Jeanette GoodmanBrill

As the first woman magistrate in Brooklyn and the second woman magistrate in New York, Jeanette Goodman Brill believed women had an aptitude and responsibility to judge cases involving women and children. Brill taught at Manhattan Preparatory School while putting herself through night classes at Brooklyn Law School, graduating in 1908 and passing the bar in 1910. She married the following year and practiced law with her husband until his death in 1950. In 1923 she became the first female deputy assistant on the state attorney general’s staff, overseeing labor issues, and later served as a judge in the Brooklyn Magistrate’s Court from 1929–1941. She spoke out about the need for more female lawyers and judges to oversee cases involving women and children, and was a strong proponent of the experimental Adolescent Court to handle teenage offenders. She co-wrote a book in 1938 about her experience, The Adolescent Court and Crime Prevention. She continued to practice law after retiring from the bench, and became involved in politics as campaign manager for Congresswoman Edna Kelly. In the 1930s, she founded Camp Kinni Kinnic for girls, which she ran with her son for over thirty years.


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Jeanette Goodman Brill (1889 – 1964)—judge, lawyer, camp director, community activist, teacher, writer, mother and wife—was Brooklyn’s first woman magistrate and the second woman magistrate appointed in New York City.

Institution: Jane Nusbaum.

Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jeanette Goodman Brill." (Viewed on May 17, 2021) <>.


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