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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Louise B. Raggio, Texas Trailblazer

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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As noted on the Texas Bar blog, KERA public radio in DFW has put together a series called Texas Trailblazer, featuring two noted Texas lawyers – Judge Barefoot Sanders and Louise B. Raggio. Raggio’s segment is available below:

In the 1950s, married women in most states needed their husband’s permission for legal and business transactions. They couldn’t open their own bank accounts, sign contracts or control their own paychecks. Texas Trailblazer Louise Raggio tells the story of the Texas attorney who changed all that. Raggio went to law school to support her family after her husband returned from WWII emotionally shattered. She made history by leading the effort to draft and secure passage of the Marital Property Act of 1967 and became an icon in the struggle for women’s rights.

My favorite story from the interview:

Then in 1954 she got a call from then Dallas Court district judge Sarah Hughes. “Go down to see Henry Wade. He may have an opening. So I got myself fixed up and went down. He hired me. He told me a year later that he only reason he hired me is he figured I would fall flat on my face and he wouldn’t have to listen to Sarah Hughes any more. He didn’t realize that a woman could do the job.” A year later she was assigned to county criminal court. Her appointment made headlines as the first woman prosecutor in Dallas County.

Interestingly, both Louise Raggio and Sarah Hughes took their law degrees in evening programs, Hughes while working as a police officer.

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