Honoree Profile: Jane M. Picker
Jane M. Picker argued the La Fleur v Cleveland Board of Education case before the Supreme Court in 1973, the case that challenged mandatory maternity leave for teachers and set a precedent for later pregnancy issues. She was a founder in 1972 and served for many years as president of the Women's Law Fund, a critical organization in the days of precedent-setting cases involving discrimination in housing, employment, education and government benefits.
She has represented plaintiffs in major employment law cases throughout the United States on behalf of female police, firefighters, teachers and union workers, represented girls seeking the right to participate in academic and sports programs that had been closed to them or to which they had been denied equal access, and litigated issues concerning the protection of American women from discrimination by American employers overseas. (The records of the Women's Law Fund, which was dissolved in 2007, are now on deposit at the Western Reserve Historical Museum in Cleveland,OH.)
Beginning in 1972, Picker joined the faculty of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University where she founded and directed its Fair Employment Practices Clinic. She served on the Advisory Committee of the ACLU's Women's Rights Project (1979-1995) and on its Litigation Committee (1986-1995).
In addition to practicing law in a major U.S.law firm,she has practiced law internationally, in Thailand, worked for the RAND Corporation and also for the Communications Satellite Corporation.She is a life member of the NAACP and served on its Cleveland Executive Committee (1991-1993). She became Professor Emerita of Cleveland State University in 2002. A cofounder of the Russia U.S. Legal Education Foundation (RUSLEF), she now serves as its vice president and secretary.