Clara Burrill was born in Washington, DC to John Henry Burrill and Clara Washington
Burrill. She was educated at Howard University (1900 – 1901), Radcliffe College (1901 – 1903),
and Boston University Law School (1923 – 1926).
Clara married Roscoe Conkling Bruce,
son of Senator Blanche Kelso Bruce. In 1926, Mrs. Bruce passed the Massachusetts State Bar Examination,
the second African American woman to do so. She was undergraduate Editor of the Boston Law Review (1925
– 1926). Mrs. Bruce later contributed several articles to leading law journals.