News Releases
September 29, 2016
Documentary and Panel Discussion to Explore the Evolution of Women in Law

Polsinelli, in partnership with Saint Louis University School of Law, will host a screening of “Amazing Grace” on Oct. 4, 2016. 

The 30-minute film explores the journey of women in the legal industry from the 1940s through present day. In particular, it documents the story of groundbreaking lawyer Grace Day, the only woman in her law school class in 1948. Day went on to become a sought-after family law attorney who practiced in Missouri for 64 years. 

The screening, sponsored in part by SLU LAW’s Women Law Students Association, will be attended by practicing attorneys and current law students. The film will be followed by a discussion featuring several women leaders in the legal industry. Members of the multi-generational panel sharing their personal perspectives on the advancement of women in law include: 
  • Elizabeth Gross, shareholder in Polsinelli’s Labor and Employment practice
  • Marcia McCormick, professor at Saint Louis University School of Law
  • Heather McMichael, former television journalist and the producer of “Amazing Grace” 
Polsinelli Shareholder Jane Arnold, who leads the firm’s Women’s Initiative Committee, will moderate the evening’s discussion. “We are thrilled to host this important event,” Arnold said. “The story of Grace Day is a testament to the rise of women in law over the past 60 years. I’m proud that our firm is committed to recruiting, retaining and promoting women across the country, as well as ensuring equal opportunities for professional development of diverse talent.” 

The American Bar Association (ABA) and its Commission on Women in the Profession recently published “A Current Glance at Women in the Law.” According to its research, women comprise 36 percent of the legal profession. This number should rise. In 2015, women made up 47.8 percent of the summer associates at major U.S. law firms. First year law school classes boasted a 49.3 percent enrollment of women in 2015, according to the ABA study. 

Polsinelli’s long-standing commitment to women has consistently earned the firm national recognition. In May, Law360 ranked Polsinelli among its 100 best U.S. law firms for women. In June, Polsinelli received “Gold Standard Certification” from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) for incorporating women into the highest levels of leadership. 

Polsinelli has female leaders spread across its 20 offices. Women serve as practice chairs of large national groups, including Health Care Litigation, Labor and Employment, Commercial Litigation and EB-5 Foreign Investment. Additionally, women make up 25 percent of Polsinelli’s Board of Directors. The firm’s Atlanta and Denver offices are led by female office managing partners.

After earning her law degree in 1950, Day’s legal career didn’t come easily. For more than 30 years she was the only woman lawyer in St. Joseph and ended up starting her own small firm because no law firms would hire her. She eventually joined a successful St. Joseph law firm which later became part of Polsinelli.

“Amazing Grace” features a number of Missouri’s leading legal industry figures, including Missouri Supreme Court Judge Mary Russell and Judge Randall Jackson. It includes interviews with Day’s colleagues and family members, as well as the leadership and students of her former law school in South Dakota.

During her storied career, Day earned many accolades including Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s, “Woman of the Year,” and became President of the St. Joseph Bar Association. She gained national prominence as the International President of B’nai B’rith Women and made frequent trips to Washington, D.C. to meet with dignitaries including President Gerald Ford, Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Day passed away on July 13, 2016 at age 89 after a very brief illness.

For more information, contact Carrie Trent at ctrent@polsinelli.com.