The true story of the first Italian lawyer narrated by Netflix in “The Law of Lidia Poët”

Period series and films are an audiovisual vein, and Netflix is ​​aware of it. There are several productions of historical plots that have been quite successful on the platform, such as the film “Mary, Queen of Scots” (2019), starring Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, or “Persuasion” (2022), fiction starring Dakota Johnson. In the field of series, it is worth noting “Los Bridgertons”, a series that already launched its second season in March 2022 and that is in full production of the third installment. With this, everyone who is a follower of period works has not gone unnoticed by the new series that is succeeding on Netflix: “Lidia Poët’s Law”, directed by Letizia Lamartire and Matteo Rovere, stars Matilda de Angelis, and although some of the tapes mentioned above have a great deal of fiction, this series has an interesting true story behind it.

The series follows in the footsteps of Lidia Poët, the first female lawyer in Italy, who, determined to annul the Turin Court of Appeal ruling, which prevents her from practicing as a lawyer, finds work in the law firm of her brother Enrico (Pierluigi Pasino) while Prepare your appeal. So, These 6 episodes take the viewer to the middle of the 19th century in Italy, and tells a story that straddles between detective fiction, a mysterious thriller and an incessant search for justice by a woman who, despite not having a penny, does not hesitate to empower herself. And, respecting the creative licenses of any fictional production, this story is based on a real experience, lived by the real Lidia Poët.

Indeed, she was the first modern Italian lawyer, and was born on August 26, 1855 in Perrero (Italy). She grew up in a wealthy family in Pinerolo, where her older brother, Giovanni Enrico, owned a law firm. Since young, focused her education on a future where she could fend for herself, so Poët obtained the title of teacher of English, German and French, as well as enrolled in the Faculty of Law of the University of Turin. It was then that she began her real adventure: once she took her degree out of her, the Italian lawyer applied to join the Turin Order of Lawyers and Prosecutors, to which several lawyers objected, as was the case of Federico Spantigati or Desiderato Chiaves. With this, it should be noted that there were also those who supported Poët, defending that “according to Italian civil laws, women are citizens like men” -these words were pronounced by the president of the Bar Association, Saverio Francesco Vegezzi-, and therefore They have the same right to practice law. It was on August 9, 1883 when the protagonist of this story rose as the first woman admitted to be a lawyer in Italy.

However, not everything stopped there, because it is at this moment that the plot that addresses the Netflix series begins: November 11, 1883, just three months after entering the College, and despite getting support Of 45 of the 50 members of the Order, an Appeal Court determined what the few detractors of the lawyer had been defending for weeks. Poët’s registration was declared illegal, and it was disabled. Although she appealed to the Turin Court of Cassation, she was finally out of court, as the decision of the previous Court was confirmed. This produced a real uproar in Italian society, among which an open public debate arose over what happened to Poët. The vast majority of Italian newspapers positioned themselves in favor of the lawyer, defending the ability and right of women to hold public office, although there were also publications that opposed this reality.

With this, Poët started a real feminist fight: while collaborating as a lawyer in her brother’s office, she became a great defender of the rights not only of women, but also of minors and other minorities, as well as being a key figure support for women’s suffrage. In 1903 she joined the National Council of Italian Women (CNDI), where she directed, at the 1908 and 1914 congresses, the legal work.

Her struggle lasted for several years, and it was not until 1919, 36 years after she had first entered the Bar, and when Poët was 64, that she was readmitted again. After the First World War, the well-known Sacchi Law abolished marital authorization in Italy, so that women could have the full right to access public office, except for the judiciary, politics and military positions. In 1920, Poët managed to enter the Order, becoming, this time, the first female lawyer in Italy. She died in Diano Marina (Italy) at the age of 94, on February 25, 1949, and was buried in the cemetery of her hometown.

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