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Pinstripes & Pearls by Judith Richards Hope New York: Scribner; 293 pages Every fall during the 1950s and 1960s, Harvard Law School dean Erwin Griswold invited the first-year women law students to his house for dinner and discussion. In 1961 Judith Richards Hope and her fellow female 1Ls had their turn at Griswold’s house. The dean, a Yankee version of Hannibal Lecter, proceeded to grill each of his guests after the meal. “Why are you at Harvard Law School taking the place of a man?” he asked. That’s the question Hope tries to answer in Pinstripes & Pearls, a history of the 15 female members of Harvard Law School’s class of 1964. She chronicles her classmates’ overachieving childhoods, their struggles with discrimination, and their excruciating efforts to balance traditional ideals of motherhood and domesticity with their modern-day professional ambitions. The women are fascinating, but Pinstripes doesn’t always do them justice. Hope dwells too much on her own experience, doesn’t use enough independent sources in her research, and covers well-trod ground � after all, the lives of Harvard Law School students have been written about at length. Additionally, her focus on the class of 1964 seems odd. It wasn’t the first graduating class at the law school to include women; that was the class of 1953. And it wasn’t the first to achieve gender parity; that distinction belongs to the class of 2002. But 1964 was Hope’s class, and as the alumnae near their fortieth reunion, she wanted to write this book. Despite these defects, the profiles of this groundbreaking group are worth reading. The all-stars include former congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, Judge Judith Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Hope, who was the first female partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker. Their war stories are a reminder to the professional moms in the generations that followed of how hard their predecessors worked, and of how they did it without the technology (such as cell phones and laptops) and legal protections (like the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act) that we take for granted today. Bias Every Step Of The Way Sexism slithers through the story. During law school Hope and her classmates meekly tolerated various forms of discrimination. There were only two ladies’ rooms at Harvard Law, for example, each at opposite ends of the campus. Other slights were more painful than inconvenient. One law professor, W. Barton “Pappy” Leach, would call on his female students only during the few class sessions he designated “ladies’ days.” Sadly, this was good preparation for the workforce of the 1960s. When it came time to look for a job, women attorneys frequently found that they were passed over, particularly at established law firms. But the alumnae of ’64, whom Hope calls “the suck-it-up generation,” persevered and found other outlets for their prodigious talents. For many, that meant leaving the law. Though they faced considerable challenges at work, Hope and her classmates discovered that gender bias was hardest to overcome at home. Like many women of their generation, they felt obligated to do most of the cooking, housekeeping, and parenting in their homes. Superwomen years before the term came into use, they didn’t know any other way. The few who stayed at big firms had a particularly difficult time absorbing this one-two punch. In the most moving section of the book, the author quotes from a letter she asked her adult daughter Miranda to write about Hope’s parenting skills. “Many women work,” Miranda, a teacher and singer, wrote. “But your particular job and the training that led to your success in this job gave birth to � or gave reinforcement to � a woman too invincible, too pushy, too isolated, too sedentary, too tired. A woman I have never seen truly laugh or truly cry. A woman without needs. A tank.” Hope confesses that Miranda’s letter made her “indescribably sad.” If she had to do it over again, the 62-year-old author says, she would have taken her life a little easier, and aimed her professional aspirations a little lower. However, she loves “being a lawyer, representing clients, and figuring out how to win for them.” And, above all, she had to honor “commitments to myself, my parents, and my alma mater.” That dedication, surely, would have made even Dean Griswold proud.
Sparkman is the editor in chief of Corporate Counsel.

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