey” and asked her to get him coffee. (She billed him for her half-hour wait in the downstairs coffee shop.) With the same smarts and gumption, she went looking for a job after graduation, talking her way first into a job at the Department of Justice and then using that offer as leverage to get a place at Edward Bennett Williams’ fledgling litigation boutique. She waited half a day to see Williams, and was so worked up when she finally got to talk to the great man that she told him to his face that if he didn’t understand how hard she’d had to work to get from Defiance to Harvard, “you’re not the man I thought you were, and frankly, I wouldn’t work for you on a bet.” (Williams hired her that day.) While working for Williams, she had to deal with an alleged mobster who gave her stolen lingerie as a thank-you gift for her effective legal counsel, and a restaurateur who put a hand on her left leg under the table at dinner one night � at the very moment her co-counsel put his hand on her right leg. Hearing how Hope dealt with situations like these, we understand how she got to where she is today. Her story is memorable and worthwhile and, despite its uneven structure, will certainly be not only of interest to many readers but also of importance to social historians trying to understand how women managed to work their way, over the course of a century, into one of the most masculine and tightknit professions in existence. Beth Johnston is a lawyer and writer in Cambridge, Mass. She did research at law school into the history of women lawyers at Yale.

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