About 250 people filled the lobby of the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis where an exhibit, "A Celebration of Minnesota Women in the Law," opened Monday to celebrate the advancement of women in the legal profession. Several speakers heralded the growing number of women lawyers and judges in Minnesota. However, Rachel Zimmerman, president of the state chapter of the Federal Bar Association and co-chair of the event, pointed out that an overwhelming majority of partners in firms are men. U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery noted that the majority of judges in Hennepin County are women, and assuming that Wilhelmina Wright is sworn in as a new federal judge (she's been recommended by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken,) the majority of active federal judges in Minnesota will be women. "I never thought it would happen in my lifetime," she said. Nonetheless, said Montgomery, "the private sector has lagged behind dismally" in elevating women to partners and managing partners in local law firms, so there remained "battles to be won." Still, she concluded, "We've come a long way, baby." The exhibit will remain up in the lobby for two weeks. Minnesota's Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis said that the exhibit will then be displayed in the federal courthouses in St. Paul and Duluth and the Minnesota Judicial Center, and will also be available to educational institutions.

Randy Furst