Honoring Margaret Carlson

March 11, 2011—The George Washington Law Alumni Association and the Law Association for Women (LAW) recognized renowned journalist Margaret Carlson, J.D. ’73, with the Belva Ann Lockwood Award, which celebrates the enduring legacy of women’s rights. Carlson writes a weekly column on politics for Bloomberg News, is the Washington editor of The Week, is a contributing editor at The Atlantic, and is a frequent commentator on MSNBC. She also holds the distinction of being the first female columnist for TIME magazine.

At the award luncheon, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Edward Swaine and Associate Dean for Student Affairs Renee DeVigne remarked that, though they graduated 100 years apart, Carlson and the award’s namesake are united in that they both are women of “firsts” who used their legal knowledge to forge unique pathways.

In 1873, women’s rights champion and formidable legal mind Belva Ann Lockwood became the first woman to graduate from what is now The George Washington University Law School. She was a trailblazer, known for being one of the first women to run for president of the United States—before the 19th Amendment was passed—and the first woman to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court. Though as a student, she said she was “growled” at by her male classmates and had to lobby President Ulysses S. Grant to receive the degree she earned from the Law School, today she is considered one of GW Law’s most notable and cherished alumni.

Carlson said that while she used her GW Law degree in a nontraditional way, being trained to think like a lawyer has helped her become a better journalist. When faced with personalities such as Bob Novak and Joe Scarborough, “it can feel like being in a courtroom,” Carlson said, describing how her legal training to think on her feet and approach problems from multiple angles frequently applies to her job.

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