When Myra Bradwell passed the Illinois Bar Exam with high honors in 1869, her path was set on her road to becoming one of America’s first woman lawyers. Bradwell began her legal career with the 1868 establishment of the Chicago Legal News, which carried information about laws, ordinances and court opinions admissible as evidence in court. Bradwell, publisher and editor, also used its pages and power to advocate for women’s rights, speaking out for women’s suffrage, and removal of property ownership rights by women. She was permitted to run her business by special charter allowing a married woman to do so.
In 1869 Bradwell helped created Chicago’s first women’s suffrage convention, and passed the Bar. Despite an appeal to the state Supreme Court, she was refused admission because of her gender. Progress was made when the Illinois legislature opened most professions to women, and Bradwell was admitted to the United States Supreme Court and Illinois Supreme Court in 1892, retroactive to her initial application in 1869.