#legallyhers: Frances Kyle and Averill Deverell

21st July 2017

Frances Kyle and Averill Deverell became Ireland’s first women to be admitted to the Bar on November 1, 1921.

Frances Kyle had completed her BA and LLB at Trinity College Dublin. She went on to win the John Brooke Scholarship, the top Irish students’ law prize, having come first in the class for the Bar.

The Irish Times commented on October 26, 1921 that Kyle’s scholarship award represented “a women’s invasion of the law.” However, far from portraying this negatively, the article noted that “a large accession of women to the law would be quite consistent with the adventurous spirit of the age.”

Nonetheless, the Irish women pioneers in law did not rest on their laurels. Averill Deverell developed a reputation at the Bar as being a campaigner of gender equality. As the first woman to actually practice at the Bar in Ireland, she worked tirelessly to promote the view that women were equally competent to carry out the same work as men.

Join us in counting down to the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which paved the way for women to practise law. Discover more on the First 100 Years timeline. Help us fill in gaps in the timeline with other interesting facts and support the project to produce a new digital museum of 100 video stories.

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