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Women leaders featured at Tulane Law panel Oct. 14

October 01, 2013

Though the legal profession hasn’t always been welcoming to women, Tulane Law School has a long history of producing top-notch female lawyers who’ve left their distinctive mark -- across the United States and internationally.

Five distinguished women will share their perspectives Oct. 14 during “Pioneering Women of Tulane Law School,” set for 4:30-6 p.m. at the school’s Wendell H. Gauthier Appellate Moot Court Room.

The discussion, which is open to the public, will tell the story of outstanding women who for decades have made lasting contributions to law, government and society.

Planned participants are:

Marlene Trestman, author of Fair Labor, a forthcoming biography of Bessie Margolin (NC ’29, A&S ’30, L ’30). As Associate Solicitor for the Department of Labor, Margolin argued 27 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, winning 24.

Trestman is a graduate of Goucher College, Loyola University of Maryland (MBA) and George Washington University Law School. She recently retired as Special Assistant to the Attorney General of Maryland. In June 2013, she delivered the Labor Department’s Donald S. Shire Lecture on the story of Margolin’s path-breaking career.

Margot Mazeau (L ’58) graduated at the top of her Tulane Law School class then worked as a law clerk to Chief Justice Fournet of the Louisiana Supreme Court before entering private practice. In 1970, she joined the Federal Maritime Commission in Washington, D.C., as senior principal attorney in the Office of Hearing Counsel.

Later, she was Assistant General Counsel at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and received its Meritorious Honor Award for her contributions to the successful conclusion of the Convention on the Physical Security of Nuclear Material. She returned to law practice in New Orleans in 1980, retiring in 1992.

Cynthia Shoss (NC ’72, L ’74) is a senior partner in the New York office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, where she co-chairs its Insurance Transactions and Products Practice. She previously managed Dewey & LeBoeuf’s London office and later co-chaired the firm’s insurance regulatory group.
Shoss has been a leader in promoting opportunities for women in the bar and was selected for the YWCA’s Academy of Women Leaders in New York in 2011.

Terry O’Neill (L ’80) practiced law in New Orleans before launching an academic career, teaching feminist legal theory and international women’s rights, as well as corporate law and finance, at the University of California, Davis, and Tulane Law School.

In 2009, she was elected President of the National Organization for Women. She was re-elected by acclamation in 2013.

Lynn Luker (L ’81, LLM ’85, LLM ’92) is a prominent litigator and heads her own New Orleans firm, Lynn Luker & Associates. A longtime member of Tulane Law School’s adjunct faculty, Luker is co-director of Tulane’s Trial Advocacy Program and of the Civil Litigation Track of the Lawyering Skills Boot Camp.

In 2013, she was named Chair of the National Association of Minority and Women-Owned Law Firms, an organization committed to diversifying the private bar. She was a partner at Adams & Reese for 12 years before starting her own firm.

A reception will follow the program in the Marian Mayer Berkett Multipurpose Room.

“From Bessie Margolin, perhaps the most influential woman attorney in the country in the 1940s and ’50s, to Terry O’Neill, the current president of NOW, Tulane Law alumnae have long played an outsized role in opening the legal profession to women,” said Dean David Meyer.  “This program will provide an opportunity to celebrate their impact, but also to examine the challenges that remain in ensuring women’s advancement in the law.”


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