Mary Leonard Law Society was formed in 1985 by approximately 25 women who came together to create an organization supporting the needs and concerns of women practicing law. Since its foundation, Mary Leonard Law Society has grown to a society of over 200 women and men, lawyers, judges, law students, and legal professionals committed to making a difference in the practice of law and the justice system. Mary Leonard Law Society meets monthly, September through May, and sponsors CLE presentations, fundraisers for local organizations, and other social events in the Salem, Oregon, area. Although Mary Leonard Law Society is now a chapter of OWLS, Mary Leonard Law Society predates the formation of OWLS.
Our namesake, Mary Gysin Leonard (pictured above), became the first woman licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon on April 13, 1886. She was admitted to the bar after successfully arguing before the Oregon Supreme Court, pro se, that she should not be subject to a court rule requiring a year's residence in Oregon before admission, given that the rule was not also being enforced against men. Learn more about Mary Gysin Leonard.