This essay explores the struggles by European women to gain access to the legal profession, the arguments that they used, and the resistance that they encountered from defenders of the status quo. It argues that access to law universally trailed access to medicine not because of issues related to the study or practice of law, but because the arguments put forward to justify admission to the bar appeared to many opponents to lead directly to women's suffrage and equality in other areas. Such opposition came more from state authorities than from universities or practicing attorneys. The timing of admission to the bar in different countries followed no clear pattern related to economic development, legal systems, religion, or political regimes. The overwhelming majority of European countries allowed women to become lawyers between 1898 and 1923, a much shorter period than the process took in the United States or Canada.