March Madness (3/16/2018)-Alta Hulett v. Elena Kagan

Today’s match up is between Alta Hulett and Elena Kagan. Alta Hulett was the first Woman Attorney in Illinois…at only 19 years old. Elena Kagan was the first Woman to officially service as U.S Solicitor General, the first Female Dean of Harvard Law School, and is currently serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Let us know which woman inspires you the most by participating in our daily Twitter or Facebook poll, or by casting a vote at the Circulation Desk.  Happy voting!

Alta Hulett-“Her accomplishments were so outstanding that the all-male Chicago Bar Association held a memorial service in her honor and passed a resolution lauding her ability as an attorney,” says the Chicago Bar Association website.

Image via The Chicago Bar Association

In 1964 at age 10, Alta Hulett learned telegraphy and was a successful operator. Afterwards, she was a teacher and used her free time to learn law. Alta passed the state bar exam when she was only 16 but was rejected from the bar because she was female. She then turned her attention to helping draft the United State’s first anti-sex-discrimination law in 1872. At age 19, she was Illinois’ first woman lawyer. Unfortunately, despite her success as a lawyer at such a young age, Alta passed away four years later from a heart condition.




Elena Kagan-“I have no regrets. I don’t believe in looking back. What I am proudest of? Working really hard… and achieving as much as I could.”

Image via Britannica

Elena was born to a family of academics and lawyers in New York. From a young age, Elena showed an exceptional mind and the ability to successfully use that mind to change other people’s opinions for the better. Because she was Jewish, Elena advocated for her bat mitzvah to be held in the synagogue much like a bar mitzvah would which went against the current tradition of her synagogue. However, she was able to convince her rabbi to honor her requests and the synagogue continued to hold bat mitzvahs in the building afterwards. Elena graduated from Princeton and then from Harvard Law, and clerked for the Supreme Court before entering private practice. Not long after, Elena entered academia and became a law professor and then the Dean of Harvard Law, the first female to hold that position. She spent her time as Dean making the school more student friendly and centered on the students’ well being. After being a finalist for the position of President of Harvard University, she was nominated by President Obama to be the first Female U.S Solicitor General and in 2010 was nominated as a Supreme Court Justice.

Disclaimer: This is a friendly competition that is meant to increase awareness about some amazing women. The match ups were determined by a random outcome generator, and the winner will be determined based solely on the votes submitted by the participants. We are in no way seeking to pit one woman against each other in any inappropriate way, because each woman is inspiring in her own right.


Author: Alyson Drake

Alyson Drake is the Assistant Director for Public Services and the Director of the Excellence in Legal Research Program at Texas Tech University Law School, where she also teaches courses in Texas Legal Research, and Foreign, Comparative, and International Legal Research and administers the Legal Practice Program's research workshops. She blogs at

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