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On Thursday, March 14, in celebration of Women’s History Month, a conference room at the Hartford office of Shipman & Goodwin was renamed in honor of Lillian L. Malley. Joining Shipman & Goodwin in 1933, Lillian became the first woman to practice law at the firm. In December of 1942, she became the first woman partner at Shipman (and also one of the first women law partners in Connecticut).

Lillian’s nephew, Jim Malley, was on hand for the celebration and dedication, and he shared with the crowd in attendance a few stories about his late aunt as well as memorabilia and photos. Mr. Malley described her as “a truly authentic person who loved life and lived it with uncommon vigor and fierce determination.”

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and the Shipman Women’s Alliance co-hosted the event designed to shine a spotlight on the remarkable legacy of Lillian Malley and to pay tribute to the profound influence she wielded in shaping the fabric of the firm.

Affectionately known as “Malley,” she was born in Hartford, CT in 1910. Malley’s story is one of resilience and determination. She was a graduate of Hartford High School, Boston University A.B. (1931), and the Boston University Law School J.D. (1933). She was admitted to the Connecticut and Massachusetts bars in 1933 at a time when female representation in the legal field was scarce, and she faced the daunting challenge of securing a position at a law firm. She became the first woman lawyer to practice at Shipman in 1933. Recognized as a distinguished tax attorney, Malley achieved another significant milestone in 1942, becoming the first female partner at the firm which was founded in 1919. She worked for 20 years at Shipman from 1933 to 1953.

Malley was a precedent setter for women, not merely in the legal profession, but also in Hartford Connecticut politics. She blazed trails as the first woman elected to the Board of Aldermen in 1939, the first Police Court prosecutor in 1951, and the first woman to serve as Acting Mayor for the City of Hartford.

Today, 50% of the lawyers at Shipman are women, and it is thanks in no small part to the perseverance of pioneers such as Lillian Malley. Her name now graces one the four named conference rooms in the Hartford office alongside the names of original founders Charles A. Goodwin and Arthur L. Shipman, and George H. Day who was a leader of the firm in its early years.

“On behalf of the Malley family – Thank you, Shipman & Goodwin, for bestowing this great honor on our beloved Aunt Malley and memorializing the historic role she played as the first woman attorney and partner to grace the halls of Shipman & Goodwin.”

(left to right) Alfredo Fernández, Shipman & Goodwin Partner and Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, Jim Malley, Lillian Malley’s Nephew, Leander Dolphin, Shipman & Goodwin Managing Partner

About Shipman & Goodwin LLP
Shipman’s value lies in its commitment to its clients, to the profession, and to the community. With more than 140 lawyers in offices throughout Connecticut and New York, the full-service law firm serves the needs of local, regional, national, and international clients that include public and private companies, educational institutions, governmental entities, non-profit organizations, and individuals. Shipman is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the firm, the legal profession, and the community. Shipman has participated in Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule since 2019 and earned Mansfield Certification Plus status for the fourth consecutive year in 2023. Shipman was also recognized by Women Inc. Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Law Firms for Women.” The National Law Journal also ranked Shipman as the eighth most inclusive firm for women in their 2021 national survey. For more information, visit