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In her remarkable new book about the handful of women in the Harvard Law School class of 1964 — “Pinstripes & Pearls,” celebrated last week by young women associates and other colleagues at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker — Judith Richards Hope writes: “We are, in Ellen Goodman’s phrase, the ‘go-for-the-prize generation,’ the trailblazers, the glass-ceiling shatterers. We accomplished a lot, more than we ever dreamed when we began. We are also the ‘suck it up’ generation — almost never showing the pain we often felt at the slights and insults we encountered, never admitting how tired we often were, never quitting — even when those who loved us thought we should.” The legal world of 1964 was utterly and unfairly different. For instance, only five years earlier, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was looking for her first job out of Columbia Law School. No Manhattan firm would have her. Yet today, noted Aliza R. Cinamon, 28, a corporate associate at Proskauer Rose, “There are hundreds of women at all the big firms.” Cinamon, a graduate of Brooklyn Law School, said she has never once in her career encountered anything in the way of sex discrimination or harassment. In fact, she never considered such normalcy until Hope’s book. “I’m grateful I don’t even have to think about it,” said Cinamon, whose father and husband are lawyers, as well as her brother-in-law and several uncles. “I never had to prove myself just because I’m a woman.” Hope and her cronies of ’64 most definitely had to prove themselves at an institute whose first president, Charles Eliot, declared in 1869: “[Harvard] will not receive women into the college proper, nor into any school … The world knows next to nothing about the natural mental capacities of the female sex.” By contrast, Catherine M. Clayton, a 32-year-old litigation associate at Paul Hastings, chose to join the firm six years ago in large part because the head of her department was a woman. “Because of [Hope and her Harvard Law classmates], women of my generation don’t have to put up with discrimination or harassment,” said Clayton, a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. “And there are great disincentives to that sort of thing.” Clayton was inspired by the vignettes Hope provided in “Pinstripes & Pearls,” particularly by those in which women lawyers of 1964 had to summon inner strength and poise to counter unpleasantness. “In so many situations, taking a more in-your-face attitude wouldn’t have helped them,” said Clayton. “They were certainly strong women, and weren’t afraid to show their strength. But in difficult situations, they used humor to address problems.” For example, Hope describes in her book the problem of George Bullwinkle, a male classmate at Harvard who one day plopped himself down amongst the few women students at the Harkness Commons breakfast table and said, “You know, women really don’t belong in law school. They’re not tough enough. They’ll never stick with it.” After a long moment, one of the women at the table laughed at the earnest young man and declared, “Balls, Bullwinkle!” From that day forward, Hope reports in the book, the women of Harvard Law ’64 had their rallying cry. DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE But by the time Sharon L. Ferko enrolled at Harvard Law, the cry was no longer necessary. “My experience was drastically different, and thankfully so,” said Ferko, 37, a business and finance partner at the New York office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and a 1990 graduate of Harvard Law. “I would guess that 40 percent of my class were women. Although the professors were mostly men, I felt they treated us equally. It’s been the same in the law firm environment I’ve experienced.” Both Ferko and Clayton are concerned, however, with the dearth of women partners at law firms. “There are so many more of us eligible [for partnerships],” said Clayton. “But unless our gender roles change dramatically, we’re always going to have this problem: Do we spend more time on our career, or more time with our children? There is always going to be that tug.” “I’m hopeful that this will be an evolutionary process,” said Ferko. “But for the time being, the burden [of child-rearing] still falls more heavily on women.” Hope suggests in her book that this final challenge might well take a long while to resolve. After all, she writes, “We know that our world still values wise old men more than wise old women.”

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