Shirley Adelson Siegel
The only woman in the Yale Law School class of 1941, Shirley Adelson Siegel became a trailblazer as head of the New York State Attorney’s first Civil Rights Bureau in 1959. Siegel struggled to find work until Proskauer Rose hired her as their first female attorney. She volunteered with the ACLU on civil rights cases, including the Supreme Court case on Japanese internment camps. In 1945 she became executive director of the New York Citizens Housing Council. While at the Civil Rights Bureau, she helped enforce fair hiring practices for women and minorities in trade unions and airlines, and passed a law banning sex discrimination through the state legislature. From 1979–1982 she served as Solicitor General for New York State (where she pioneered putting records of all appeals on the internet), then turned to teaching, training lawyers at Columbia, Cardozo, and Fordham from 1984–2004. In 2006 the American Bar Association recorded her oral history to preserve her memories of her landmark career. Unflagging in her nineties, she returned to housing rights as a pro bono lawyer, taking on foreclosure cases through the City Bar Justice Center.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Shirley Siegel." (Viewed on September 25, 2018) <https://jwa.org/people/siegel-shirley>.