NEW Leadership Nevada 2016 Application Now Available

Section Support Provided by:

a Lynn M. Bennett Legacy

  • With gratitude to: 
The Eleanor Kagi Foundation, 
 A Lynn M. Bennett Legacy

    Champion Nevada women and their communities through research and education.

    Follow Us

    WRIN is a member of the National Council for the Research on Women, a network of institutions committed to improving the lives of women and girls.
  • Emilie Wanderer


    wanderer_headshot.jpg

    Emilie Wanderer

    Date of Birth:
    April 8, 1902
    Date of Death:
    March 3, 2005
    Place of Birth:
    Boston, MA
    Arrival in Las Vegas:
    1946
    Work/Contribution:
    Legal
    Date of Interview:
    2000
    Interviewed by:
    Joanne L. Goodwin

    Women’s Research Institute of Nevada
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 455083
    Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-5083
    702-895-2902

    © WRIN | All rights reserved.

    a Studio Hyperset expression

    Oral History

    “A Thousand to One” – those were the odds that Emilie Wanderer faced to establish a law practice in Las Vegas. But she could live with those odds and succeed. Wanderer never shied away from a challenge. She became the first woman to open her own law practice in Las Vegas in 1947 and was a persistent advocate for the family court and juvenile justice.

    Wanderer was born near Boston on April 8, 1902. She attended the Fordham Law School, but did not finish due to the Depression. However, Wanderer passed the New York State Bar Exam (one did not need a degree at the time) and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1933.

    While en route to Phoenix in 1946 to seek a healthier climate for one of her sons, the family stopped in Las Vegas and decided to stay. A year later, she was one of three women who passed the Nevada bar exam, but she was the only woman to open her own practice. There were 26 attorneys in town at the time. During her first years in Las Vegas, she worked to establish a family court, became legal counsel for the Las Vegas NAACP, joined the Business and Professional Women’s Club, and ran for Municipal Court Judge. She maintained her professional connections with the National Association of Women Lawyers and served on several national committees concerned with family courts, juvenile justice, and probate law. She took a wide range of cases; some paid the bills while others satisfied her sense of social justice.

    After a sojourn in Chicago of nearly a decade, Wanderer returned to Las Vegas, resumed her law practice, and began to advocate for a family court. When the state legislature passed the act to form such a court in 1971, Wanderer decided to run once again for office, this time for the bench of District Court Judge, Dept 8 Family Court. Only ten women attorneys practiced law in Las Vegas and the state had never appointed a woman as judge. As in the earlier contests, she lost the election, but not her point. Wanderer criticized the lack of women in the judicial system locally and nationally.
    Emilie Wanderer died on March 3, 2005 in Las Vegas.

    Mutimedia

    Photo/video/audio/&tc. courtesy of UNLV Special Collections.
    May not be reproduced without the special permission of UNLV Special Collections.

  • Improving the Lives of Women through Research and Education

  • NEW Leadership Nevada 2017 Keynote Dinner

    Featuring Restaurateur and Philanthropist Jenna Morton
    Blasco Event Wing, UNLV Foundation
    4505 S. Maryland Parkway
    Thursday, June 8, 2017
    Reception at 5:00pm
    Dinner and Program at 6:00pm
    wrin@unlv.edu
    702-895-4931

  • Meet women who have played an integral role in shaping Nevada's history.

    Flolliott LeCoque

    Flolliott LeCoque is the First Lady of Las Vegas Entertainment who ...
    Learn More
    Women's Research Institute of Nevada
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 455083
    Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-5083
    702-895-2902

    © 2017 WRIN | All rights reserved.

    a Studio Hyperset expression