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Emilie Wanderer

Emilie Wanderer (1902-2005) was one of the first women to pass the Nevada Bar exam (in 1947) and is believed to be the first woman to practice law in Las Vegas. She was also the first woman in Nevada to run in a District Court judicial race (1972). During the 1950s, a time of segregation in Las Vegas, Wanderer represented the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She also helped to establish the Clark County Family Court system in the early 1970s. Her son John Wanderer joined her in practice in 1974 (the firm was called Wanderer & Wanderer) and although she retired in 1981, she continued as an advisor until her death in 2005. Shortly before her death, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada named the Civil Libertarian of the Year Award after her, and presented her with the first one.

Wanderer was born April 8, 1902 in Providence, Rhode Island. She grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and attended Boston University and then Fordham University School of Law in New York City. Lack of money prevented her from finishing her law degree, but nevertheless she was able to pass bar exams in different states. While employed by the U.S. Attorney's office in New York, she helped to establish the National Women's Bar Association. Wanderer moved to Las Vegas with her family in 1946.


Koch, Ed. "Wanderer, pioneer woman attorney in LV, dies at 102." Las Vegas Sun. March 4, 2005. Accessed April 28, 2015.

Wanderer, Emilie N. and Joanne L. Goodwin. A Thousand to One: the story of Emilie N. Wanderer the first woman to practice law in Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nev.: Women's Research Institute of Nevada, 2005.

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