Presiding Justice Judith McConnell of California’s Fourth Appellate District was one of five women selected to receive an award established by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in 1991 to celebrate female lawyers for their professional accomplishments and support of other women in the legal profession. The award is named in honor of Margaret Brent, the first female lawyer who arrived in the colonies in 1638.
Justice McConnell was a founder and first president of the Lawyers Club of San Diego, a feminist bar association that successfully advocated for the ratification by California of the Equal Rights Amendment. She was also a founder and served as president of the National Association of Women Judges. She is a member of the San Diego Women’s Hall of Fame.
Receiving the award from American Bar Association President Bob Carlson at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Justice McConnell remarked on the award’s meaning to her: “It means a lot. It is recognition for the many years that I have worked to improve the legal profession, both for women lawyers and for women in the community that we can better serve. And for men, because men are better served when the courts are fair and impartial.”