The WBA was founded in 1929, and its predecessor organization, the Women’s Lawyers Association, was founded in 1927. The WBA’s purpose is to maintain the honor and integrity of the legal profession, assist in the administration of justice, promote and advance the interest of women engaged in the practice of law and advance the status of women in society. (Note: this purpose may change as the mission statement is updated.)

According to an article which appeared in the Baltimore Sun on April 12 and May 2, 1927, the Women’s Lawyers Association was organized for the purpose of “promoting fraternalism and an interchange of ideas” after four of its seven founding members were denied membership in the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA). The WBA was created in 1929 specifically to promote women’s eligibility for membership in state and national bar associations and to promote the appointment of women lawyers to various legal positions.

The MSBA was the last state bar association to admit women, and WBA member, Rose Zetzer, became the first female member of the MSBA in 1946. It was not until 1957 when the Bar Association of Baltimore City voted to admit women and African-American lawyers, that WBA member, Jeanette Wolman, became the first female member of the BCBA.

During the 1940’s and 1950’s, WBA members campaigned for women’s rights for to serve on juries, be appointed to the bench, and elected to public office. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, WBA members campaigned for improvement of the criminal justice system’s handling of rapes and other sex offenses. In the 1980’s, the WBA went on record as a pro-choice organization to promote the right of females to make personal decisions regarding their lives and their bodies. In the 1990’s, the WBA devoted much of its energy to judicial selections and the creation of a more diverse judiciary.

The WBA has been instrumental in increasing the representation of women and minorities in the Maryland courts. In 1989, the Gender Bias Report of the Select Committee on Gender Equality (formed by the Maryland Judiciary and Maryland State Bar Association) recorded that only 9% of state court judges were women, only one of whom was a minority, and further found demonstrated gender bias in domestic violence cases, child custody, support and alimony decisions, as well judicial selections in which applications were asked about time lost from work for maternity leave and children. In 1991, the WBA put observers in every single courtroom in Maryland and from those observations compiled The Courtwatch Report, confirming many of the findings of the Gender Bias Report and resulting in the WBA’s campaign to eliminate gender bias in Maryland courts. In 1995, the Judicial Nominating Commissions were reorganized and for the first time, women attorneys served on all 16 commissions. The WBA revised its Judicial Selections Committee’s screening procedures, which became a model for other specialty bar associations as well as the Maryland State Bar Association. By the end of 2003, close to 30% of the Maryland bench were women, up 333% from 1989, with increased minority representation on the bench.

Past Presidents
Carol Ann Smith 2022-2023
Eden O. Terenzini 2021-2022
The Honorable Tracey Parker-Warren 2020-2021
Margaret H. (Meg) Oliver 2019-2020
Magistrate Hope Tipton 2018-2019
The Honorable Margaret M. Schweitzer 2017-2018
Zoa Barnes 2016-2017
Diane C. Bristow 2015-2016
Donna E. Van Scoy 2014-2015
Nancy A. Sachitano 2013-2014
Master Elaine Patrick 2012-2013
Cheryl Kelley Jacobs 2011-2012
Kathleen M. Bustraan 2010-2011
Lade R. Akinbolaji 2009-2010
Wendy B. Karpel 2008-2009
Cynthia L. Leppert 2007-2008
Kristen A. Brinster 2006-2007
Wanda G. Caporaletti 2005-2006
Mary B. Buonanno 2004-2005
Geri Lyons Chase 2003-2004
Elizabeth G Loggia 2002-2003
Jolie Gelman Weinberg 2001-2002
Cynthia S Miraglia 2000-2001
Tracey L Lerer 1999-2000
The Honorable Joan B Gordon 1998-1999
Susan S Magazine 1997-1998
Tricia D O'Neill 1996-1997
Susan L Bayly 1995-1996
The Honorable Toni E Clarke 1994-1995
The Honorable Susan M Souder 1993-1994
Master Jacqueline Dawson 1992-1993
The Honorable Ann N Sundt 1991-1992
Linda H Lamone 1990-1991
Pamela J White 1989-1990
Judith Billage 1988-1989
Pamela Anne Bresnahan 1987-1988
The Honorable Louise Gwynn Scrivener 1986-1987
Natalie H Rees 1985-1986
The Honorable Rosalyn B Bell 1983-1985
Timmerman Tepel Daugherty 1981-1983
Joanne L Suder 1979-1981
Peggy Chaplin 1977-1979
Mary Johnson 1976-1977
Erica Gosnell 1974-1976
Mary Ellen Brooke 1972-1974
Vera Kaminski 1971-1972
Ellena Armanas 1970-1971
Lottie Friedler 1967-1969
Rose Mattingly 1966-1967
Helen Sliwaka 1964-1965
Rose Zetzar 1962-1964
Margaret Pecora 1960-1962
Lucy Garvey 1959-1960
Charlotte K. Meislah
Anna Rose Leeth 1957-1959
The Honorable Mary Arabian 1954-1956
Caroline McBride 1953-1954
The Honorable Shirley B Jones 1952-1953
Connie Putzel 1951-1952
Emma Robertson 1950-1951
Margaret Wright 1949-1950
H. LaRue Parke 1947-1949
Nellie Marshall 1944-1947
Rose Zetzer 1939-1941
Anna Carton 1937-1939
Sophie Nordenholtz 1934-1936
Florence Laynor 1931-1933
Helen Elizabeth Brown 1929-1931

Emilie Doetsch 1929-1931
Henrietta Stonestreet 1927-1929