Monday, March 13, 2017
Professional associations unite to support full institutional citizenship - an effort to correct gender and related disparities among law faculty
The Legal Writing Institute (LWI) and the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) announce the launch of a new initiative aimed at correcting gender and related disparities among U.S. law faculty. Organizers chose International Women's Day (March 8) to launch the "Full Citizenship Project for All Law Faculty" because of the professional status challenges that continue to plague skills-based and academic support law faculty, who are predominantly women.
As law faculty status and salaries decrease, the percentage of women faculty increases. Based on available data, roughly - and only - 36 percent of tenured or tenure track faculty are female, whereas 63 percent of clinical faculty and 70 percent of legal writing faculty are female. This disparity is due to faculty teaching in skills-based areas often being denied the opportunity to earn the same security of position and academic freedom that traditional law faculty enjoy. Yet security of position and academic freedom are needed for a robust classroom and innovative teaching in all areas of law.
The Full Citizenship Project kicks off the start of a campaign to raise awareness about the challenges facing many of the women and men who teach in skills-based positions.
"The goal of this project is to gain support among all law school administrators and faculty for our view that no justification exists for subordinating one group of law faculty to another based on the nature of the course, the subject matter, or the teaching method," said Kim D. Chanbonpin, President of the Legal Writing Institute. "We believe these rights are now necessary more than ever before to ensure that law students and the legal profession benefit from the myriad perspectives and expertise that all faculty bring to the mission of legal education.
The first step of this project involves gathering signatures from across the country endorsing the Full Citizenship Statement, which has already been adopted by these organizations and by the Society of American Law Teachers Board of Governors. A copy of the Full Citizenship Statement is available.
We invite all interested parties - both within and beyond the legal academy - to endorse the Statement by signing here. The signature campaign begins on International Women's Day (March 8) and will end on Equal Pay Day (April 4). Organizers plan to report and present the results of the project to interested organizations, including the American Association of Law Schools, the American Bar Association, and the American Law Deans Association. More information about the Citizenship Project is available on the LWI website.
ABOUT LWI AND ALWD: The Legal Writing Institute (LWI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving legal communication by supporting the development of teaching and scholarly resources and establishing forums to discuss the study, teaching, and practice of professional legal writing. LWI has nearly 3,000 members representing 38 countries. The Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) is a non-profit professional association of directors of legal reasoning, research, writing, analysis, and advocacy programs from law schools throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. ALWD has more than 300 members representing more than 150 law schools. The mission of ALWD is to pursue activities to help law schools provide excellent legal writing instruction.
Kim D. Chanbonpin
President, The Legal Writing Institute
The John Marshall Law School
Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Legal Writing Program
Seattle University School of Law