Saturday, December 20, 2014

Teaching or Not Teaching Rape Law

Jeannie Suk in The Trouble with Teaching Rape Law revives the argument against teaching rape in the classroom due to the potential traumatic effect on students who might have experienced it. 

Corey Yung disagrees, arguing the importance of this area of law in Jeannie Suk on Teaching Rape

In this week’s New Yorker, Jeannie Suk laments what she perceives as the increasing difficulty in teaching rape to today’s law students. I was a bit surprised in reading Suk’s article because her descriptive account of today’s law school classroom environment regarding rape is at completely at odds with my own. A few years ago, I attended SEALS where there was a panel discussing teaching rape in the classroom. I asked the panelists whether the reluctance to teach rape, most famously described in James Tomkovicz‘s 1992 Yale Law Journal article on the subject, was simply outdated. Almost everyone else was teaching rape and students were reacting positively to that choice. And that is why Suk’s article struck me as particularly strange – teaching rape has become the majority rule in 1L Criminal Law.

Of course, the reluctance to teach rape articulated by Tomkovicz was somewhat different than the one now described by Suk. Tomkovicz was primarily focused on classroom controversy, potential professional consequences, and students being marginalized because of classroom discussions. In contrast, Suk focuses on trauma of rape victims in the classroom. She is concerned that students seem to want trigger warnings or no discussion of rape in the classroom.

Given the prevalence and front-page news of the issue of rape today, and debates over what "legitimate rape" or "campus rape" or "sexual assault" is, it seems like this topic is critical now more than ever.  And much more than academic.


December 20, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (1)

Date Rape Song or Feminist Anthem? "Baby It's Cold Outside"

Baby It's Cold Outside was Once an Anthem for Progressive Women. What Happened?

Urban Dictionary now lists the song under the heading “Christmas Date Rape Song.” Recently, it was given a “feminist makeover” in the clever, if not quite as catchy, YouTube video “Baby, It’s Consent Inside.”


Is all this controversy over a catchy classic really warranted?


Upon first listen, maybe. The tune was penned in the 1940s by Frank Loesser — writer of Guys and Dolls — to be performed as a duet with his wife at Los Angeles parties. Its predatory nature is apparent from the original notes, which label the male’s part as “wolf” and the female’s as “mouse.”


And try reading the lyrics with a moderately critical eye. She doesn’t want to stay. He tries to convince her. “It’s cold outside,” he croons over her protestations, “gosh your lips look delicious.” Over the course of their back and forth, she infamously wonders what’s in the drink he handed her. Oy.


However, the story behind the tune isn’t quite so uncomplicated. As feminist blog Persephone Magazine noted in 2010, the song’s historical context matters. At the time they were written, an unmarried woman staying the night at her beau’s was cause for scandal. It’s this fear we see reflected in the lyrics, more than any aversion on the part of the woman to staying the night.

December 20, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Writing Her Own Way

An inspiring story of writing.  NYT, The Unbreakable Laura Hillenbrand.  There's not only one way to research and write.  And sometimes the path least traveled turns out to be best. 

December 20, 2014 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Joe Biden's Comments about Manliness's Moral Obligations

Joe Biden gave a speech about fighting violence against women. Here were some comments he made about the moral obligations of manliness:

But unlike most people of my dad’s generation, he went further. He was a gentle man, but he raised us to intervene. He taught us, where we saw it, the definition of our manhood was not what a great football player, baseball player me or any of my brothers or sister were, it was to stand up and do the right thing.

I remember when my sister, my younger sister, was beat up by a young boy when she was in seventh grade. I'm older than my sister, I was two years ahead of her. I remember coming back from mass on Sunday, always the big treat was we would get to stop at a doughnut shop at a strip shopping center. We went in, and we would get doughnuts, and my dad would wait in the car. As I was coming out, my sister tugged on me and said, ‘That’s the boy who kicked me off my bicycle.’

 Read the rest here.  

December 19, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Law Schools Behind on Readying Students for Legal Technology

ABA, Student Lawyer, Law Schools 3.0

The American Bar Association recently updated its Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Comment 8 of Rule 1.1 now states that lawyers should “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”


Those already practicing may have to study up or find someone to tackle the technology end of the work for them. But what are law schools doing to make sure that tomorrow’s lawyer can hit the ground running? ***


The legal education community needs to step up. “Schools must address this deficiency,” added Granat, who is also founder and CEO of the virtual law firm platform provider DirectLaw, Inc. and LawMediaLabs, Inc., a digital legal solutions and interactive law apps provider. “The delivery of legal services, especially to consumers and small businesses, is becoming much more dependent on the understanding of legal technology,” he said. “The platform is shifting from one-to-one service to the Internet itself.”***


While many schools are behind the eight ball when it comes to teaching legal technology tools, Marc Lauritsen, president of Capstone Practice Systems and Legal Systematics, and an adjunct professor at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, said there has been a recent push to catch up.


“At least a dozen law schools are offering courses and the numbers are growing,” said Lauritsen, also a cochair of the ABA’s eLawyering Task Force. “However, for the most part, the tools that lawyers are using in practice are not being taught.”


He said many students are not prepared for their new competition either. “The marketplace is rapidly changing. Companies like Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom are contributing to lawyer underemployment by providing a more cost-effective and consumer-friendly way for people to receive services,” Lauritsen said.


December 18, 2014 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Illinois Grants Bar Exam Breaks to Pump Breast Milk

New Mom Will Get Stop-the-Clock Breaks to Pump Breast Milk During Bar Exam

Told there was no procedure for appealing a decision by Illinois bar exam authorities not to provide stop-the-clock breaks when she needed to pump breast milk, Kristin Pagano nonetheless wrote a letter requesting reconsideration.

On Tuesday, that request was unanimously granted by the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar. Pagano will be allowed to take a break of up to 30 minutes during each three-hour segment of the test, which will not be counted against the time she is given to complete the bar exam, reports the Chicago Tribune. A female proctor and access to an appropriate area in which to pump breast milk will also be provided.

Hear Kristin speak about it here, Kristin Pagano Speaks: Breastfeeding Accommodations and the Illinois Bar Exam

December 18, 2014 in Family, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Technology May Help in Reporting Sexual Assault

Reporting Sexual Assault is Difficult, but a New Technology May Help

Callisto, an online sexual assault reporting system under development by a nonprofit called Sexual Health Innovations, aims to change this and provide better options for victims of sexual assault on college campuses.


The project builds on the idea of “information escrows” proposed by Ian Ayres and Cait Unkovic in a 2012 Michigan Law Review article. Mr. Ayres, an economist at Yale’s law school, and Ms. Unkovic, a graduate student at the University of California-Berkeley, suggest that reporting of misbehavior that is difficult or costly for victims to disclose might be increased if people had the option to report that information to a third party who would make the disclosure only if others also reported misconduct by the same individual.

December 18, 2014 in Technology, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Paltrow and Flavin on Forced Intervention Against Pregnant Women

Lynn Paltrow (Nat'l Advocates for Pregnant Women) and Jeanne Flavin (Fordham Law) have uploaded "Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women's Legal Status and Public Health." The abstract reads:

In November 2011, the citizens of Mississippi voted down Proposition 26, a “personhood” measure that sought to establish separate constitutional rights for fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses. This proposition raised the question of whether such measures could be used as the basis for depriving pregnant women of their liberty through arrests or forced medical interventions. Over the past four decades, descriptions of selected subsets of arrests and forced interventions on pregnant women have been published. Such cases, however, have never been systematically identified and documented, nor has the basis for their deprivations of liberty been comprehensively examined. In this article we report on 413 cases from 1973 to 2005 in which a woman’s pregnancy was a necessary factor leading to attempted and actual deprivations of a woman’s physical liberty. First, we describe key characteristics of the women and the cases, including socioeconomic status and race. Second, we investigate the legal claims made to justify the arrests, detentions, and forced interventions. Third, we explore the role played by health care providers. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings and the likely impact of personhood measures on pregnant women's liberty and on maternal, fetal, and child health.

December 17, 2014 in Reproductive Rights, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chang on "Immigration-Status Spousal Support"

Stewart Chang, Whittier Law, has uploaded Dreams of My Father, Prison for My Mother: The H-4 Nonimmigrant Visa Dilemma and the Need for an "Immigration-Status Spousal Support."  The abstract reads: 

This article uses the situation of H-4 visa derivatives in the Asian Indian immigrant community as a case study to expose and critique larger incongruities within current American immigration policy, which on the one hand has historically extolled individuality, equality, and workforce participation as avenues to the American Dream, while enforcing gender hierarchy and dependency through requirements that prioritize family unity on the other. These incongruities remain largely unnoticed because the culture of dependency is often attributed to traditional ethnic culture, which then becomes the site of scrutiny and blame. The H-4 visa dilemma in the Asian Indian community illustrates how the legal restrictions stipulated in immigration law often produce and perpetuate recursions of ‘traditional culture’ within immigrant American families that ultimately consign Asian Indian women to perpetually occupy the place of the foreign ‘Other’ in American society. The ‘Othering’ of the ethnic alien culture perpetuates the illusion that America is not patriarchal in comparison, which concurrently promotes the idea that the foreign culture is inferior, behind, and incompatible. This constructed inferiority further forecloses these women from other avenues of justice in America, such as family law, which is similarly configured as to be culturally incompatible with the dependent immigrant subject. Thus, these women of- ten voluntarily choose to exclude themselves from the process, as did many of my Asian Indian clients. These are the assumptions and hierarchies regarding the mythos of independence in American identity that this article seeks to overcome, which then open avenues for some nonconventional solutions.

December 17, 2014 in Family, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Global Perspective on Pregnant Worker Accommodations

WaPo, What's Fair Treatment for Pregnant Workers? The US Isn't Sure. Other Countries Are.  Other countries provide better work accommodations.  But its more complicated than that, as there is still prevalent pregnancy discrimiination and ambivalence about accommodating work and family for women.  


 In the United States, pregnancy discrimination claims grew by 31 percent between 2005 and 2010, the ILO report said, faster than all other job bias claims. Though pregnant workers are supposed to be treated fairly, the same as other “similarly situated” workers, under the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, U.S. courts have paid out $150 million in pregnancy- discrimination-related damages since 2001.

December 16, 2014 in Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mindmapping and Flipping Classrooms: Videos on Innovative Law Teaching

TaxProfBlog, TED-Style Videos on Law Teaching

LegalEd has posted over thirty 10-minute Ted-style videos on law teaching:

  • Jamie Abrams (Louisville), The Socratic Method, Revisited
  • Renee Allen (Florida A&M), Metacognition and the Value of Reflection in Learning
  • Christine Bartholomew (SUNY-Buffalo), Finding Time
  • Sydney Beckman (Lincoln), Using Technology for Engagement and Assessment
  • John Bickers (N. Kentucky), How Non-Bar Tested Electives Can Teach Lawyering
  • Shawn Marie Boyne (Indiana), Teaching Through Simulations
  • Andrea Curcio (Georgia State), Assessing Ourselves as Law Professors
  • Aaron Dewald (Utah), Improving Presentations With Learning Sciences (Parts 1 & 2)
  • Aaron Dewald (Utah), Why Flip/Blend a Law School Classroom?
  • Victoria Duke (Indiana Tech), Bringing Exercises into Large Classes
  • Vicenç Feliú (Villanova), Clinics and Librarians Collaborating
  • Doni Gewirtzman (New York Law School), Teaching and Theater: The Craft of Law Teaching
  • Michele Gilman (Baltimore), Why Use Clickers? To Provide Students Real Time Feedback
  • Leigh Goodmark (Baltimore), How to Use a Drafting Exercise in a Doctrinal Course
  • Margaret Hahn-Dupont (Northeastern), Learning Through Reflection and Self-Assessment
  • Kim Hawkins (New York Law School), What Law Professors Need to Know About Visual Arts
  • Jeremiah Ho (UMass), Not Your Father's Case Method
  • Dan Jackson (Northeastern), Designing Lawyers: Leading an Experiential Law School Design Lab
  • Brett Johnson (Harvard), H2O Project: Remixing the Casebook
  • Elizabeth Keyes (Baltimore), Teaching Narrative
  • Stefan Krieger (Hofstra) & Theodor Liebmann (Hofstra), Teaching Storytelling
  • Laurie Levenson (Loyola-L.A.), A Better Way to Teach Law School
  • Michele Pistone (Villanova), The Future of Higher Education
  • Michele Pistone (Villanova), Why Law School Needs to Change
  • Michele Pistone (Villanova) & Beryl Blaustone (CUNY), Teaching 21st Century Law Students: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose
  • Wes Reber Porter (Golden Gate), A Better Class to Class Process to Accompany Flipping
  • Jeffrey Ritter (Georgetown), Mapping the Law: Building and Using Visual Mindmaps for Legal Education
  • Jennifer Rosa (Michigan State), Legal Writing on Steroids: The Art of Flipping Your Classroom
  • William Slomanson (Thomas Jefferson), Why Flip? & Macro Design
  • Victoria Szymczak (Hawaii), Using Video to Convert Student Into Teachers
  • Debora Threedy (Utah), Flipping Contracts: The Making of the Videos
  • Frank Valdes (Miami), LatCrit and the Legal Academy
  • Leah Wortham (Catholic), Student Motivation and Sense of Well Being

December 16, 2014 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Birth Control Products Liability Suit Prepared for Trial

Judge Orders 33 Yasmin, Yaz Lawsuits Be Prepared for Trials Nationwide

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits has identified 33 cases that will be prepared for trials to begin by the middle of next year, involving claims for injuries that the manufacturer of the popular birth control pills has refused to settle.


Since 2009, all product liability lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system involving side effects of Yaz, Yasmin or other related birth control pills have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois, as part of an MDL or Multidistrict Litigation.


At one time, the litigation included around 12,000 cases filed on behalf of women who suffered various different injuries. However, Bayer has reached Yasmin and Yaz settlements to resolve the majority of all cases involving gallbladder problems and venous clot injuries, such as a deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.


December 16, 2014 in Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Why U.S. Women Are Leaving Jobs Behind"

From the NYT: 

Since Kerry Devine, 32, and her friends began having children, she has noticed a stark difference between her female friends in Auburn, Wash., where she lives, and those in England and Cyprus, where she grew up. In the United States, they almost all stopped working outside the home, at least until their children were in school. Yet, she says, she can’t think of a friend in Europe who left work after her children were born.

Ms. Devine quit her job after she had her first child, a girl, four years ago, because she thought 12 weeks of maternity leave was too short. “I just didn’t want to leave her in day care or pay for the expenses of it,” she said. When she gave birth to twin boys this year, a return to work — she had been a property manager for apartment buildings — looked even less plausible.

Her story would have played out differently, she said, if she had been living in her native England. Like many European countries, Britain offers a year of maternity leave, much of it paid, and protections for part-time workers, among other policies aimed at keeping women employed.

December 14, 2014 in Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Judge in Trouble over Sexual Harassment Charges

From the NY Post:

A randy Brooklyn judge turned the hallowed halls of justice into a seedy sleaze pit — sexually harassing his Orthodox Jewish secretary with lurid tales about his erotic adventures with a mistress, proudly striding shirtless around his chambers, and forcing her to pick up his soiled underwear, a new lawsuit charges.

Brooklyn civil court Judge David Schmidt, 61, tormented veteran court secretary Sharon Sabbagh, 57, by stroking her face, forcing her to give him hugs before she went home, and regaling her with explicit tales of sex with his mistress, the lawsuit alleges.

“When I have sex with my wife, I think of her,” Schmidt said, adding that he buys his fling underwear from Victoria’s Secret and that they have daily phone sex, the Brooklyn Supreme Court suit claims.



December 14, 2014 in Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

National Women's History Museum One Step Closer

Senate Approves Bill for US Women's History Museum

An effort to create a National Women’s History Museum is heading to President Barack Obama’s desk after the Senate passed the measure 16 years after it was first introduced.


The legislation for a women’s history museum will establish a privately funded commission to study and report how a museum could be created and maintained in Washington.


Slate, The Long and Controversial History of the National Women's Museum, Which Still Does Not Exist

The Website for the National Women's History Museum


December 13, 2014 in Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Books on Law this Season

Whether you're gift-giving or ready to settle down for a nice winter's nap (with book), here are some books in law that might be of interest. 

The Divorce Papers [h/t Molly McBurney]

Supreme Ambitions

List from Legal History Blog  

December 13, 2014 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Men Invoking Title IX to Fight Sex Assault Charges

From the Washington Times:

BOULDER, Colo. — He was suspended for three semesters by the University of Colorado Boulder for “sexual misconduct,” even though police filed no charges against him and his accuser admitted she wanted to scare him when she made the complaint.

So John Doe, as he is known in court records, filed a lawsuit last week against the university saying his rights had been violated under Title IX, the 1972 law that forbids universities from discriminating on the basis of sex.

“CU Boulder has created an environment in which an accused male student is effectively denied fundamental due process by being prosecuted through the conduct process under the cloud of a presumption of guilt,” says the Nov. 21 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado. “Such a one-sided process deprived John Doe, as a male student, of education opportunities at CU Boulder on the basis of his sex.”


December 12, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

To Beard or Not to Beard....

The grooming tropes of manliness, according to one expert....

Ever the psychology professor, I have looked high and low for a scientific, evidence based, argument to convince my wife that beards are healthy and sexy on men. And lo, my search has not been in vain. Scientists have found two very good reasons that all adult men should grow beards.

First, beards are the result of a post-pubescent level of testosterone production in the male body, and testosterone has a ton of physical benefits. Testosterone makes men strong. It makes men fast. It makes men big. So having a beard is basically nature's advertisement that a male adult body has the testosterone it should have and that the man sporting the beard is full grown. Beards mark the men from the boys.

December 12, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Women Law Professors Cited More, but Published Less than Men

A new study says women law professors are cited slightly more often than men.  NLJ, Study: Women Law Professors Cited More Often. Citation suggests some measure of good or relevant work being done by women.  But juxtapose that against the fact that women are published less often than men (32% of law reviews, 20% in top journals), a disparity that begins with student notes. (And similar to other disciplines where studies have shown, women are published less and cited less.)  Is this the professional equivalent of the neighborhood kickball game, where the girl has to be twice as good to get picked?  

Nancy Leong in Discursive Disparities details the consequences of women being left out of the writing game:   

Such harms include economic loss, damage to career, and diminished public influence. These harms are serious in themselves. Perhaps more importantly, however, the discursive gender disparity means that men's words dominate public discourse, and to control discourse is to control reality. When men's words, thoughts, ideas, and arguments constitute the overriding public narrative, the result is that men determine the texture of daily life on matters both trivial and grave. The result of the discursive disparity is that male discourse exercises a disproportionate influence on our collective consciousness.



December 11, 2014 in Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Study Shows Gender Bias in Student Evaluations of Professors

Best Way for Professor to Get Good Student Evaluations? Be Male.

Many in academia have long known about how the practice of student evaluationsof professors is inherently biased against female professors. Students, after all, are just as likely as the public in general to have the same ugly, if unconscious, biases about women in authority. Just as polling data continues to show that a majority of Americans think being a man automatically makes you better in the boss department, many professors worry that students just automatically rate male professors as smarter, more authoritative, and more awesome overall just because they are men. Now, a new study out North Carolina State University shows that there is good reason for that concern.


One of the problems with simply assuming that sexism drives the tendency of students to giving higher ratings to men than women is that students are evaluating professors as a whole, making it hard to separate the impact of gender from other factors, like teaching style and coursework. But North Carolina researcher Lillian MacNell, along with co-authors Dr. Adam Driscoll and Dr. Andrea Hunt, found a way to blind students to the actual gender of instructors by focusing on online course studies. The researchers took two online course instructors, one male and one female, and gave them two classes to teach. Each professor presented as his or her own gender to one class and the opposite to the other. 


The results were astonishing. Students gave professors they thought were male much higher evaluations across the board than they did professors they thought were female, regardless of what gender the professors actually were. When they told students they were men, both the male and female professors got a bump in ratings. When they told the students they were women, they took a hit in ratings. Because everything else was the same about them, this difference has to be the result of gender bias. 


“The difference in the promptness rating is a good example for discussion,” MacNell explains in the press release for the study. "Classwork was graded and returned to students at the same time by both instructors. But the instructor students thought was male was given a 4.35 rating out of 5. The instructor students thought was female got a 3.55 rating.” Considering that professors were rated on a five-point scale, losing an entire point on the "promptness" question just because students think you're female is a major hit. 

“The ratings that students give instructors are really important, because they’re used to guide higher education decisions related to hiring, promotions and tenure,” says Lillian MacNell, lead author of a paper on the work and a Ph.D. student in sociology at NC State. “And if the results of these evaluations are inherently biased against women, we need to find ways to address that problem.”


December 11, 2014 in Abortion, Education, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)