After deciding on the topic I found a couple of academic articles.
The first was Legal Fictions and the Moral Imagination: Female Fictional Lawyers Encounter Professional Responsibility by Kathryn A. Lee and Elizabeth Morgan, , 10 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 569 (2004). It can be found online at http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1153&context=wmjowl
The authors explain the article:
This article examines eleven books by seven authors, depicting
seven fictional lawyers. Authors Gini Hartzmark, Lia Matera,
Barbara Parker and Carolyn Wheat have created female attorneys
who appear in several books, allowing for more character
development than occurs in most mystery novels.'
All three authors are law school graduates, and two have
practiced, Parker as a prosecutor with a state attorney's
office and Wheat as a Legal Aid attorney in Brooklyn. Lisa
Scottoline, a University of Pennsylvania law school graduate and
former Philadelphia lawyer, has also written several legal thrillers.
Two current prosecutors of sex crimes are also authors: Linda
Fairstein and Christina McGuire.
While some parts of the article are dense academic language most of it is very accessible and interesting in its examination of how fictional women deal with legal ethical issues.
The second article was in law.arts.culture, a blog at the Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, where there was a post on Women Lawyers in Literature. It can be found at http://lawartscult.osgoode.yorku.ca/2012/09/women-lawyers-in-literature-in-anticipation-of-the-first-meeting-of-the-law-feminism-and-short-fiction-reading-group/#comments.
In the post the author, Kate Sutherland, speaks about a dearth of women lawyers in literature. Discussing crime fiction she mentions:
The first examples that occurred to me also come from this genre:
Alafair Burke’s series featuring Portland Deputy DA Samantha
Kincaid, Linda Fairstein’s series featuring Manhattan sex crimes
prosecutor Alexandra Cooper, and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s series
featuring Reykjavik lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir.
The post goes on to discuss a trio of stories written by women involving female lawyers - Weight by Margaret Atwood, The Mother by Michele Martinez; and, His Sister by Ruthann Robson. (I have not read any of them.)
At the end of the article she mentions the additional female lawyers she has identfied:
In addition to those mentioned above there is Ruth Puttermesser
from Cynthia Ozick’s The Puttermesser Papers; Judge Josie Jo
Ford from children’s classic The Westing Game; an array of
compelling women law students, lawyers, and judges in Lowell
B. Komie’s short stories; criminal lawyer Cass Jameson from
Carolyn Wheat’s mystery series; the lawyers of all-female firm
Rosato & Associates featured in Lisa Scottoline’s series of legal
thrillers; and, barristers Selena Jardine and Julia Larwood from
Sarah Caudwell’s series of legal whodunnits. Who else?
I was alittle surprised she had not identified more female lawyers in crime fiction. I have added a comment to the blog linking this post and advising there are a significant number of female lawyers in crime fiction which can be added to her list.
I have read the books involving the following female fictional lawyers who are not listed above:
1.) Defence counsel, Nancy Parrish, in Old City Hall and The Guilty Plea and Stray Bullets by Robert Rotenberg;
2.) Mickey Haller's ex-wife, Maggie "McFierce" McPherson is a prosecutor in The Lincoln Lawyer and The Brass Verdict and The Reversal and The Fifth Witness (California) by Michael Connelly;
3.) Barclay Reid is the managing partner of a large Seattle law firm and the accused in Murder One (Seattle) by Robert Dugoni
4.) Victoria Lord is a skilled trial attorney in Solomon v. Lord and The Deep Blue Goodbye and Kill All the Lawyers by Paul Levine
5.) Lily Belle Cleary is a quick thinking witty Florida lawyer in Bone Valley; and,
6.) Rebecka Martinsson is a Stockholm tax attorney in Sunstorm by Asa Larsson
On Tuesday I will add some reflections and observations on female fictional lawyers.