Friday, May 22, 2015

Elizabeth Wurtzel on Big Law's Gender Problem

The controversial writer offers video observations here.  

May 22, 2015 in Women lawyers, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

More Updates: Annual List of New Women Deans

Another update: 5-21-15

Before adding in these new hires, women constitute 20.6% of Law Deans. See ABA Commission on Women, A Current Glance at Women in the Law

By my count, women constitute 9 of 21 new deans so far 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

Alicia Ouelette (Albany Acting Dean), Albany

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.  

May 21, 2015 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Batlan on the Gendered History of Legal Aid

Excited - my friend Felice Batlan's book is out!  Here's the review from the Legal History Blog.

 

Karen Tani, New Release: Batlan's History of Legal Aid, 1863-1945

I've been really looking forward to this new release, from Cambridge University Press: Women and Justice for the Poor: A History of Legal Aid, 1863–1945, by former guest blogger Felice Batlan (Illinois Institute of Technology/Chicago-Kent College of Law). Here's the abstract:
This book re-examines fundamental assumptions about the American legal profession and the boundaries between “professional” lawyers, “lay” lawyers, and social workers. Putting legal history and women's history in dialogue, it demonstrates that nineteenth-century women's organizations first offered legal aid to the poor and that middle-class women functioning as lay lawyers, provided such assistance. Felice Batlan illustrates that by the early twentieth century, male lawyers founded their own legal aid societies. These new legal aid lawyers created an imagined history of legal aid and a blueprint for its future in which women played no role and their accomplishments were intentionally omitted. In response, women social workers offered harsh criticisms of legal aid leaders and developed a more robust social work model of legal aid. These different models produced conflicting understandings of expertise, professionalism, the rule of law, and ultimately, the meaning of justice for the poor.
Reviewers say:
"Women and Justice for the Poor is an exciting and timely intervention into work on lawyering in the United States. Batlan establishes the deep relevance of ideas about gender and race to the history of law and legal practice through ambitious research, provocative analysis, and engaging narrative."  -- Martha S. Jones, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, University of Michigan
"By tracking legal aid through the winding corridors of urban social institutions, Batlan gives us evocative insights into gender, reform, capitalism, and lawyering in a cogent and fascinating historical account. Her erosion of lay and professional boundaries, demonstrated by women’s contribution to legal aid and the pragmatic relief they provided to underprivileged clients, illuminates the value of using gender to frame the story." -- Norma Basch, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University
"In a remarkably original social/legal history, Batlan is asking readers to rethink what lawyering has meant and could mean. And when you ask ‘outside the box’ questions, you come up with surprising answers. This book can help us understand why law today can be far from justice." -- Linda Gordon, Florence Kelley Professor of History, New York University
More information is available here.

May 14, 2015 in Books, Poverty, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Get the Facts: Statistics on Women in the Law

ABA Commission on Women, A Current Glance at Women in the Law (July 2014).

Women are:

  • 34% of the legal profession
  • 44.8% of associates 
  • 17% of equity partners
  • 20% of all partners
  • 4% of managing partners at BigLaw
  • 16% of general counsels
  • 47% of law students
  • 46% of law review leaders
  • 20% of law deans
  • 45.7% of associate deans
  • 66% of assistant deans
  • 24% of the federal judiciary
  • 27% of the state judiciary
  • and women lawyers make 78.9% of what men make

May 7, 2015 in Equal Employment, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Underestimating Baltimore Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby

Wall St. J., 5 Things to Know About Baltimore Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby

3. Ms. Mosby has to overcome doubters who may be skeptical of her experience.

Several residents interviewed in West Baltimore recently said they knew little about Ms. Mosby and even Ms. Mosby’s strongest supporters acknowledge that she faces doubts from some city residents. Before an election victory last year that surprised many, Ms. Mosby had spent three years as field counsel at Liberty Mutual Insurance, reviewing and defending against suspicious claims. Before that, she was an assistant state’s attorney for five years. “I’ve seen this repeatedly where she’s sort of underestimated because of her age, or they think she doesn’t have enough experience,” said Kweisi Mfume, a former Maryland congressman and past head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Ms. Mosby passed the bar in 2006 after graduating from Boston College Law School.

May 5, 2015 in Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Redesigning Parent-Friendly Law Firms

NYT, A Woman-Led Law Firm That Lets Partners be Parents

One reason Ms. Simon and Ms. Geller don’t feel they have to sneak out of the office is that there are no offices. The firm shuns a permanent home in favor of a shared work space managed by a company called Metro Offices, where it rents a conference room for an hour, an office for a day, as needed. Ms. Geller typically appears there once a week; Ms. Simon two or three times.

 

They did this partly to encourage their employees to work from home and on their own schedules. “My old firm would drive me bonkers,” Ms. Geller said. “If I have a slow week, why can’t I take a day, run errands? You’d better believe, when something urgent comes in, I’m going to work an all-nighter.” Four of the six employees have young children, and two set aside standing blocks of time to spend with them each week.

 

The other advantage is to hold down expenses, of course, which allows the Geller Law Group to maintain reasonable profit margins while charging less than competitors with higher overhead. (Ms. Simon and Ms. Geller, who bill themselves out at $280 an hour, conducted market research. Ms. Simon was determined to stay under $300 for the same psychological reason that “real estate agents price things at $999,000.”) To keep track of one another, the lawyers and a paralegal meticulously update their shared Google calendars and communicate constantly through Gchat.

 

Ms. Simon delights in the guerrilla-style logistics of a mostly virtual firm. She says clients generally don’t know that the firm doesn’t have its own space, though she tells them if they ask. If clients call the firm’s main number, they are greeted by an automated switchboard.

May 5, 2015 in Women lawyers, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Four Women Supreme Court Justices -- All Together

Legal Times, Female Supreme Court Justices Unite in Tribute to Sandra Day O'Connor

The U.S. Supreme Court's three female justices came together in Washington on Wednesday to pay tribute to retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and her legacy in the law, her work with women judges and her push to improve civic education.

 

With the 85-year-old justice on hand, the event sponsored by Seneca Women was a rare occasion when the only four women who have served on the high court were all in the same room.

 

"There's more excitement here right now than I've seen in a long time," said Melanne Verveer, a co-founder of Seneca Women and formerly the chief of staff to Hillary Clinton as first lady.

 

Calling her "the incomparable Sandra Day O'Connor," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke of O'Connor as "a true cowgirl—resourceful and resilient" and praised her for the demeanor on the court during her tenure from 1981 to 2006.

 

"Sandra Day O'Connor has done more to promote collegiality" on the court, Ginsburg said, "than any other justice past or present." Never, Ginsburg said, did O'Connor resort to harsh criticism of other justices in her opinions and dissents.



April 16, 2015 in Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

NLJ's Outstanding Women Lawyers

National Law J, Introducing The National Law Journal's Outstanding Women Lawyers

How many do you know?

Except ... they considered as factor number one in defining success "development of successful practices, especially new areas of law or practices typically dominated by men." 

April 16, 2015 in Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lawyer Loses Sex Discrimination Suit

NLJ, Former Booz Allen Lawyer Loses Discrimination Suit

A former lawyer at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. who claimed that women older than 40 faced a “glass ceiling” within the company has lost her discrimination case.

 

Carla Calobrisi joined Booz Allen’s law department in 2000 at age 44, according to court records. In 2011, she said she was demoted from “principal” to “senior associate” as part of internal restructuring. She resigned shortly after and filed a lawsuit against Booz Allen in 2013.

 

U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga in Alexandria, Virginia, sided with Booz Allen last week and dismissed the case. Trenga found that Calobrisi failed to show that Booz Allen’s decision to restructure the law department was a pretext for discrimination.

April 14, 2015 in Equal Employment, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Women in the Federal Judiciary: Still a Long Way to Go

NWLC, Women in the Federal Judiciary: Still a Long Way to Go

Over the past three decades, an increasing number of women have joined the legal profession. Since 1992, women’s representation in law school classes has approached 50%. Despite record numbers of female judicial nominees and confirmations, the percentage of female federal judges, however, is far lower.  It is of critical importance to increase the representation of women on the federal bench.

 

When women are fairly represented on our federal courts, those courts are more reflective of the diverse population of this nation and women, and men, may have more confidence that the court understands the real-world implications of its rulings.  The increased presence of women on the bench improves the quality of justice: women judges can bring an understanding of the impact of the law on the lives of women and girls to the bench, and enrich courts’ understanding of how best to realize the intended purpose and effect of the law that the courts are charged with applying.  For example, one recent study demonstrated that male federal appellate court judges are less likely to rule against plaintiffs bringing claims of sex discrimination, if a female judge is on the panel. 

 

President Obama has appointed 129 female judges – more than any President to date. But to obtain true gender diversity, the number of women in the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, must be increased. 

  • Upon the confirmation of Associate Justice Elena Kagan, the Supreme Court counts three women among its nine Justices for the first time in history, still only one-third of the members of that Court.  Only four of the 112 Justices ever to serve on the highest court in the land have been women. 
  • Sixty of the 171 active judges currently sitting on the thirteen federal courts of appeal are female (almost 35%).  When broken down by circuit, women’s representation on several of these individual courts is even lower than on the courts of appeals overall: 
    • In particular, women are underrepresented on the Third Circuit (where they make up about 23% of judges) and the Eighth Circuit (18%).
  • Thirty-three percent of active United States district (or trial) court judges are women. 
    • But there are still 7 district courts around the country where there has never been a female judge.
  • For women of color, the numbers are even smaller.
    • There are 80 women of color serving as active federal judges across the country, including 42 African-American women, 25 Hispanic women, 10 Asian-American women, one Native American woman, one woman of Hispanic and Asian descent, and one women of Hispanic and African-American descent.
    • There are only 11 women of color on the U.S. courts of appeals.  Five of those women sit on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, two sit on the DC Circuit, and one woman of color sits on each of the First, Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Circuits. Therefore, there are seven federal courts of appeals without a single active minority woman judge.

April 11, 2015 in Gender, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Toward an Intellectual History and Political Influence of Black Women

From Al Brophy at The Faculty Lounge, Jones on Lynch Nomination

Martha Jones of the University of Michigan's history department and law school has an op-ed at Huffington Post on Loretta Lynch's nomination to be attorney general and the increasing political influence of African American women.  Let me use this as an opportunity to mention, as well, the book that Martha has just co-edited, Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women.  This obviously builds on Martha's pioneering book on African American women and political ideology in the nineteenth century, All Bound Up Together.

April 9, 2015 in Books, Race, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

LA DAs File Sexual Harassment Claim Against Supervisor

ABA J, Sexual Harassment Suit Filed by 2 Deputy DAs Against Their Former Supervisor

Two deputy district attorneys for Los Angeles County are suing their former supervisor, saying he sexually harassed them and gave out “stale” cases when they rejected him.

 

According to the Los Angeles Times, Tannaz Mokayef and Beth Silverman’s lawsuit says profanity and sexual favors are commonplace in the major crimes division of the DA’s office, which handles some of the highest-profile crimes in the county.

 

The accusations are against Gary Hearnsberger, then head deputy of the major crimes division. The lawsuit says he repeatedly subjected the two women to unwanted touching, graphic sexual comments and sexual gestures. Silverman alleged Hearnsberger touched her buttocks at least twice, and followed it up once by saying “You know you like it.” Mokayef says Hearnsberger compared her vibrating phone to a sex toy and repeatedly told her she “smells good.”

 

The women say that when they rejected his advances, they were penalized—not only with “stale cases” given to Mokayef, but also with profanity and screaming directed at her and humiliating public criticism of Silverman. By contrast, they said female attorneys who cooperated were given opportunities for career advancement.

 

They also accuse Hearnsberger of other crude behavior at work, including jokes about a transgender attorney’s genitals and showing up to a 2012 costume party for those working in the hardcore gangs division wearing a stuffed sheep stapled to the crotch of his overalls. Photos of this costume were Exhibit 3 to the complaint.

April 7, 2015 in Equal Employment, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Glass Ceiling of the Australian Supreme Court

Harry Hobbs, Finding a Fair Reflection on the High Court of Australia

Of the 51 Justices appointed to the High Court of Australia, only four have been women. Although all eminently qualified, there is something fundamentally wrong with this statistic. The principle of fair reflection is neither at odds with the fundamental principle of judicial impartiality, nor controversial when it comes to federal balance on the Court. It is time that the untrammelled discretion of the Attorney General is confined to require a 40% composition of either gender on the Court. Doing so would increase the quality of the Court’s decisions, and its sociological legitimacy.

March 28, 2015 in International, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

3 Women Justices and a House Leader Take a Selfie

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

AG Nomination Delayed by Anti-Abortion Provision

Attorney General Confirmation Delayed Over Anti-Abortion Provision of Human Trafficking Bill

“I had hoped to turn to her next week, but if we can’t finish the trafficking bill, she will be put off again,” saidmajority leader Mitch McConnell on CNN on the delay in Lynch’s confirmation. This delay is the latest in a series of interruptions in the more than four months since Lynch’s nomination, who would make history as the first black woman to serve as the Attorney General.

 

The trafficking bill in question is the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, sponsored by Republican Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). The bipartisan bill had been expected to pass smoothly through Congress, until Democratic party noticed a small provision of the bill that would effectively strengthen the Hyde Amendment, which bans spending federal dollars on abortion.

 

“This bill will not be used as an opportunity for Republicans to double down on their efforts to restrict a woman’s health-care choices,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). “It is absolutely wrong and, honestly, it is shameful. I know there are a whole lot of us who are going to fight hard against any attempt to expand the Hyde Amendment and permanently impact women’s health.”

 

Democrats are hopeful that the trafficking bill can be settled and passed quickly, so long as there is Republican support to remove the language limiting abortion access.

 

“We can finish this bill in 20 minutes,” said Democratic leader Senator Harry Reid. “The only thing that needs to be done is the language relating to abortion should come out of this bill. Abortion and human trafficking have nothing to do with each other.”

March 17, 2015 in Abortion, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

After 4 Year Decline, Percentage of Women Associates Improves Slightly

ABA J, After Four-Year Decline, Percentage of Female Associates "Nudged Up" in 2014

The percentage of female associates “finally nudged up” in 2014, following four years of slight declines, according to the National Associated for Law Placement.

 

According to a NALP press release (PDF), 44.94 percent of associates were female in 2014, compared to 44.79 percent in 2013. The 2014 number is still slightly below the ratio in 2009, when 45.66 percent of associates were female.

 

Also making slight percentage gains were women and minority partners, and minority associates. In 2014, 21.5 percent of partners were women and 7.33 percent were minority, while 21.63 percent of associates were minority.

 

“It’s good to see the numbers heading in the right direction again,” NALP executive director James Leipold said in the press release.“ The changes are incremental, but across every category that we measure, the national figures show that the representation of women and minorities at law firms increased from 2013 to 2014.”

March 3, 2015 in Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fangirling Justice Ginsburg

Gail Collins, NYT, The Unsinkable RBG

Over the past few years, she’s been getting unprecedented public nagging about retirement while simultaneously developing a massive popular fan base. You can buy T-shirts and coffee mugs with her picture on them. You can dress your baby up like Ruth Bader Ginsburg for Halloween. A blog called Notorious R.B.G. posts everything cool about the justice’s life, from celebrity meet-ups (“Sheryl Crow is a Ruth Bader Ginsburg fangirl”) to Twitter-size legal theory (“Justice Ginsburg Explains Everything You Need to Know About Religious Liberty in Two Sentences”). You can even get an R.B.G. portrait tattooed on your arm, should the inclination ever arise.

February 21, 2015 in Women lawyers | 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)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Interview with the Author of the New Book "The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg"

Nancy Leong (Denver) interviews Scott Dodson (Hastings) about his new book on Justice Ginsburg on YouTube, TheRightsCast: The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jan. 27, 2015). 

From the abstract:

In Episode 1 of The RightsCast, Professor Scott Dodson discusses his new book, "The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg." The book includes contributions by Nina Totenberg (NPR), Dahlia Lithwick (Slate), Judge Robert Katzmann (Chief Judge, Second Circuit), Tom Goldstein (SCOTUSblog), and a number of prominent legal academics.

View Professor Dodson's faculty homepage here: http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/f...

Professor Dodson's book, "The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg," is available here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Legacy-Ruth...

 

January 31, 2015 in Books, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)