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Awards

Arabella Mansfield Award | Gertrude Rush Award | Nominations

Each year, IOWA gives two awards, the Arabella Mansfield Award and the Gertrude Rush Award. Both are presented at the IOWA annual meeting and dinner. The 2014 Arabella Mansfield Award recipient is Paige Fiedler, an employment law attorney who has been a wonderful mentor for women attorneys and a zealous advocate for women in the workplace throughout her career. The 2014 Gertrude Rush Award recipient is Professor Shontavia Johnson, Drake University, for (among other things), creating new diversity initiatives at Drake, helping create new organizations that make this world a better place, and being a leader in our community and in the legal profession. Congratulations Paige and Shontavia!


Arabella Mansfield Award

  • established in 2002
  • recognizes outstanding women lawyers in Iowa who have promoted and nurtured women in the legal profession.

Arabella MansfieldArabella Mansfield, also commonly known as Belle Babb Mansfield, was the first woman lawyer admitted to the practice of law in the United States. Ms. Mansfield studied law in her brother's law office for two years and was admitted to the Iowa Bar in 1869. She was admitted despite the fact that Iowa law required an applicant for bar admission be white, male, and over the age of 21. Arabella and her husband taught at Iowa Wesleyan College, then moved to Greencastle, Indiana in 1876, to teach at DePauw University. She served as Dean of the School of Art in 1893, and Dean of the School of Music in 1894. She was also active in the women's suffrage movement, chairing the Iowa Women's Suffrage Convention in 1870, but died in 1911, nine years before women obtained the right to vote. She was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1980.

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Gertrude Rush Award

  • co-established in 2003 and co-sponsored with the Iowa Chapter of the National Bar Association in 2003
  • recognizes a lawyer who manifests the pioneering spirit of Gertrude Rush, demonstrates leadership in the community and in the legal profession, and demonstrates concern for human and civil rights.

Gertrude RushGertrude Rush was the first African-American woman to be admitted to the practice of law in Iowa, in 1918. She began to study law in 1908 under the tutoring of her husband, James Rush. She sat for and passed the Iowa bar examination in the summer of 1918. She was the first and only African-American woman practicing law in Iowa, until 1953, when Willie Stevenson Glanton was admitted to practice law in Iowa. Gertrude Rush became one of the founders of the National Bar Association after she and four other black lawyers were denied membership in the American Bar Association in 1924. The National Bar Association was officially founded in 1925 and incorporated in 1926. Gertrude Rush was also a composer of religious songs and was active in many church and civic organizations.

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Awards Nominations

The deadline for 2014 nominations has passed.

If you have questions about either award, contact Alissa Smith at: awards@iowawomenattorneys.org

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Previous Award Recipients

Arabella Mansfield Award

  • 2014
    Paige Fiedler
  • 2013
    Gail Klearman
  • 2012
    Hon. Judge Donna Paulsen
  • 2011
    Lu Ann White
  • 2010
    Jeana Goosmann
  • 2009
    Judge Rosemary Shaw Sackett
  • 2008
    Chris Luzzie
  • 2007
    Judge Ruth Klotz
  • 2006
    Michelle "Miki" McGovern
  • 2005
    Deborah Tharnish
  • 2004
    Emily Gould Chafa
  • 2003
    Judge Celeste Bremer
  • 2002
    Roxann Ryan

Gertrude Rush Award

  • 2014
    Shontavia Johnson
  • 2013
    Sharon Malheiro
  • 2012
    Barbara Schwartz
  • 2011
    Bonnie Campbell
  • 2010
    Chinyere Ukabiala
  • 2009
    Roxanne Conlin
  • 2008
    Romonda Belcher
  • 2007
    Judge Artis Reis
  • 2006
    Adrien Wing
  • 2005
    Inga Bumbary-Langston
  • 2004
    Diann Wilder-Tomlinson
  • 2003
    Willie Glanton