In this 2023 list of notable women in law, Crain’s recognizes leading female attorneys in New York who are furthering justice and keeping the cogs of commerce spinning.
More than a third of America’s lawyers today are women—but of course, it was not always that way. In the decades since Kate Stoneman (1841-1925) became New York’s first female attorney in 1886, women have contributed immeasurably to the legal profession, excelling in their work but also leveraging the law to promote fairness and provide aid. Crain’s sought to highlight lawyers of this genre: Women at the pinnacle of their profession whose impact radiates well beyond the clients they serve.
The 100 lawyers who grace this list work in a range of legal arenas, from labor and employment to real estate and intellectual property. You’ll read about attorneys who have achieved precedent-setting victories in all areas of the law, representing prominent clients ranging from Verizon to Kenneth Cole, from the United Federation of Teachers to Jay-Z. You’ll also meet people who volunteer their time helping immigrants applying for asylum, serving economically disadvantaged communities, and mentoring young female lawyers and people from underrepresented groups.
To qualify, candidates needed to serve in a senior-level role at a law firm in the New York City metro area and have at least a decade of experience. We also looked for individuals who have performed consequential legal or pro bono work, served as mentors, promoted inclusivity and assumed leadership roles in civic or philanthropic endeavors.
Partner, Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield
Karen Rosenthal is a partner at Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield and a matrimonial litigator respected for her advocacy in high-conflict divorce and custody cases, including on behalf of children. Rosenthal’s recent successes include resolving a complex custody battle involving a celebrity and securing a decision that resolved the first statewide dispute over Covid vaccines and visitation. She also mentors female associates and law students during their summer internships. Co-founder and former president of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s Young Business & Professional Division, Rosenthal was twice elected president of the New York chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, which aims to improve the family court system for children.