Clara Shortridge

In honor of Women's Equality Day, read about California's first female lawyer.

Clara Shortridge Foltz was a trial lawyer and pioneer of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. 

  • In 1878, she was the first woman to join the bar and practice law in California at age 29.
  • She became the first female deputy district attorney for the city of Los Angeles.
  • Foltz paved the way for women to attend UC Hastings Law School and to pursue law as a career.
  • She is credited for introducing the concept of the “public defender.”
  • In 2002, the Los Angeles criminal courthouse was renamed after Foltz to commemorate her contributions to California.