Dozens of young women filed into a Saratoga County courtroom Wednesday, all with a common interest: law.

“I was in the system as a child, so I’m interested in how the justice system works,” said Hannah Fortner, a junior at Hadley-Luzerne High School.

“My ultimate goal is to be in the sheriff’s department,” said Ballston Spa High School senior Nicole Mooney.

“I’ve always been interested in criminal justice and I’ve always wanted to be a courtroom officer,” said Takoda Porrazzo, a Stillwater High School junior.

They were attending the inaugural Women In Law program hosted by the Adirondack Women’s Bar Association featuring a panel of women.

“[We are] from all different aspects of the legal field,” Adirondack Women’s Bar Association President Kate Falco said. “Whether that’s a court officer, a stenographer, a judge, attorneys, of course.”

The event included people like Saratoga County Supreme Court Judge Diane Freestone.

“We always want to bring along and mentor other women to be invested and be part of this,” she said.

Each of the panelists had an opportunity to share their experiences in the legal world which is made up of mostly men. The American Bar Association for example reports that in 2023, 39% of all lawyers were female, slightly more than a decade ago.

“Our law school class was not the proportions that it is now from male to female,” Freestone said. “So I think you have to have a thicker skin.”

The hope among participants is that the stories continue to fuel the interest and inspire a group of young women poised to close the industry’s gender gap.

“The more female students you have in law school, the greater percentage you’re going to have on your way up the hierarchy,” Falco said.

“I don’t think it’s very intimidating,” said Juliannah Crosse, another junior at Hadley-Luzerne. “If anything, it fuels me even farther to proceed to be successful in this field.”