Birdie Amsterdam capped a career of firsts in the legal profession with her role as the first woman elected to the New York State Supreme Court. Amsterdam studied banking and accounting at City College and put herself through night classes at NYU Law School while working in the accounting department at Mount Sinai Hospital. After graduating in 1922, she opened an independent practice. In 1935, she formed a partnership with her sister’s husband which lasted until she became New York’s first female municipal court judge in 1939. In 1954, she became the first woman appointed to the city court, and in 1957, she was elected to the state Supreme Court, where she served until 1976. She preferred being a trial judge, overseeing civil and criminal cases, and turned down a seat on the appellate court at one point. Over the course of her career, she volunteered for various organizations and causes, such as running a bond drive during WWII and serving as Tammany Hall district co-leader of the Manhattan Democratic Club.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Birdie Amsterdam." (Viewed on December 6, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/amsterdam-birdie>.