Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

So You Want to be a Dean

This is one of the best articles I've seen capturing the leadership realities of deaning today, from my view as an Associate Dean.  

Chronicle HE, So You Want to Be a Dean?

I started out idealistic, and adamant that I could develop a better model of a school of education. What could be so hard, I thought, in "operationalizing" one’s ideas? What I have since learned: Nothing is more exciting or complicated in higher education as turning ideas into reality. It is way harder than rocket science.

So for any of you faculty members considering moving into administration, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that your background may be your greatest asset. The bad news is that it may also be your undoing as a capable administrator.

January 19, 2016 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Why Feminism Matters to the Study of Law

Why Feminism Matters to the Study of Law

Queen's University's Faculty of Law is home to Feminist Legal Studies Queen's (FLSQ), a research group that expands awareness and development of scholarship in feminist legal studies, enables the development of feminist legal scholars at Queen's, and fosters connections among feminists with an interest in law. In the fall of 2014, I had the privilege of returning to Queen's Law to give the first seminar in FLSQ's 2014–15 lecture series. I was tasked with providing some reflections on why feminist legal theory matters. Some of the people attending the talk were also enrolled in the Queen's Feminist Legal Studies Workshop. The readings assigned for those students were (1) Toni Pickard's (retired Queen's law faculty member) wonderful introduction to law students at Queen's from 1987, (2) Patricia Monture's (a graduate of Queen's) 2004 piece, “Women's Words,” and (3) Ruthann Robson's (lesbian legal theorist and class critic) piece “To Market, To Market.”What follows is the text from that talk.

December 29, 2015 in Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 18, 2015

AALS Lineup of Programs on Women in the Law

From the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education:

 

Women and the Law Annual Meeting Schedule

Wednesday, January 6th, 5:30-6:30 pm 

Section on Women in Legal Education Business Meeting

Drinks and hor d’oeuvres will be provided courtesy of St. Thomas University School of Law (Miami) and University of Toledo College of Law 

Thursday, January 7th, 1:30-3:15 pm

"Female Perspectives on Commercial and Consumer Law"

Co-sponsored panel with the Section on Commercial and Related Consumer Law

Friday, January 8th, 10:30 am-12:15 pm

"The Dodd-Frank Act’s Fifth Anniversary: Diversity and Inclusion in the Leadership of the Financial Services Sector"

Co-sponsored panel with the Sections on Minority Groups and Employment Discrimination

Friday, January 8th, 1:30-3:15 pm

 “Sex and Death: Gender and Sexuality Matters in Trusts and Estates”

Trusts and Estates and Women in Legal Education Joint Program 

Saturday, January 9th, 10:30 am-12:15 pm

"The Regulation of Appearance in the Workplace and the Meaning of Discrimination" 

Co-sponsored panel with the Sections on Minority Groups, Employment Discrimination, and Islamic Law

Saturday, January 9th, 12:15-1:30 pm

Section on Women in Legal Education Luncheon

Professor Marina Angel will be honored as the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 

December 18, 2015 in Conferences, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Student Studies Gender Inequity in His Research

Law Student Studies Gender Inequity in His Research

UW Law student Harlan Mechling couldn’t go to his little sister’s graduation from Willamette University, but his father did call to tell him she was graduating as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a nation-wide honor society, with 42 other women and 16 men. Those numbers stood out to Mechling, instigating his research on gender inequity.

 

 “The more I thought about it, the more I realized that’s not surprising because it’s consistent with my experience,” Mechling said. “Throughout my life, girls have always been at the top of the class.”
 

Mechling’s research revealed that women account for more than 60 percent of students graduating with honors, 9 percent higher than their percent of the student population. Despite these feats, most women will likely be getting paid only 78 percent of what their male colleagues will earn.

 

Kellye Testy, dean of the UW School of Law, believes her students face persistent gender discrimination once they’re out in the work world.

 

“One of the areas I’ve always been interested in is legal education,” Testy said. “We’ve been admitting women in law school a roughly equal number as men for a few decades now. 

 

But if you look at the world and the number of CEOs, governors, law school deans, etc., the percentage of women is much lower than it should be.”

 

She clarified that it is not just the UW law school that is graduating equal numbers of men and women.

 

Mechling’s research used statistics from Phi Beta Kappa. He gathered stats from emails sent out to those who qualified and the number of people in the society, from 27 private and public universities. Mechling wanted to measure academics because it was one of the only measurements that was consistent across universities in different states.

 

He began his research thinking maybe the high percentage of women in honors was just a Northwest thing, but was surprised to find consistency among schools.

 

The research paper Mechling created, titled “Follow California’s lead — help women recover damages for workplace sex/gender discrimination,” also states that even with the same amount of work experience, women teachers are paid 11 percent less than male teachers within a year of graduating college. In business and management jobs, women make 86 percent of what men are paid. In sales it is even less, with women earning 77 percent of what men get paid, according to Mechling. 

 

Testy believes it is because of implicit bias. She said gender equity is certainly moving in the right direction, but there’s a long history in the United States of gender discrimination.

 

Mechling said one way to address these issues is for states to have better non-discrimination laws.

 

“The best solution is a federal law amending the Equal Pay Act of 1973,” Mechling said. “There have been attempts to do that, but House Republicans keep shooting it down. I think the state is the only way it’s going to work because Congress has shown repeatedly that it’s not going to happen on the federal level.”

 

States tend to interpret the Equal Pay Act very broadly, according to Mechling. Usually there are four defenses for unequal pay and gender inequity, one of which allows employers to justify pay disparity as long as it’s any factor other than sex.

 

Cited in his research, the American Bar Foundation found only 6 percent of employment discrimination filings between 1987 and 2003 went to trial. Only one-third of those cases were successful. Even for employment discrimination cases, 40 percent are dismissed or lost at summary judgment.

 

Martina Kartman, a UW law student who was an intake investigator at the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, did the initial interviews at the office to determine if a discrimination case would be taken or not. 

 

“I think one of the things that was most difficult about discrimination laws and enforcing them is that they are from the ‘60s,” Kartman said. “Our laws haven’t always kept up with change.”

 

December 18, 2015 in Equal Employment, Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Women Academics, but Not Men, are Punished for Co-Authoring

Wash Post, Why Men Get All The Credit When They Work With Women

Heather Sarsons, a PhD candidate in economics at Harvard, recently compiled four decades of records on over 500 tenure decisions at the top 30 economics schools in the nation. During the tenure process at a university, young professors race to do as much research as possible to prove they deserve a permanent position on the faculty. The number of papers they publish in journals is one important measure of their performance.

 

According to Sarson’s preliminary results, it doesn’t affect a male economist’s chances at tenure if he publishes papers on his own, or with collaborators. But female economists are punished if they co-author. *

 

As further evidence that men are receiving credit for women's contributions, Sarsons shows that the penalty for co-authorship only exists when women work with men. When women work on a paper exclusively with other women, that penalty disappears. When men and women collaborate, however, men seem to soak up all the credit from the women.

 

November 30, 2015 in Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Bicentennial

Ms. The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Bicentennial: A Missed Opportunity for Study and Reflection

November 12 was the bicentennial of the birth of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of America’s most prominent and extraordinary women’s right leaders. The event passed largely un-noticed. We missed a chance to pause and reflect on her leadership and also on the issues she wrestled with, some of which are still with us.

 

Stanton deserves more recognition. She was, of course, the main organizer of the famous Seneca Falls women’s rights convention in 1848, which issued a ringing declaration demanding the right to vote. But there are several other reasons for studying her career.

We didn't miss it at the Con Law Colloquium at Akron Law.  The entire colloquium featured Stanton scholars of law and history delving into Stanton's contributions to gender equality and constitutional thinking of the vote, political economy, marriage, the family, and religious liberty. 

Here's my prior blog post and all the details from the program.

 

November 25, 2015 in Conferences, Constitutional, Law schools, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Servant Leadership in Law Schools

I've stumbled across this notion of servant leadership.  It is prevalent in social justice and religious circles, but was not familiar to me.  I studied leadership in many classes in graduate school, but those all explored notions of power, control and personality rather than ideas of service.  

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

The idea of servant automatically triggers my feminist flags as something sacrificial that would be required of women, but not men.  Something like the doormat theory of leadership.  Servant leadership sometimes appears, as in this article, as something kinder and gentler and more attuned to feminine values.  Ms. JD,  Women Leading Change.  But, the more I read, the more the idea is clearly gender neutral and derives from approach to both means and end.  It continues to appeal to me as better matching my own motivation for taking on and implementing administrative leadership.  

Women who are leading change also empower others to serve as leaders. A servant leader’s success is not measured by title, rank or position, instead the servant leader’s accomplishments are reflected in the sense of agency developed in the lives of others.

November 24, 2015 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Temple Law Prof Marina Angel Awarded AALS Lifetime Achievement Award

The AALS Women in Legal Education Section announced that Professor Marina Angel (Temple University Beasley School of Law) will be awarded the 2016 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award.

Her bio details her extensive accomplishments and leadership of women in the profession. "A Temple law professor for nearly 40 years, Professor Angel’s scholarship, teaching, advocacy, and service truly embody the spirit and purpose of this distinction."  

My favorites of her work are:

 Susan Glaspell's Trifles and A Jury of Her Peers: Woman Abuse in a Literary and Legal Context, 45 Buffalo L. Rev. 779 (1997) 

Criminal Law and Women: Giving the Abused Woman Who Kills A Jury of Her Peers Who Appreciate Trifles, 33 AM. CRIM. L. REV. 229 (1996).  

 

Teaching Susan Glaspell's A Jury of Her Peers and Trifles, 53 J. of Legal Education 548 (2003)

 

Prof. Angel will be honored at the AALS meeting Saturday, January 9th, 2016, 12:15-1:30 p.m. in New York City. 
 
 

October 27, 2015 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

US Feminist Judgments Project Featured in Time Magazine

The US Feminist Judgments Project is featured in Time, with editors Linda Berger, Bridget Crawford, and Kathy Stanchi.

The book is expected out next August.

The conference, building on the book and the broader question of the difference women make as judges will be next year, October 20 & 21, 2016 at the Constitutional Law Center @ Akron sponsored by Akron Law and UNLV Law.

 

 

October 6, 2015 in Books, Courts, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Law School Story

Susannah Dainow, Blind Justice: On Law School, Misogyny, and Sexual Abuse

When I arrived at law school, it was in pursuit of justice as much as a career. I had known since the age of 10 that justice is gendered; this was the age when I became transfixed by the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill hearings on the news. Through the haze of sordid details, I grasped enough to connect myself to the proceedings, and to gender-based inequalities of power. In high school, I was co-president of the women’s issues club; we started the school’s branch of the White Ribbon Campaign, a Canadian movement to memorialize and prevent such misogynist violence as had occurred at a Montreal engineering school in 1989, leaving 14 women dead. In conversation and in daily life, feminism and its evolutions were never far from my thoughts. As a newly-minted undergraduate, I conducted research on violence against women for a feminist legal organization. Law school seemed like the logical next step.

 

After the initial euphoria of having made it to a prestigious law faculty wore off, I began to sense a subtle edge pressing on me, telling me I did not belong. When Supreme Court justices visited in the fall of my first year, they took pains to discuss the need to retain women at large corporate firms through more family-friendly policies. The fact that this was the only remotely feminist concern they raised spoke volumes to me; I began to connect that uni-dimensional approach to gender with the un-belonging I was already sensing. Sometimes, entering through the school’s heavy glass doors, I felt as if invisible machinery descended from the ceiling and ground against my skin, trying to turn the raw material of me into something perfected in its own image. I started calling the faculty, “the factory.” I meant it as a joke, at first. 

September 10, 2015 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

EEOC Determines University of Denver Underpays Female Law Profs in Violation of Equal Pay Act

ABA J., EEOC: Female Law Profs at University of Denver are Underpaid, Violating Equal Pay Act

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined that the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law is violating the Equal Pay Act by paying its female professors less than males.

 

The EEOC threatened suit over the gender pay gap in a letter sent to the university on Friday, report the Denver Post and KUSA. The agency said pay disparities at the law school appear to be a “continuing pattern” dating back to 1973. To comply with federal law, the university has to boost the wages of female law professors and give them back pay, the letter says.

 

The EEOC acted in response to a complaint filed by University of Denver law professor Lucy Marsh, whose $109,000 annual salary in 2012 made her the school’s lowest paid full professor. Marsh learned about the salary differences in a 2012 memo from the school dean that discussed merit raises and made salary comparisons.

 

The memo by law dean Martin Katz indicated that female full professors made $16,000 less on average than male full professors. Katz noted the pay disparity but said salary differences may be due to several factors, including differing merit raises and starting pay.

 

The law school defended its system of evaluation and merit pay for law professors in a statement by Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. The school  cites a consultant’s findings that pay differences are due to a professor’s rank, duties, age and performance scores. The statement said Marsh’s salary was lower because of her “substandard performance in scholarship, teaching and service.”

 

Marsh counters that she has won several teaching awards and her Tribal Wills Project was recently recognized by the state supreme court.

September 1, 2015 in Equal Employment, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Nominations Sought for AALS Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award

From the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education:

The AALS Section on Women in Legal Education is pleased to open nominations for its 2016 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013, the inaugural award honored Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 2014 the award honored Catharine A. MacKinnon, and the 2015 award honored Herma Hill Kay.  All of these remarkable women were recognized for their outstanding impact and contributions to the Section on Women in Legal Education, the legal academy, and the legal profession.

 The purpose of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award is to honor an individual who has had a distinguished career of teaching, service, and scholarship for at least 20 years.  The recipient should be someone who has impacted women, the legal community, the academy, and the issues that affect women through mentoring, writing, speaking, activism, and by providing opportunities to others.

 The Section is now seeking nominations for this most prestigious award. Only individuals who are eligible for Section membership may make a nomination, and only individuals—not institutions, organizations, or law schools—are eligible for the award.  As established by the Section’s Bylaws, the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Executive Committee will select the award recipient, and the award will be presented at the 2016 AALS Annual Meeting. 

 Please submit your nomination by filling out this electronic form​ by August 31, 2015Please note that only nominations submitted via the electronic form by the deadline will be accepted.

 Please email Dean Cynthia Fountaine if you have any questions or difficulty with your online submission. 

August 6, 2015 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Year of the Female Law Dean

National Jurist, Year of the Female Dean

Call it the year of the women dean. Eleven of the nation’s 28 new deans this summer are female, an unprecedented number. It brings the total number of female deans at the nation’s ABA-accredited law schools to 59, or about 30 percent, which is an increase of 21 percent from 2008.

 

While the number still pales in comparison to the number of female J.D. students, which is 47 percent, the dean numbers are inching closer to the percent of female full-time law faculty, which is 34 percent.

July 28, 2015 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Rise of Women Law Deans

We have been tracking the number of new women law deans.  Our current count is  11 of 25 new appointments (44%).

The National Law Journal provides more analysis in Female Deans Taking Charge

Since 1989, women who run law schools have dined together during an annual American Bar Association workshop for leaders in legal education. Tradition dictates that each attendee talk about her greatest success and failure during the year. They share support and ideas.

 

When Katherine Broderick assumed the deanship of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law in 1998, the 14 female law deans could fit at a relatively small table. Today, 59 women run American Bar Association-accredited law schools, comprising 30 percent of all law deans. That's up from under 21 percent in 2008, according to a survey of law faculty by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

 

Clearly, they need a bigger table.

 

"Because we are so many, the stories of triumph and disaster are much shorter," said Broderick, now the longest-serving woman dean.

 

The numbers are set to rise even higher. Eleven — fully 40 percent — of the 28 deans slated to take over this summer are women — a spike that has not gone unnoticed. Incoming deans who attended a two-day ABA conference in Chicago this month buzzed about the number of women in the room.

 

"It felt to me like there were a striking number of new female deans," said Jennifer Mnookin, who will take the top spot at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law on July 1. "At one point, I was talking with a group of six soon-to-be deans, and five of them were women. I don't think that would have been possible a decade ago."

June 23, 2015 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

46% of New Law Deans are Women

Update: 6-8-15

Before this year's new hires, women constituted 20.6% of Law Deans. See ABA Commission on Women, A Current Glance at Women in the Law

By my count, women constitute 11 of 24 (46%) of new deans this year. 

Jennifer Bard (Texas Tech),  Cincinnati

Kathleen Boozang (Seton Hall), Seton Hall

Danielle Conway (Hawaii), Maine

Lyn Entzeroth (Tulsa), Tulsa

Melanie Leslie (Cardozo), Cardozo

Jennifer Mnookin (UCLA), UCLA

Alicia Ouelette (Albany Acting Dean), Albany

Suzanne Reynolds (Wake Forest), Wake Forest

Jennifer Rosato (Dean, No Illinois), DePaul

Laura Rosenbury (Wash U), Florida

Melanie Wilson (Kansas), Tennessee

 Help keep the list current.  Add others to comments below.  

June 9, 2015 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Symposium: Women in the Law

Akron Law Review's, Women in the Law Symposium exploring a variety of issues at the intersection of women and the law.  And featuring an article by my co-editor, John Kang.

An Introduction to the Women in the Law Symposium
Tracy A. Thomas
-- Page 891

Professional Women Silenced by Men-Made Norms
Maritza I. Reyes
-- Page 897

Gender Differences in Dispute Resolution Practice: Report on the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Practice Snapshot Survey
Gina Viola Brown and Andrea Kupfer Schneider
-- Page 975

Physical Attractiveness and Femininity: Helpful or Hurtful for Female Attorneys
Peggy Li
-- Page 997

Women in Litigation Literature: The Exoneration of Mayella Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird
Julia L. Ernst
-- Page 1019

The Soldier and the Imbecile: How Holmes's Manliness Fated Carrier Buck
John Kang
-- Page 1056

Ill-conceived Laws and Exploitative State: Toward Decriminalizing Prostitution in India
Yugank Goyal and Padanabha Ramanujam
-- Page 1072

June 4, 2015 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Prof. McElroy Responds

And she responds with class. 

Lisa McElroy, After a Public Shaming, Reclaiming my Dignity. Excerpts don't do it justice.  Just read.

April 25, 2015 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Law School Accused of Mishandling Rape Investigation

Law Student Accuses University of San Diego for Mishandling Rape Investigation

A University of San Diego law student has filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming college officials discouraged her from reporting an alleged rape by two fellow students.

 

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating how the college handled reports of the same incident.

 

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 13, says the 29-year-old woman was raped by two men in the bathroom at an off-campus party in May 2013. The woman told NBC 7 she did not immediately report the incident to police because she was afraid.

 

"It's horrifying and stigmatizing. I didn't want to be that girl that got raped. Nobody does," she said.

 

But when she discovered one of her alleged attackers was in her evidence class the next fall semester, she informed her professor.

 

March 7, 2015 in Law schools, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Women in Law Leadership: A Bibliography

Women in Law Leadership: A Bibliography

 Taking on new administrative leadership at your law school?  Thinking of being a dean?  Here are some readings guiding you on this path.  Please add your own suggestions in the comments.

 ABA, Gindi Eckel Vincent & Mary Bailey Cranston, Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in Law

 Joan Williams & Rachel Dempsey, What Works for Women at Work (NYU Press 2014)

 Sheryl Sandburg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

 LeanIn.Org  http://leanin.org/

 Sharyl Sandburg & Adam Grant, Madam CEO, Get Me Coffee, NYT, Feb. 2015.

Deborah Maranville, et al, Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Table of Contents) (2015)

Martin Katz & Kenneth Margolis, Transforming Legal Education as an Imperative in Today's World: Leadership and Curricular Change

Laura Padilla, A Gendered Update on Women Law Deans: Who, Where, Why, and Why Not?, 15 J. Gender, Soc. Policy & the Law 443 (2007)

ABA, Women in the Profession, Grit and Growth Mindset Program

 The Women's Equality Program, Maryland School of Law

 2015 Women's Power Summit (Texas)

 AALS Women Deans’ Data Bank (discontinued)

February 19, 2015 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

How to Get Away with Murder: Not exactly true to life but lots of fun

My favorite (and only) TV show. How to Get Away With Murder.  Of course you have to suspend reality.  I love the classroom scenes with this powerful woman crim law professor at the front.  

Why Doesn't Annalise Understand the Constitution? [spoiler alert]

3. Annalise's Fifth Amendment lesson plan is suspicious.

I know the show likes to cut between the case of the week and Annalise teaching in order to sort of demonstrate the practicum of her class (which, again, is better suited to a 3L seminar than a required 1L class, but I digress). But this week's lesson in never ever talking to the police seems pretty heavy-handed.

 

She shows up late to class, interrupting a lesson that a covering colleague had already begun to announce that she's going off syllabus. Annalise wants to talk about the Fifth Amendment and how suspects in criminal investigations shouldn't talk to police.

February 14, 2015 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (1)