December 2013Volume 19Number 3PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)

A view from the Chair

My husband and son gave me a Kindle Fire last Christmas. That was either one of the best or one of the worst gifts I have ever received! Although I miss the feel and smell of “real” books, I must say that my extracurricular reading has tremendously increased in the last year, and I don’t regret one little bit the time I take for that indulgence.

I recently became a member of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and, as I was browsing its Web site, I came upon the Ms. JD Book Reviews column. After reading each book review, I decided to list the books that interested me to share with you. For the full review of each book, go to the NAWL website and click on Ms. JD Summer Book Series in the right hand column. The books listed below are in no special order. Please check out these books……you owe yourself that luxury now and again. Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Women Who Don’t Wait In Line: Break the Mold, Lead the Way, by Reshma Saujani---(we’re encouraged to take risks in our lives)

Rebels at the Bar, by Jill Norgren---(examines in depth the careers of the first 8 women attorneys in the US.)

Women in Law, by Dr. Cynthia Fuchs Epstein---(this is the 30th anniversary edition of a book we all read or should have read, with a forward by Prof. Deborah Rhode, Stanford U.)

Rebuilding Justice: Civil Courts In Jeopardy and Why You Should Care, by Dirk Olin and former Colorado Supreme Court Justice, Hon. Rebecca Love Kourlis---(Justice Kourlis is also founder and executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the Legal System.)

The Road to Independence: 101 Women’s Journeys to Starting Their Own Firms---(may be purchased through ABA website)

In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate, by Nancy Gertner

Women Lawyers: The Trials of Clara Foltz, by Barbara Babcock---(first female attorney in California)

Success Strategies for Women Lawyers, by Laura Stiller Rikleen

Law and Reorder: Legal Industry Solutions for Restructure, Retention, Promotion, and Work/Life Balance, by Debbie Epstein Henry

No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change the Way We Think About Power and Leadership, by Gloria Feldt

Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women’s Changing Lives, by Anna Fels

More Than 85 Broads: Women Making Career Choices, Taking Risks, and Defining Success on Their Own Terms, by Janet Hanson

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women, by Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn---(this has been on many book club lists in the past couple of years)

Pinstripes & Pearls, by Judith Richards Hope

Presumed Equal: What America’s Top Women Lawyers Really Think About Their Firms, by Lindsay Blohm and Ashley Riveira

Women Lawyers: Rewriting the Rules by Mona Harrington

Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids, & Life in a Half-Changed World, by Peggy Orenstein---(what else is there?)

The Young Lawyer’s Jungle Book: A Survival Guide, 2nd Edition, by Thane Josef Messinger

Sandra Day O’Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice, by Joan Biskupic

The Lion, the Fox & the Eagle, by Carol Off---(fascinating account of Canadian judge, Hon. Louise Arbour, who was appointed Chief Prosecutor for War Crimes for international criminals in the United Nations Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.)

I challenge each member of this Committee to pick one of the books listed above or one of your own choosing, e-mail the members with the book you’re reading so we don’t have duplicates, and write a book review for an upcoming issue of the Catalyst! ■


Mary F. Petruchius is a solo general practitioner in Sycamore, IL. She is the 2013-2014 Chair of the Standing Committee on Women & the Law. Mary is also a member of the Diversity Leadership Council and the Child Law Section Council for 2013-2014. She is a proud Gold Fellow of the Illinois Bar Foundation. She can be reached at and her Web site is

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