Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Highlights of the July 2014 Issue of The Federal Lawyer magazine on "Women in Law" include
Ruth Ann French-Hodson, The Continuing Gender Gap in Legal Education (WL Link), reporting the results of a law-school study conducted by Yale Law Women.
Gender disparity in law school continues both inside and out of the classroom. These effects spill over as women enter the legal workforce and are exacerbated by similar institutional problems across the profession. Additionally, the legal profession has played a role in perpetuating some of the education structures that alienate and disadvantage women through prioritizing certain markers of taw school success. Change will not automatically happen over time; it requires commitment and action from students, faculty, administrators, and the broader legal profession.
Melanie Wilson (Assoc. Dean, Kansas), Sentencing Inequality Versus Sentencing Injustice (WL Link):
This essay considers the empirical evidence showing that women receive more lenient treatment from the American criminal justice system than men. It recognizes that this may be attributed to stereotypes about women as the weaker sex or to gender bias from prosecutors and judges, but ultimately rejects both scenarios. The essay argues that disparities in the way women are prosecuted and sentenced are more likely linked to legitimate differences in women's culpability compared to their male counterparts and that this mirrors current societal influences, including unequal opportunities for women in training, employment, pay, and similar factors.
Zeenat Shaukat Ali, The Dynamic Nature of Islam's Legal System with References to Muslim Women.
Some have criticized Muslim law as being oppressive of women. This article challenges that notion by encouraging the reconsideration of some of the interpretations of Muslim law. Specifically, the article examines some of the law's foundational tenets and philosophies, arguing that they have either been misapplied or should be reconsidered in light of their true meaning. Ultimately, the article concludes that, in changing the paradigm of gender-related issues, the understanding of the dynamic nature of shari'ah, with several legal mechanisms at its command, could play a major role in shaping and effecting reform and restoring the rights of women bestowed on them by the Quran.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
From the ABA Journal, Pay Discrimination Alleged in Prof's Suit Against FAMU Law School
An associate law professor at Florida A&M’s law school claims in a lawsuit filed last week that the school pays male and female professors unequally.
According to allegations in the suit by Jennifer Smith, male associate law professors are “paid considerably more” than women in those positions, and the school “consistently hired men at considerably higher rates than women,” the Tampa Tribune reports at its Fresh Squeezed blog. Her suit claims equal pay violations, gender discrimination and retaliation.
Smith says she was granted tenure in 2010 but was denied a promotion to full professor, most recently last month. She claimed an administrator “sabotaged” her promotion by putting bad recommendations in her file in place of good ones, partly in retaliation for filing public records requests for pay information, the story reports. She also says she complained about the administrator after the person made some “threatening comments” about her.
A second female professor, Barbara Bernier, filed a similar complaint last year.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
LIVING THINKERS: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BLACK WOMEN IN THE IVORY TOWER examines the intersection of race, class and gender for Black women professors and administrators working in U.S. colleges and universities today. Through their diverse narratives, from girlhood to the present, Black women from different disciplines share experiences that have shaped them, including segregated schooling as children, and the trials, disappointments and triumphs encountered in Academia
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
For a summary of Prof. Hanna's contributions as a professor, see Respected Vermont Law School Professor Dies. "She made her name known by creating an intellectual environment and by making everyone feel smart."
For her important work as a legal advocate for women's equal pay, see Key Lawyer Dies Before Equal Pay Case is Heard. "Hanna brought the case to the attention of the Vermont Commission on Women and wrote the organization's amicus brief in the case, which she would have presented Wednesday."
For insights from her husband, see Cheryl Hanna's Husband on Her Battle With Depression and The Mystery of a Popular Professor's Death Solved
And the official statement of the cause of death.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Carmen Gonzalez (Seattle) and Angela Harris (UC Davis) have posted Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia:
Abstract:On March 8, 2013, the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice hosted an all-day symposium featuring more than forty speakers at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law to celebrate and invite responses to the book entitled, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González & Angela P. Harris eds., 2012). Presumed Incompetent presents gripping first-hand accounts of the obstacles encountered by female faculty of color in the academic workplace, and provides specific recommendations to women of color, allies, and academic leaders on ways to eliminate these barriers. The symposium held at Berkeley continued the conversation begun in the book through a series of concurrent and plenary panels, poetry readings, and keynote addresses. Selected papers from the symposium were published in both the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice and the Seattle Journal for Social Justice (SJSJ). This introduction discusses and contextualizes the papers published in the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice. These papers reflect the exhilarating breadth and depth of the discussions that took place during the symposium. Like the papers published in SJSJ, they enhance our understanding of the hierarchies of the academic workplace, and offer additional tools to promote a more equitable and inclusive campus environment.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Updated June 25: New Additions to the List
I thought I would try and track the new law deans that are women. Please help me add to this list by sending me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or posting a comment below. For background, see Laura Padilla (Cal Western), A Gendered Update on Women Law Deans: Who, Where, Why and Why Not? (2007)
Jocelyn Benson, (Interim Dean, Wayne State), Dean, Wayne State
Jennifer Collins (Vice-Provost, Wake Forest), Dean, SMU
Phyllis Crocker (former Interim & Assoc. Dean, Cleveland State), Dean, Detroit Mercy
Danielle Holley-Walker (Assoc. Dean, South Carolina), Dean, Howard
Jean Holloway (corporate attorney), Dean, Hamline
Jennifer Johnson (professor, Lewis & Clark), Dean, Lewis & Clark
Gillian Lester (acting Dean, Berkeley), Dean, Columbia
Andrea Lyon (criminal attorney), Dean, Valparaiso
Wendy Scott, (former Associate Dean, NC Central), Dean, Mississippi College
Nancy Staudt (Vice Dean, USC), Dean, Wash U
Judith Areen (former Dean, Georgetown), Executive Director, AALS
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
A list of recent books from professor members of the Feminist Legal Theory Critical Research Network, recently gathered at Law & Society.
Angela Campbell, Sister Wives, Surrogates and Sex Workers: Outlaws by Choice (Ashgate 2013)
June Carbone & Naomi Cahn, Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family (Oxford University Press 2014).
Feminism, Law and Religion (Marie A. Failinger, Susan Stabile, & Elizabeth Schiltz eds., Ashgate 2013)
Gender and Sexuality in Latin America: Cases and Decisions (Cristina Motta & Macarena Saez eds., Springer 2013)
Leslie Harris, June Carbone, & Lee Teitelbaum, Family Law (5th ed. Aspen 2014)
Jill Elaine Hasday, Family Law Reimagined (Harvard University Press 2014)
Clare Huntington, Failure to Flourish: How Law Undermines Family Relationships (Oxford University Press 2014)
Ummni Khan, Vicarious Kinks: S/M in the Socio-Legal Imaginary (University of Toronto Press 2014)
Nina A. Kohn, Elder Law: Practice, Policy, & Problems (Aspen 2014)
Douglas O. Linder & Nancy Levit, The Good Lawyer: Seeking Quality in the Practice of Law (Oxford University Press 2014)
Elizabeth Palley & Corey Shdaimah, In Our Hands: The Struggle for U.S. Child Care Policy (New York University Press 2014)
Kara W. Swanson, Banking on the Body: The Market in Blood, Milk and Sperm in Modern America (Harvard University Press 2014)
Saturday, June 7, 2014
No, this is not more from the Princeton mom.
Bachelorette Using What She Learned in Law School to Choose Fake Husband. Bachelorette Andi Dorfman says law school taught her the value of “going there and asking questions that, you know, are sometimes off limits, but really get you the answers that you need, you know.”
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Ok, we have two days of the writing retreat under our belt. How are we doing?
Sarah Morath says "Having a week dedicated to writing is a treat. Grades are in, the fall seems like the distant future, the kids are still in school. This week is my week to write!" She adds: "The week is further sweetened by lunching with my colleagues each day. (Eating a proper lunch in good company four days in a row! Now, that's as rare as having a week dedicated to writing)."
Me? It's been slower than usual for me. Lots of stops and starts. Both figuratively and literally. I'm thinking its because last year I had a discrete project - a book introduction. This year I am in the middle of chapter 4 of my book project.
But it's a new day...
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Today begins my week long women's writing retreat. The idea was first suggested to me seven years ago by Prof. Mae Quinn. It adopts the concept of the novelist's writers' group to law scholarship. I previously wrote about it here.
In the early years, four of my female colleagues and I rented a house at Lake Chautauqua. We spread out into sunrooms, dining rooms, and porches to jump start our summer research away from meetings, carpools, and other distractions. Nestled in idyllic tranquility the creative juices flowed and a good bulk of research or written pages achieved. And need I say how wonderful it was to have a week where people made and brought you coffee, chopped the salad vegetables, cleaned up their mess and yours, and changed the TP roll.
These days many of us have a hard time leaving town due to other work, family, and financial demands. So we've adapted to a day retreat. Like day camp instead of overnight camp. We meet off campus at a community library and work at the carrels and tables. We go out for lunch, sharing our ideas, testing theses, mentoring and generally rooting each other on. At the end of the week, we have an informal workshop sharing what we've produced. That has the added push of some goal achievement as the research summer has just begun.
We have a great, eclectic group of six women this year. Assitant professor to dean. Four years of teaching to thirty plus. First-year teacher, clinician, legal writing professor, and upper-level teacher. Projects range from book reviews and essays, to traditional law reviews, and book projects.
I'm hoping they will be inclined to share some of their thoughts about this process as we blog this week.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
I just published the book chapter, Teaching Women's Legal History in Teaching Legal History: Comparative Perspectives (Robert Jarvis, ed. 2014). Here's an excerpt:
My objectives for the class focus on women, historical relevance, and feminist methodology. First, the class is designed to explore the historical development of women’s rights in the law, information that is mostly absent in other courses except for a scattered representation in constitutional law. Second, my goal is to foster an appreciation for the modern significance of that history. This “applied legal history” approach seeks a useable past that enables history to be relevant to ongoing legal disputes of gender. Finally, the course introduces and utilizes feminist methodology of deconstruction and integration. It trains the students to read the law with suspicion by looking beyond the seeming objectivity of the law to expose assumptions and biases. It also then adds to that law and context the omitted experiences of women. There is value in expanding feminist methodology beyond the usual feminist theory class because it offers a critical way of approaching the law, emphasizes social context, and teaches gender as a core value.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
five fields of legal study, which will be organized into "factions": Abnegation, which will focus on public interest work and "street law;" Amity, which will focus on dispute resolution; Erudite, which will focus on the most cerebral of legal work, corporate, securities and tax law; Candor, which will focus on governmental agency work; and Dauntless, which will focus on litigation. Each field of study will require different lengths of training. Dauntless training will be completed in three months by zip-lining from the Sears Tower through downtown Chicago. Erudite training will take six years and take place exclusively indoors.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Maria Lopez (Loyola, New Orleans) and Kevin Johnson (Davis) have posted Presumed Incompetent: Important Lessons for University Leaders on the Professional Lives of Women Faculty of Color, Berkeley J. Gender, Law & Justice (forthcoming).
Academics have long known that the experiences of women faculty members of color differ in important respects from those of any other faculty members. Adding significantly to that body of knowledge, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia edited by Professors Angela P. Harris and Carmen Gonzalez in a collection of essays of different voices offers important lessons for scholars, university administrators and leaders, faculty members, and, for that matter, students interested in the experiences of women of color in academia. People of good faith who want to “do the right thing” may find it difficult to read the unsettling stories and pleas for empathy, internalize the lessons as based on common occurrences rather than outlier experiences, and consider how to address and redress the issues. Still, we as a collective have the obligation and responsibility to think about what might be done to improve the day-to-day lives of the next generation of women faculty of color.
To that end, this review essay directs attention at one chapter of the volume, which offers invaluable commentary and perspective on the other chapters and provides many lessons for university leaders hoping to make a positive difference. This is terrain where one might expect two minority law school deans (and faculty members) to feel most comfortable. In addition, as people of color with real life experience with these issues, we hope to provide insights that help university leaders to better appreciate, grapple with, and attempt to effectively address the concerns of women faculty of color
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
From the new Clinical Law Prof Blog, Do Women Professors Underperform? By perform, the post means produce scholarship and advance to full professor. After being somewhat taken aback by the title, I was even more taken aback by this assertion. "Women comprised just 24.5 percent of scholarly authors in the field of law from 1991 to 2010."
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Law teaching conferences on pedagogy often fail to really offer much new, but this conference looks quite promising, Igniting Legal Education. Interesting talks include "Why Law Schools Must Change," flipping the classroom, experiential learning, learning theory, 21st century competencies, simulations, and more.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Dahlia Lithwick, at Slate, has a sit down with Anita Hill over her new documentary in Talking to Anita Hill. Interesting how, in true feminist form, her own life experiences almost involuntarily drew her into her life's work, transitioning from her early legal career in commerical law and contracts to a focus on sexual harassment. She thought her experience would only take a few years to explore the permutations of harassment, but instead it became a full-time focus.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
AALS Mid-Year Meeting, Thursday through Saturday | June 5 – 7, 2014 . Looks like a terrific line-up.
2013 was an important year for issues concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. The U.S. Supreme Court issued rulings in Hollingsworth v. Perry and U.S. v. Windsor that have broad implications for sexual minorities, as does the earlier repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” But these developments have raised as many questions as they resolved, and the reverberations from them will continue to shape the landscape for many years. At the same time that marriage equality is spreading through the U.S. and other countries, many states and countries still retain laws that negatively impact sexual minorities and their families. The majority of countries in the world and half the states in the U.S. provide no protection against discrimination based on sexual minority status, and the federal government does not prohibit this discrimination. Bullying and suicide continue to plague LGBTQ youth, and religious liberty continues to be offered as a basis for discriminatory action. Additionally, scholars and activists are writing about sexual orientation and gender identity from many perspectives and challenging many of the constructs that limit individuals’ freedom to express their sexuality and identity in creative, autonomous ways.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
As we begin women’s history month, I thought I would share a women’s legal history reading list. I've developed this list over the last decade with what I think are the seminal articles and books on particular topics, used in connection with my own research and for teaching a Women's Legal History seminar. This foundational work is critical to filling in the gendered gaps of the conventional history, and it is also just plain interesting. It's interesting that Florence Kelley was responsible for the Brandeis brief and the use of social science in legal argument; that abortion in the first trimester was legal fro a century until 1865; that some leading women’s rights advocates like Elizabeth Cady Stanton pushed for no-fault divorce in the 1860s and that feminists in the 1970s were largely absent from the no-fault divorce reform; that women lay lawyers invented legal aid lawyering and problem-solving courts; that female advocates and reformers challenged the marital rape exemption 100 years before need for change first “discovered” in the 1970s. The list goes on and on. My hope is that one day these "women's" topics will be mainstreamed into traditional wisdom as embodied everywhere from constitutional law texts to high school history books. But for now, at least, the history is being recovered and analzyed, and the transmission of that discovery has been started.
Women’s Legal History: A Reading List
Tracy A. Thomas
Tracy Thomas & Tracey Jean Boisseau, Eds., Feminist Legal History (NYU Press 2011)
Linda Kerber, No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship (1999)
Joan Hoff, Law, Gender & Injustice: A Legal History of US Women (1994)
Felice Batlan, Engendering Legal History, 30 Law & Soc. Inquiry 823 (2005)
Tracy A. Thomas, The New Face of Women’s Legal History, 41 Akron L. Rev. 695 (2008).
Martha Chammallas, Introduction to Feminist Legal Theory (2d ed. 2003)
Nancy Levit, Robert Verchick, & Martha Minow, Feminist Legal Theory: A Primer (2006)
Joan Williams, Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to do About it (2000)
Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (1987)
Louise Michele Newman, White Women’s Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States 5 (1999)
Tracy Thomas, The Beecher Sisters as Nineteenth-Century Icons of the Sameness-Difference Debate, 11 Cardozo Women's L. J. 107 (2004)
EEOC v. Sears, 628 F. Supp. 1264 (N.D. Ill. 1986), 839 F.2d 302 (7th Cir. 1988)
Haskell & Levison, Historians and the Sears Case, 66 Tex. L. Rev. 1629 (1988)
Mary Beth Norton, Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of America Society (1997) (Anne Hutchinson trial, jury of matrons)
Kristin Collins, “Petitions Without Number”: Widows’ Petitions and the Early Nineteenth-Century Origins of Marriage-Based Entitlements, 31 Law & History Rev. 1 (2012)
Mary Beth Norton, In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (2003)
Jane Campbell Moriarty, Wonders of the Invisible World, 26 Vt. L. Rev. 43 (2001)
Peter Hoff, The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History (1997)
Coverture, Marital Status in the Family, Marital Property
William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Law of England, Of Husband and Wife (1769)
Norma Basch, In the Eyes of the Law: Women, Marriage, and Property in Nineteenth Century New York (1982)
Richard Chused, Married Women’s Property Law:1800-1850, 71 Georgetown L.J.1359 (1983)
Tracy A. Thomas, Elizabeth Cady Stanton on the Marriage Amendment: A Letter to the President, 22 Const. Comment. 137 (2005)
Reva Siegel, Home as Work: The First Woman’s Rights Claims Concerning Wives’ Household Labor, 1850-1880, 103 Yale L J. 1073 (1994)
Ariela R. Dubler, Governing Through Contract: Common Law Marriage in the Nineteenth Century,” 107 Yale Law J.1885 (1998).
Jill Hasday, Contest and Consent: A Legal History of Marital Rape, 88 Cal. L. Rev. 1373 (2000)
Naomi Cahn, Faithless Wives and Lazy Husbands: Gender Norms in Nineteenth-Century Divorce Law, 2002 U. Ill. L. Rev. 651
Ken Burns, Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony (video)
Declaration of Sentiments, July 1848
History of Woman Suffrage, v.I (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, eds)
Nancy Isenberg, Sex and Citizenship in Antebellum America (1998)
Ellen DuBois, Outgrowing the Compact of our Fathers: Equal Rights, Woman Suffrage, and the US Constitution, 1820-1878, 74 J. Amer. History 836 (1987)
Doug Linder’s Famous Trials Website, The Trial of Susan B. Anthony (including trial documents)
Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1974)
Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920 (1998)
Iron Jawed Angels (2004) (video)
Reva Siegel, She the People: The Nineteenth Amendment, Sex Equality, Federalism, and the Family, 115 Harv. L. Rev. 945 (2002)
Felice Batlan, Notes from the Margins: Florence Kelley and the Making of Sociological Jurisprudence, in Transformations in American Legal History: Law, Ideology, and Methods (Daniel Hamilton & Alfred Brophy 2010)
Nancy Woloch, Muller v. Oregon: A Brief History with Documents (1996)
Muller v. Oregon, 208 US 412 (1908)
Adkins v. Children's Hospital, 261 US 525 (1923)
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Article, 7 Green Bag 2d. 397 (2004)
Reva Siegel, Reasoning from the Body: A Historical Perspective on Abortion Regulation and Questions of Equal Protection, 44 Stan. L. Rev. 261 (1992)
James Mohr, Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy (1979)
Tracy A. Thomas, Misappropriating Women’s History in the Law and Politics of Abortion, 36 Seattle L. Rev.1 (2013)
Linda Gordon, The Moral Property of Women: A History of Birth Control Politics in America (2000)
Linda Greenhouse & Reva Siegel, Before Roe v. Wade (2010)
Leigh Ann Wheeler, How Sex Became a Civil Liberty (2012)
Sarah Grimke, Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women in The Feminist Papers (Alice Rossi, ed. 1973).
Serena Mayeri, A New ERA or a New Era? Amendment Advocacy and the Reconstitution of Feminism, 103 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1223 (2009)
Serena Mayeri, Reasoning from Race: Feminism, Law, and the Civil Rights Revolution (2011)
Deborah Brake, Revisiting Title IX's Feminist Legacy, 12 Am.U.J. Gender, L.& Soc. Pol.462 (2004)
Deborah Brake, Title IX as Pragmatic Feminism, 55 Clev. State L. Rev. 513 (2008)
Jill Hasday, Fighting Women: The Military, Sex, and Extrajudicial Constitutional Change, 93 Minn. L. Rev. 96 (2008).
Cleveland Board of Ed. v. LaFleur, 414 U.S. 632 (1974)
Deborah Dinner, Recovering the LaFleur Doctrine, 22 Yale J.L. & Fem. 343 (2010)
Tracy Thomas, The Struggle for Gender Equality in the Northern District of Ohio, in Justice on the Shores of Lake Erie: A History of the Northern District of Ohio (Paul Finkelman & Roberta eds. 2012)
Pauli Murray, Jane Crow and the Law: Sex Discrimination and Title VII, 43 G.W. Law Rev. 232 (1965)
Emma Coleman Jordan, Race, Gender and Social Class in the Thomas Sexual Harassment Hearings, 15 Harv. Women's L.J. 1 (1992)
Carrie Baker, The Woman’s Movement Against Sexual Harassment (2007)
Women in the Courts
Marina Angel, Teaching Susan Glaspell's A Jury of Her Peers and Trifles, 53 J. Legal Educ. 548 (2003)
Joanna Grossman, Women's Jury Service: Right of Citizenship or Privilege of Difference?, 46 Stan. L. Rev. 1115 (1994)
Felice Batlan, The Birth of Legal Aid: Gender Ideologies, Women, and the Bar in New York City, 1863-1910, 28 Law & History Rev. 931 (2010).
Viriginia Drachman, Sisters in Law: Women Lawyers in Modern American History (2001)
Bradwell v. State, 83 U.S. 130 (1872)
In re Lockwood, 154 U.S. 116 (1894)
Women’s Legal History Biography Project, at http://wlh.law.stanford.edu
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Teri McMurtry-Chubb (Mercer), guest blogs today in response to Lisa McElroy (Drexel), Are Legal Writing Professors Like Nurses? Professor McMurty-Chubb serves as a member of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) Board of Trustees, and Chair of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) Diversity Initiatives Committee.
In the lodestar history of African American female nurses, Black Women In White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890-1950 (Indiana University Press, 1989), Darlene Clark Hine discusses the racism Black nurses encountered in their professionalization as nurses. Hines' work is a sweeping tome that chronicles the hurdles Black nurses faced not only in caring for members of their communities, but also from the white women who shared their profession. Although Hines' work is an historical study, history oft repeats itself. A little over a year ago, in February 2013, an African American female nurse filed a lawsuit against Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan after a new father (white) gave orders to her charge nurse that he did not want any Black nurses caring for his white baby (link to news story here: ). White nurses, however, were welcome. It seems that not all nurses are created equal.
As it is in nursing, so too it is in the academy. A 2002 study in the Chronicle of Higher Education stated that 39% of all full-time professors are women. Of this percentage 8% are African American and Hispanic women. See Black Professors On The Track. Recent works chronicling the experiences of these women, such as the highly praised Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (Utah State University Press, 2012), note that professors of color are isolated in university communities and lack allies in white women who wholeheartedly take up gendered battles, but shy away from those where race and gender collide in the bodies of their sisters of color. Of the 39% of women employed full-time in the academy, just over half are employed as instructors or lecturers. This necessarily means that African American and Hispanic women are represented disproportionately at the lower levels of employment status. A study published in 2003 by Deborah Jones Merritt and Barbara F. Reskin reported that 30.3% of tenure-track positions at law schools were occupied by white women as compared to 7.6% by women of color, New Directions for Women in the Legal Academy, 53 J. Legal Educ. 489 (2003), which brings us back to legal writing.
The experiences of women legal writing professors are not all the same. Women of color law professors who teach legal writing have a deeply textured, multi-layered experience in which privilege, power, and status operate differently than in the lives of white women law professors who teach legal writing. White women in the legal academy must build bridges to us, acknowledge our differences, and address how we can all advance together. If, as female law professors of color who teach legal writing, we are like Black nurses, then our white sisters in the academy must acknowledge their own race privilege as an impediment to our collective progress.