Esther Kegan

Name: Esther Kegan (Oswianza)
Birth Date: 1913


Esther Kegan was a patent lawyer for over 50 years and senior partner in the Chicago law firm of Kegan & Kegan. She graduated from Northwestern Law School in 1936 and she and her husband founded their firm in 1940. The firm primarily focused on scientific matters and the protection of intellectual property. Kegan was well known for her strong ethics and legal ability, and she helped pioneer the way for other women to become lawyers in Illinois. She was affiliated with the Women’s Share in Public Service, a non-profit, non-partisan organization representing twenty-four women’s organizations, as well as being an early or founding member of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, and the United States Trademark Association. Kegan is known for her sex discrimination case of July 1971, against a New York securities brokerage firm, the Walston’s Gary, Ind., who asked her to sign a “Women’s Commodity Account Agreement” that men didn’t have to sign. It released the firm from any losses which might result during commodity trading. Kegan refused to sign and brought her discrimination suit against them. She felt that he “women’s agreement” was discouraging women from trading in the volatile communities market.

Children: Three: Daniel, Franklin, and Judith Gardiner
Years in Evanston: home built in 1947-2000?

Sources: EHC Bio Files Evanston Telephone Book House Cards