Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Phantom Menace to Professional Identity Formation and Law School Success: Imposter Syndrome

The Phantom Menace to Professional Identity Formation and Law School Success: Imposter Syndrome

By: David Grenardo

Forthcoming in: University of Daytona Law Review, Vol. 47, No. 3, 2022 Forthcoming

Professional identity formation, which involves teaching law students to recognize their responsibility to others, particularly clients, and encouraging the students to develop the professional competencies of a practicing lawyer, has gained considerable prominence in the legal academy. Professional identity formation relies on students to identify the professional competencies they excel in currently and the competencies in which they need to improve, and they must work to develop those competencies. Part of that process requires an accurate self-understanding of who law students are. The imposter syndrome serves as a sinister force that threatens a law student’s ability to develop her professional identity and to succeed as a lawyer. The pervasiveness and negative effects of the imposter syndrome warrant that law schools who incorporate professional identity formation into their curriculum, as well as any law school that wants its students to succeed, should address imposter syndrome with its students. Part I of this Article briefly discusses professional identity and how it requires self-reflection and self-awareness. Part II explains imposter syndrome in general, and Part III examines imposter syndrome and its prevalence in the legal profession. Part IV provides practical, tangible ways for law schools, professors, and law students to address imposter syndrome. This Article concludes that law schools, regardless of whether professional identity formation is a part of their curriculum yet, should help those law students facing imposter syndrome overcome it.

August 31, 2021 in Education, Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Right to Express Milk

The Right to Express Milk

By: Mathilde Cohen

Published in: Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, Vol. 33, 2021

Breastfeeding in public has become more accepted, but milk expression—defined as removing milk from the breasts manually or using a breast pump—continues to be seen as a distasteful bodily function analogous to urination or sex, which should be confined to the private sphere. Few states explicitly exempt milk expression from their indecent exposure and obscenity laws. Yet, far from being a marginal activity, milk expression is often a necessary component of successful lactation. It allows parents with disabilities that challenge feeding at the breast to produce milk. It is instrumental in feeding babies who are unable to suckle at the breast or those who are temporarily separated from their parents, whether because the parents are ill, must report to work, have shared custody, or need to participate in political, social, and other aspects of life. In other words, milk expression is vital for human milk feeding in numerous circumstances and necessary for lactating parents to enjoy equal citizenship on par with non-lactating people.

Legal scholarship is growing in the field of lactation law, but work that specifically focuses on milk expression and its legal implications beyond the workplace—from the regulation of breast pumps as medical devices to the question of whether public milk expression should be protected—is missing. This Article contributes to the literature by arguing that milk expression should be recognized as part of a reproductive justice-based right to breastfeed through a combination of civil rights, FDA law, insurance law, health law, tax lawand work law. Parents need paid parental leave, paid lactation breaks, and access to affordable, high-quality, and culturally competent healthcare and lactation counseling and technology. In addition, they should have the right to express milk in every space where they have the right to be present.

August 31, 2021 in Family, Gender, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Third-Party Sexual Harassment: The Challenge of Title IX Obligations for Law School Clinics

Third-Party Sexual Harassment: The Challenge of Title IX Obligations for Law School Clinics

By: Ty Alper

Published in: Washington Law Review, Vol. 96, No. 1, 2021

Law faculty who teach and train students in clinical settings regularly expose students to the potential for sexual harassment. Because clinics involve actual cases in real-world contexts, students may encounter sexual harassment from third parties such as clients, witnesses, and judges. Do faculty who tolerate this exposure run afoul of their obligations under Title IX to stop and remedy sexual harassment about which they are, or should be, aware?

This Article is the first to identify and propose a method for addressing a phenomenon that strikes at the intersection of three sets of priorities for clinical faculty: duty to serve the client, duty to educate the student, and duty to protect the student. When a law student may face sexual harassment from a third party in the course of representing a client, the values underlying those priorities are in tension and admit no obvious solution; some remedies that Title IX arguably requires are, in many cases, impossible to square with the duties of loyalty and zealousness owed to a clinical client, not to mention the educational goals of the clinic. And yet, clinicians can and must embrace the fundamental principle of Title IX, which is to ensure that educational opportunities are available to all students, regardless of sex or gender presentation. The dilemma explored here echoes the modern American cultural, educational, and legal shift toward protecting students from speech and conduct deemed harmful, but does so in a non- classroom setting where legal ethics and clinical pedagogy are complicating factors.

August 31, 2021 in Constitutional, Education, Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 30, 2021

Midwest Political Science Conference Now Accepting Submissions

Many scholars of Gender & the Law may be working on projects that align with the upcoming Call for Papers posted by the Midwest Political Science Conference. The conference will be held in a hybrid format from April 7-10 based in Chicago, Illinois. Proposals are due by October 8, 2021.  

The MPSA Annual Conference historically hosts more than 5,000 attendees from 60+ countries across more than 90 political interest areas. The conference brings together scholars, researchers and decision makers in the political science community to exchange information and address the latest scholarship in political science.


August 30, 2021 in Call for Papers, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

The NAACP's Rape Docket and the Origins of Criminal Procedure

Scott Stern has published The NAACP’s Rape Docket and the Origins of Criminal Procedure in volume 24 of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law & Social Change. The abstract summarizes that: 

This Article provides the definitive account of the surprisingly voluminous docket of rape cases argued by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It argues, for the first time, that the NAACP’s rape docket was central to the development of modern criminal procedure—to the establishment of the right to counsel, the right to remain silent, the right to a trial free from mob violence or influence, the right against self-incrimination via a coerced confession, and the right to a jury of one’s peers selected without discrimination. Drawing on original archival research, this Article demonstrates that all of these rights have their origins in the hundreds of cases argued by the NAACP on behalf of Black men accused of sexual assault by white women. * * * *

[T]his Article examines cases in which the NAACP advocated for Black women who accused white men of sexual assault. Throughout its history, the national office of the NAACP advocated for Black female rape survivors only rarely. In contrast, the local branches of the Association did advocate for dozens of Black women who had been raped by white men, often pushing the police to investigate, the prosecutors to bring charges, and sometimes even hiring their own attorneys to aid in prosecutions. Yet at no point did NAACP attorneys ever challenge the rape laws that placed punitively high demands on assault survivors and impeded countless prosecutions. This was largely because NAACP attorneys embraced the very politics of respectability that justified sexist rape laws; indeed, NAACP attorneys capitalized on the gendered aspects of these laws in their representation of Black men accused of rape. Although many Black women throughout the decades demanded the NAACP engage more often in anti-rape work, such pleas usually met with silence. Had the NAACP acceded to these demands and pushed for a criminal procedure focused on protecting rape survivors as well as rape suspects, the greater protections that contemporary rape laws now provide for survivors could have come about much sooner.

The article also unpacks some of the relationship between the NAACP’s rape docket and its relationship to the feminist movement.

August 30, 2021 in Courts, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ninth Circuit Joins Circuit Consensus Holding that Favoritism for Romantic Partner is Not Sex Discrimination

The Ninth Circuit ruled that a supervisor exercising preferential treatment in favor of their sexual or romantic partner is not unlawful sex discrimination within the meaning of Title VII.  Maner v. Dignity Health, decided on August 20, 2021, aligns the Ninth Circuit with the reasoning of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits on this issue.  The Ninth Circuit explains:

In this appeal, we must decide whether the district court erred in adopting the consensus view among the other circuits and the EEOC that Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination against any individual because of such individual’s sex does not prohibit an employer’s favoritism toward a supervisor’s sexual or romantic partner. Maner argues that the text of Title VII gives rise to “paramour preference” claims because the statutory term “sex” encompasses sexual activity between persons as well as sex characteristics. Maner also argues that the “paramour preference” theory finds support in the Supreme Court’s recent interpretation of Title VII in Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020). Finally, Maner argues that Title VII’s implementing regulations endorse the “paramour preference” theory as a form of sexual harassment that impacts third parties. For the following reasons, we reject these arguments and join the consensus view that an employer does not violate Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of an individual’s sex by favoring a supervisor’s sexual or romantic partner over another employee; that is, Title VII is not violated by exercising a “paramour preference” for one employee over another because of a workplace romance.

This opinion further solidifies this area of law following Bostock’s reasoning. In these cases, the circuit consensus is that the employer is discriminating against other employees “because they are not the favored paramour, no matter the sex of the paramour or of the complaining employees.”

August 30, 2021 in Equal Employment, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 27, 2021

Building Bridges: How Law Schools Can Better Prepare Students from Historically Underserved Communities to Excel in Law School

Amy H. Soled and Barbara Hoffman, Building Bridges: How Law Schools Can Better Prepare Students from Historically Underserved Communities to Excel in Law School, AALS Journal of Legal Education, Volume 69, Issue 2 (Winter 2020).

“As a poor, first-generation student, I constantly fear the judgment of my peers. . . . For me, the challenge of law school is not only overcoming the rigorous coursework.  I must also overcome the social and financial barriers seeking to steer me away.”  This reflection of a current Rugers Law School student, captured by Professors Amy Soled and Barabra Hoffman, is unfortunately an all-too-common sentiment for a number of students in your law school classrooms.  Students who are members of historically underserved communities, those whose circumstances “disadvantage them in relation to their classmates whose privileged environment better prepare them for law school,” often find the law school challenging in more ways than just academic rigor.  These students, who are historically underserved based on circumstances including but not limited to “economic status, race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or education background,” encounter “social and cultural isolation” in an environment that unconsciously or otherwise has “an invisible and assumed perspective that is largely white, male, heterosexual, economically advantaged, and able-bodied.”  This isolation can lead to significant barriers to academic success in law school and ultimately passing the bar.

So what can we as legal educators do to address the needs of our students of different backgrounds and bridge this gap?  Professors Soled and Hoffman suggest “[b]uilding bridges to enable students from historically underserved communities to thrive in law school requires law school professors and administrators to implement a multiyear plan from orientation through graduation.”  This plan can include academic success programs starting in the summer before law school and extending through the entirety of the 1L year; creating mentoring programs of faculty, staff, and local practitioners; and fostering a sense of community in the classroom and beyond.  

For example, professors can create community and inclusion by holding mandatory individual conferences once a semester, which creates a space for students to engage with the professor in a low-stakes one-on-one environment.  “The more contact students have with their teachers, the better the students do and the more connected the students feel to their school.”  Professors can also address the pervasive and insidious “imposter phenomenon” which describes students who are “unable to internalize [their] accomplishments [and have] chronic feelings of self-doubt and fear of being discovered” as a fraud.  Students of historically underserved communities disproportionately experience this phenomenon. That is “[w]omen suffer from the imposter syndrome more commonly than do men, first-generation college students experience it more often than do multigeneration college students” etc.  Professor can help by discussing this, and other common challenges, openly in their classrooms and student conferences.

These and many other concrete suggestions for building these bridges of success for historically underserved students are addressed in this article.

August 27, 2021 in Education, Gender, Law schools, LGBT, Race, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Viewing Justice Gorsuch's Opinion in the LGBT Decision in Bostock as Support for--not Against--Abortion Rights in the Upcoming Dobbs Case

Marc Spindelman, Justice Gorsuch's Choice: From Bostock v. Clayton County to Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, 13 ConLawNOW 11 (2021).

Informed speculation holds that the Supreme Court’s decision to hear and decide Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization spells bad news for constitutional abortion rights. Recognizing both the stakes and the odds, this brief commentary engages Justice Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County and the prospects that it opens up in Dobbs for a future for—not against—abortion rights. Bostock’s pro-gay and pro-trans sex discrimination rulings are built atop—and go out of their way to reaffirm—women’s statutorily-grounded economic and social rights, and hence women’s equal citizenship stature. Moreover, the final decision in the case emerges after judicial wrestling with rule of law concerns involving legal and social stability. In both of these respects, Bostock aligns with the controlling opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a decision that Justice Gorsuch, like other justices in Dobbs, might yet in principle reaffirm. After exploring some of Casey’s doctrinal implications and its example of judicial moderation, discussion turns to Casey’s often overlooked spiritual dimensions. Not only does Casey’s spiritual pluralism on the abortion right and its limits converge with important features of Bostock, but it also actively counsels a decision in Dobbs giving Casey and what it preserves of Roe a new lease on life as part of a larger effort to preserve the American public’s shared faith in a constitutional republic that everyone in Dobbs wishes to keep.

August 26, 2021 in Abortion, Constitutional, Judges, LGBT, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

CFP Center for Constitutional Law -- Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Constitution: How LGBTQ Rights are Defined, Protected, and Preempted


Friday, Feb. 4, 2022

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Constitution: How LGBTQ Rights are Defined, Protected, and Preempted

The Center for Constitutional Law at Akron seeks proposals for its annual Colloquium. The Center is one of four national centers established by Congress in 1986 on the bicentennial of the Constitution for legal research and public education on the Constitution. Past programs have included Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Justice Arthur Goldberg, Professor Reva Siegel, Professor Lawrence Solum, Professor Ernest Young, Professor Julie Suk, and Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

The 2022 Colloquium explores the questions of sexual orientation and gender identity under the Constitution. These rights are at the intersection of many recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts. On one hand, the Court has interpreted “sex” to include sexual orientation and transgender in the context of federal statutory law. Yet under the Constitution, it has refused to identify sexual orientation or identity as a suspect class, even as it strikes down law that socially discriminate on this basis. Another recent line of cases seems to preempt these equality rights by counter-balancing the religious and speech rights of those seeking to discriminate against LGBTQ people by denying services, disrespecting preferred pronouns, or restricting students.

This Colloquium brings together scholars exploring what the Constitution does or should say about sexual orientation and gender identity. Topics may include, but are not limited to: the rise of religious liberty preemptions in business and/or education, counter-balances of free speech, the meaningful use of rational basis scrutiny, interpretative methods of constitutional and statutory law, the legal history of LGBTQ rights, meanings of privacy and self-determination, the importance of language and pronouns, or comparisons with international norms and laws.

The Virtual Colloquium will be held on Friday, February 4, 2022. This virtual format allows for expanded access to scholars by reducing costs, balancing work/life/health demands, and reaching widely across geographic bounds. Papers will then be published in a spring symposium edition of the Center’s open-access journal, ConLawNOW (also indexed in Westlaw, Lexis, and Hein). Papers are typically shorter, essay style and we expedite publication within four weeks of final paper submission. Those interested in participating should send an abstract and CV to Professor Tracy Thomas, Director of the Center for Constitutional Law, at [email protected] by October 20, 2021.


August 26, 2021 in Call for Papers, Constitutional, Gender, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Compelling Disclosure of Employer Information as Better Enforcement of Workplace Antidiscrimination Law

Stephanie Bornstein, Disclosing Discrimination, 101 Boston U. L. Rev. 287 (2021)

 In the United States, enforcement of laws prohibiting workplace discrimination rests almost entirely on the shoulders of employee victims, who must first file charges with a government agency and then pursue litigation themselves. While the law forbids retaliation against employees who complain, this does little to prevent it, in part because employees are also responsible for initiating any claims of retaliation they experience as a result of their original discrimination claims. The burden on employees to complain—and their justified fear of retaliation if they do so—results in underenforcement of the law and a failure to spot and redress underlying structural causes of race and sex discrimination at work. By statutory design, government enforcement agencies play a crucial but limited role in litigating discrimination lawsuits, which makes significant expansion of the agencies’ roles politically infeasible.

This Article considers compelled disclosure of employer information as a means of better enforcing antidiscrimination law. Information-forcing mechanisms have long been a part of securities law. The recent #MeToo and Time’s Up social movements have brought the power of public exposure to the issues of sexual harassment and pay discrimination at work. Drawing on lessons from both contexts, this Article argues for imposing affirmative public disclosure requirements on employers that track the pay, promotion, and harassment of employees by their sex and race. It documents emerging disclosure models in some state and international laws meant to target workplace discrimination and highlights where existing U.S. federal law opens the door to such an approach. It also considers counterarguments raised by compelled disclosure, including privacy and free speech concerns. Requiring public disclosures on equality measures is an incremental yet important untapped mechanism that can shift some of the enforcement burden for U.S. antidiscrimination law off of employees and onto employers and responsible government agencies.

August 25, 2021 in Business, Equal Employment, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Proposed Ohio Bill Expanding Doula Services Would Improve Maternal Health and Racial Disparities in Birth Outcomes

Op ed from a former fellow at the Center for Constitutional Law at Akron and research assistant to our Gender & Law Prof Blog.

Morgan Foster, Expansion of Doula Services Would Help Ohio Improve Maternal Health, Address Racial Disparities in Birth Outcomes, cleveland.com 

Sponsors drafted House Bill 142 with women of color in mind. In joint sponsor testimony, former State Rep. Erica C. Crawley and Rep. Thomas Brinkman reported that, “Black women died at a rate more than two and a half times that of white women, accounting for 34% of pregnancy-related deaths while only making up 17% of women giving birth in Ohio.


According to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, only five states have a higher Black infant mortality rate than Ohio. Over the last decade, Ohio’s infant mortality disparity between Black and white infants increased by 26%. For Black women in Ohio, the preterm birth rate is 49% higher than the rate among all other women.


House Bill 142 would require Medicaid to cover doula services, which have proven to reduce racial disparities in birth outcomes. A doula is a trained, nonmedical professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a woman shortly before, during, and after her pregnancy, regardless of whether the woman’s pregnancy results in a live birth.


The benefits are clear. That is why New York, Oregon, and Minnesota have implemented legislation in which Medicaid will provide reimbursement for doula services. California may be the next state to take this step, and Ohio has an opportunity to join as a leader on this issue.


One reason more states do not cover doula services is because there is not a standard certification or registration process.


Ohio’s proposed bill would address this concern by creating this process with the Ohio Board of Nursing, establishing standards and procedures for issuing certificates to doulas. Once implemented, only certified doulas could call themselves such, or face penalty by the Board.

August 25, 2021 in Healthcare, Legislation, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Book: Sexual Justice, How Colleges Can Handle Sexual Misconduct Cases More Fairly, Supporting Victims and Ensuring Due Process

NYT, New Book Sexual Justice: How Can Colleges Handle Sexual Misconduct Cases More Fairly? 

Alexandra Brodsky, SEXUAL JUSTICE: Supporting Victims, Ensuring Due Process, and Resisting the Conservative Backlash

Alexandra Brodsky’s “Sexual Justice: Supporting Victims, Ensuring Due Process, and Resisting the Conservative Backlash” seems, at first, as if it is going to be a work of soul-searching about the campus anti-rape movement.


In 2013, Brodsky, then on her way to law school, was a founder of Know Your IX, a student group that fought to use Title IX of the 1972 Civil Rights Law, which prohibits sex discrimination in education, to get schools to do more to protect students from sexual assault. Now a civil rights lawyer, she’s been at the center of the long battle about how campus sexual misconduct allegations should be resolved. And the introduction to her book suggests she’s had some second thoughts.


Some Title IX advocates, she writes in the first pages, “abandoned complexity, dismissing concerns about due process out of hand, or rejected reasonable reforms because they came from ‘the other side.’ Some used low rates of false reporting to excuse mistreatment of the accused, or were cavalier about the stakes for a student facing suspension.” She described spending a year in law school reviewing lawsuits from students who claimed they were wrongly suspended or expelled for sexual assault. She struggled to balance her empathy for them with her wariness of what the philosopher Kate Manne has called “himpathy,” outsize concern for male perpetrators at the expense of victims.


I was eager to read more about this struggle, but most of “Sexual Justice” isn’t a book about gray areas or ambivalence. It’s something less interesting but potentially more useful: a treatise from a committed activist laying down broad guidelines for fair adjudication processes. “My focus is the steps by which people can vet an accusation of sexual harassment, rather than the matter of what constitutes sexual harassment,” she writes.

August 25, 2021 in Education, Legal History, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Gender Lessons’ Avoidance, Resistance and Solidarity in Nigerian Higher Education Classroom: Implications for Gender-Transformative Pedagogy

Gender Lessons’ Avoidance, Resistance and Solidarity in Nigerian Higher Education Classroom: Implications for Gender-Transformative Pedagogy

By: Adaobiagu Obiagu

Written for: EADI-ISS General Conference 2021: Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice

Despite the introduction of social justice contents (including contents targeted at promoting gender equality) into school subjects and programmes across countries following the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development initiative launched in 2004, schools are implicated as sites where gender inequality and violence are nurtured. Whereas existing educational literature has explored the extent to which gender contents are represented in curricula and teachers' engagement with gender issues, little knowledge exists on how higher education students, especially student teachers, receive or react to gender education and the challenges faced by lecturers teaching gender topics in deeply patriarchal contexts such as Nigeria. Yet understanding how gender contents are received by prospective teachers is important for making gender education changes that will produce gender-oriented/responsive teachers who effectively implement introduced gender contents for gender equality/justice promotion. This paper covers this gap by drawing on the author's experience in teaching gender contents of a family course (from a neutral and problem solving perspective) to undergraduate education students for two years in a Nigerian university. The paper, employing feminist and male-agency lenses, adopts a critically reflective approach to deconstruct student-teachers' classroom discussions and reactions to problem questions and gender study-materials. Among the findings of the study are: (a) gender contents are controversial topics in Nigeria and teaching gender contents in a higher education context of a deeply patriarchal society is difficult, (b) students' sociocultural experiences and (mis/pre)conceptions/perceptions of gender and feminists' ideas serve to inhibit their interest and readiness to critically engage with gender discussions, and (c) male students supported gender discourses framed around development and human rights but avoided, and sometimes resisted, some discourses on gender-relations and power dynamics, especially in the private realm. The implications of the findings for gender transformative pedagogy –that will empower teachers for gender equality/justice solidarity, classroom practices and agency that would prevent/disrupt gender stereotypes, hegemonic masculinity, passive/objectified femininity, misogynistic and misandristic tendencies and promote gender justice practices among learners– are discussed.

August 24, 2021 in Education, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Institutional Embeddedness of Mumpreneurship in the UK: A Career Narrative Approach

Institutional Embeddedness of Mumpreneurship in the UK: A Career Narrative Approach

By: Shandana Sheikh and Shumaila Y. Yousafzai

Published on SSRN 

The recent rise in the number of mothers who have started a business from home along with an increase in publicly available profiles of these women has led to the trend of mumpreneurship, i.e., women who set up and manage a business around their child caring role. This research employs a career narrative approach to examine the stories told by a group of 12 British mumpreneurs within the context of UK’s regulatory institutions. The findings suggest that despite having dual responsibility of motherhood and business ownership, mumpreneurs work hard to achieve their aspirations and career objectives. However, their ability to do so is severely constrained by the institutional support, more specifically in terms of child-care provisions and training and financial support.

This study employs a career narrative approach to examine the stories told by a group of 12 mumpreneurs within the context of UK’s regulatory institutional context, specifically the family policies framework. In the UK, while there are current family policies such as childcare benefits, tax credits, maternity leaves and parental allowances, the impact of these policies on mumpreneurship has not been studied. Our objective is to explore how mumpreneurs construct their experiences of moving into entrepreneurship and how regulatory family policies support or constrain them in simultaneously balancing their dual responsibility of business ownership and motherhood.

August 24, 2021 in Business, Family, Gender, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 23, 2021

Lift Louisiana and If/When/How Challenge Judicial Bypass Jurisdiction Law

Lift Louisiana and If/When/How filed a motion for an injunction arguing that Louisiana's Act 482 violates the Louisiana Constitution because it deprives minors of meaningful and effective access to the Courts when seeking judicial bypass to terminate a pregnancy. Prior to the Act, Louisiana minors could either pursue a judicial bypass in the jurisdiction in which they are domiciled or in the jurisdiction in which the clinic is located. Under the prior jurisdictional rule, most bypass proceedings were heard in the parishes where two of the three remaining clinics are located. This broader approach protected the anonymity of minors, ensured that the courthouses were savvy in handling these proceedings, created a path for out of state minors to seek a bypass, and worked more expeditiously. Act 482 limits the jurisdictional rules such that minors can only pursue bypass proceedings in the parish of their domicile. Lift Louisiana and If/When/How seek an injunction blocking Act 482 before it causes irreparable injury. The plaintiffs argue that this Act deprives plaintiffs of their right to access the courts under the Louisiana Constitution and violates the due process and privileges and immunities clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  

August 23, 2021 in Abortion, Constitutional, Courts, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Do I Belong Here? Examining Perceived Experiences of Bias, Stereotype Concerns, and Sense of Belonging in U.S. Law Schools

Elizabeth Bodamer of the Law School Admission Council has published her recent work, Do I Belong Here? Examining Perceived Experiences of Bias, Stereotype Concerns, and Sense of Belonging in U.S. Law Schools, in volume 69 of the Journal of Legal Education. As many faculty return to classrooms for Fall 2021, this article is a powerful reminder about the role of all institutional players in cultivating a sense of belonging for our students. 

This article uses the concept of sense of belonging to add to the ongoing conversation surrounding diversity and inequity in legal education through an examination of how students’ sense of belonging is influenced by perceived experiences of bias and stereotype concerns at the intersection of race and gender in a sample of seventeen U.S. law schools. Overall, my findings provide evidence that the educational experience in law school differs by race/gender. Specifically, this article shows that women of color are more likely to have a low sense of belonging compared with all other race-gender groups. Moreover, I find that perceived experiences of bias and students’ concerns about stereotypes associated with their social identity are pervasive in law school. Specifically, I find that minoritized students are more likely to perceive experiences of bias and stereotype concerns compared with their white male classmates. This finding is especially significant for women of color. Last, I find that these perceived experiences of bias and stereotype concerns are adversely and significantly associated with sense of belonging. Taken together, the results show that minoritized students—particularly women of color— must contend with marginalizing perceptions and concerns as they navigate through law school and negotiate their sense of belonging.

The article provides robust research on student belonging and offers a sweeping call to action in all facets of legal education. 

Therefore, to effectively foster a sense of belonging, it is imperative to understand who are our students and their racial, ethnic, and gendered lived experiences during law school that affect their well-being, how they learn, and how they interact with others, including faculty. Deans, administrators, faculty, clinicians, career advisors, student affairs professionals, and future employers must take these findings into account in policies, strategic planning, hiring, pedagogy, mentorship, academic support programming, teaching of legal ethics, experiential learning opportunities, and access to other professional development opportunities, such as researching with faculty, clinics, internships, journal, and moot court.


August 23, 2021 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Program on Adolescent Girls: Breaking Barriers, Shifting Norms (Aug. 24)

The International Center for Research on Women (IRCW) has been conducting pioneering research on gender inequity to inform policy worldwide for 45 years.  On August 24 it is hosting a program titled "Adolescent Girls: Breaking Barriers, Shifting Norms." 

Social norms define gender roles, responsibilities, and power dynamics. These deeply rooted, unwritten "rules" can result in harmful outcomes for adolescent girls—preventing them from accessing opportunities and realizing their rights. Fortunately, social norms can shift over time. But changing them requires deep commitment from a range of stakeholders: family members, male allies, communities, schools, policymakers, organizations, and other champions of girls' development.

During this event, the first in ICRW’s 45th anniversary series, speakers from across our global platform will discuss how ICRW helps mobilize diverse stakeholders into networks that together create an "ecosystem" to support the equitable development of both girls and boys. We will also delve into a case study from India with government representatives and youth leaders discussing illustrative examples of how to disrupt barriers and support systemic change.

You can register here for this free webinar program. It is at 8 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, August 24th.  

August 23, 2021 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Women in Private International Law, as Legal Subjects and as Lawmakers

Mary Keyes, Women in Private International Law

There has been almost no consideration of the position of women in private international law. There is very little published research applying a feminist analysis to, or even considering the position of women in, private international law. This field gives almost no attention to the particular interests, positions and experiences of women as subjects of the law, or the contribution of women as makers of the law. In the common law, private international law was largely developed in the 19th century, by male judges who were strongly influenced by commentary written exclusively by men. This chapter establishes that the apparently gender-neutral nature of private international law conceals profoundly ingrained assumptions about gender, in which the masculine is represented as a rational and sophisticated businessman, and the feminine is represented as a legally incapable wife. It then considers the gendered dimension of private international law in international family law, referring in particular to the regulation of international child abduction, international family property agreements, and international commercial surrogacy. Each of these examples demonstrates the differential impact of the law on women, indicating the need for greater awareness of and attention to gender. It concludes that while there have been some advances recently, particularly in terms of increased representation of women in making and commenting on private international law, there remains a great need for further research into the position of women as legal subjects and law-makers in this field.

August 19, 2021 in International, Judges, Legal History, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Male Measure of Gender Diversity in Big Law Firms

Alissa Rubin Gomez, Mismeasure of Success, 94 St. John's L. Rev. (2021)  

Using feminist standpoint theory, this essay explores the idea that solutions proposed by big law firms to retain women miss the mark because they are still framed from the viewpoint of a white man. This is not because the white male perspective is bad; it is simply not the lived experience of the women for whom the proposed solutions are intended. Reframing the measure of success using a feminist standpoint would have us reconsider whether the primary reason women leave big law firms is actually a “problem.” Instead, having multiple demands on one’s time outside work might be viewed as both normal and an indication of well-roundedness. Building workplace cultures using personal fulfillment as a baseline has the potential to make for happier workers who stay in their jobs longer, and in the time of COVID-19, we may just be at an inflexion point that makes such a culture shift possible.

August 19, 2021 in Theory, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Future of Intersectionality Theory and Critical Race Feminism

Mary Jo Wiggins, Foreword: The Future of Intersectionality and Critical Race Feminism,
Journal of Contemporary Legal issues, Vol. 11, 2001

The closing decades of the twentieth century witnessed an exciting surge in scholarly attention among legal academics to the legal status of women of color. Both traditional civil rights scholars and critical race theorists attempted to integrate into law and legal scholarship the experiences of minority women. This work gave rise to the theory of “intersectionality,” which posited that Black women share unique life experiences that differ from Black men or White women. The theory further suggested that this uniqueness makes (and/or should make) a difference in how legal scholars deconstruct and reconstruct law. Critical race feminism extended this critique beyond the experiences of Black women, focusing on how race, gender, and class interact for women of color within a system of white male patriarchy and racist oppression. Intersectionality and critical race feminism have provided fresh perspectives on the analysis of issues in many legal settings. The purpose of this symposium is to revisit the theoretical and practical possibilities of intersectionality and critical race feminism. The articles in this symposium issue, covering a wide range of topics, have brought to light substantive issues and intellectual tensions that will dominate future debates within critical scholarship and beyond. Together, they provide a compelling portrait of the future of intersectionality and critical race feminism.

August 19, 2021 in Race, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)