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A WOMAN'S PLACE IS ON THE BENCH
BY JENNIFER BALDINO BONETT
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On her way out of the federal courthouse one day in 1979, Shapiro caught up with fellow Penn Law alumna and newly minted U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Dolores K. Sloviter. They shared those "lonely days" when women jurists were few and far between.

Upon rising to the bench, Sloviter knew she was in a position to set an example, and to yet again strike down the ignorance and prejudice she experienced early in her career, and at law school.

She recalled at the portrait unveiling: "I am confident that you will never be asked, as I was in my admission interview [in 1953]: ‘Why should we give you a place at the Law School when you will not make any contribution to the law and will be taking a seat that should go to a man who will?’ It is only recently that I realized that those words, seared in my memory, undoubtedly contributed to my obsession to devote myself without deviation to the law in the hope that other women would never hear those biting words."

Sloviter shone with promise even as a 1L. She earned acceptance on the Law Review that summer and Penn Law offered her a full scholarship so she could afford to leave her part-time job and concentrate on the Law Review.

Even with her Penn Law degree in hand, Sloviter found no welcome mat awaiting her. "I am convinced that I wasn’t hired because I was a woman; it was in spite of the fact that I was a woman," says Sloviter of her entry into the Philadelphia firm of Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish, Kohn & Levy, where she became the first female partner. "I think I owe that to [senior partner] Harold E. Kohn L’37, who was interested in what you could do, not who you were."

 
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