This #InternationalWomensDay, I am sharing an amazing achievement by a woman I wish I could have known, Margaret Amsler. Eventually known as “Lady A” to her students at Baylor Law School, she graduated first in her class from Baylor Law School in 1937–she was also the only woman in her graduating class.
She next served in the Texas Legislature before beginning her career at Baylor Law School in 1940. In 1942, she became the first woman employed by the Texas Supreme Court, serving as briefing attorney, librarian, and Marshall of the Texas Supreme Court. Amsler returned to the Baylor Law faculty in the fall of 1942 and remained on the faculty for the next 30 years.
Amsler was the first woman in the State of Texas, and third in the entire nation, to hold a tenure-track position in a law school accredited by the Association of American Law Schools. She also aided in Texas law reform involving women’s rights. Amsler and a colleague wrote the Texas Married Women’s Act in 1963, which gave married women the right to own property and enter into contracts.
In 2014, I was lucky enough to be part of a group of Baylor women lawyers who funded a portrait of Margaret Amsler to be painted and prominently hung at Baylor Law School. Her truly inspiring and remarkable accomplishments helped to pave the way for future women lawyers in the State of Texas and left an enduring mark on the wonderful Law School so many women lawyers attended after her.