Thursday, December 1, 2022

Gender Gaps in Legal Education and the Impact of Class Participation Assessments

Kenneth Khoo & Jaclyn Neo, Gender Gaps in Legal Education: The Impact of Class Participation Assessments 

The gender gap is a well-studied phenomenon in education policy. While prior research has illustrated the presence of this gap in U.S. Law Schools, questions remain as to whether these findings are generalizable to other jurisdictions where national, cultural, historical, institutional and societal norms are substantially different. In this article, we investigate the presence and nature of a gender gap in one of Asia’s leading law schools, the National University of Singapore (“NUS Law”). Employing a novel dataset with granular data on student, instructor, course, and component characteristics, we provide evidence that the gender gap persists over numerous cohorts of students. Even after controlling for a wide range of covariates such as standardized entry scores, high school rankings, income proxies, and a large array of fixed effects, female students systemically underperform their male counterparts across numerous metrics of law school performance. To examine the plausibility of possible causal mechanisms behind the gender gap, we exploit a natural experiment in which NUS Law randomly assigned first and second-year students to a range of mandatory courses with different class participation assessment weights. We provide evidence that female students who were assigned to courses with larger class participation weights had relatively lower class participation scores when compared to male students. Remarkably, however, policies that permitted female students to choose their courses in their third and fourth years eliminated this negative relationship – even after accounting for heterogeneity across class sizes and course choices. Our work suggests that pedagogical policy should consider the relationship between assessment modes and female student autonomy in narrowing the gender gap in legal education.

December 1, 2022 in Education, Gender, International, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Center for Constitutional Law Con Law Scholars Forum on "The Future of Reproductive Rights"

Monday, October 17, 2022

New Guide on Gender Diversity in Legal Writing

The British Columbia Law Institute has published a useful guide on Gender Diversity in Legal Writing. It includes helpful content about why gender inclusive writing is important in lawyering. It includes a useful "Pocket Guide" to gender diverse legal writing as well as a glossary of key terms. This is a helpful tool for legal educators and practitioners as we develop our writing curricula and modernize best practices in writing. It is available here. Here is a summary of the guide:

Legal writing comprises many forms: legislation, court submissions, opinion letters, transactional writing (e.g., contracts, wills), communications with clients and other lawyers, legal memoranda, legal texts and academic writing, court forms, judgments and decisions, and other reports and papers. Ultimately, the writer must choose the gender inclusive techniques needed for their audience and subject matter. The methods and tools explored in this publication give legal writers guidance to consider inclusivity in their writing. 

October 17, 2022 in Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Martha Fineman's Feminist Legal Theory Project Historical Archive at Risk of Being Lost

Preserving Our Legacy: An Important Piece of Feminist History is at Risk of Being Lost

One of these women was Martha Albertson Fineman, who in the early 1980s launched the Feminism and Legal Theory Project at University of Wisconsin Law School. For decades, the project has brought together scholars and activists from the U.S. and abroad to explore the most pressing contemporary legal issues affecting women. In multiple-day sessions, organized around specific, evolving sets of issues, feminists presented working papers and debated women’s legal rights. Fineman recorded and preserved these groundbreaking conversations, as well as the working papers and other written material prepared for these sessions.

Fineman is now struggling to convince librarians more accustomed to collecting individuals’ or organizations’ papers of the importance of this historic trove of audio, visual and written materials documenting the collective development of feminist concepts, aspirations and theory.***

For close to four decades, Fineman’s Feminism and Legal Theory Project has hosted hundreds of conversations where feminist thinkers from across the United States and world have shaped and explored a wide range of concepts relating to women’s position within law and society. Those conversations delved into the “public nature of private violence,” the legal regulation of motherhood, feminism’s reception in the media, the relevance of economics to feminist thought, the complexities of sexuality, conflicting children’s and parental rights, the origins and implications of dependency and vulnerability, and the extent and nature of social responsibility.

“Feminism teaches us that the best ideas come from working together in inclusive, supportive groups,” said Fineman. “Feminism has grown through consciousness raising and the sharing of experience. The best ideas and the best politics emerge from collective engagements and processes.”***

“In the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, we created what I called ‘uncomfortable conversations’—events where people who shared values, but disagreed about strategies and implementation, could talk,” said Fineman. “If there were areas of disagreement around collective objectives, you could talk about them and work through them hopefully in a constructive manner. That’s how actual progress can be made.”***

Fineman recorded all of these conversations—a treasure trove of close to four decades of feminist intellectual history. But she is now struggling to find a home for this invaluable archive of the first generation of feminist legal thinkers.

“History has something to teach us. If we don’t collect the history and preserve it, then it can’t teach us,” said Fineman.***

After speaking with people at women’s history archives, Fineman is concerned about how decisions to preserve women’s history are made. “Who makes the determination about what and who in the past matters? How and why they make such decisions ultimately shapes what will constitute women’s or feminist history,” said Fineman. “An important piece of feminist history is at risk of being lost or isolated and sidelined.

September 20, 2022 in Conferences, Education, Law schools, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 16, 2022

Study Tracks the Progress of Women's Representation and Achievement in Law Schools 1948 to 2021

Elizabeth Katz, Kyle Rozema & Sarath Sanga, Women in U.S. Law Schools, 1948-2021 

We study the progress of women’s representation and achievement in law schools. To do this, we assemble a new dataset on the number of women and men students, faculty, and deans at all ABA-approved U.S. law schools from 1948 to the present. These data enable us to study many unexplored features of women’s progress in law schools for the first time, including the process by which women initially gained access to each law school, the variance in women’s experiences across law schools, the relationship between women’s representation and student achievement, and the extent to which women occupy lower status faculty and deanship positions. We contextualize our findings by situating them within the vast qualitative literature on women’s experiences in law schools and the legal profession.

See also ABA J, Law School Achievement Gap by Gender for Faculty and Deans Examined in New Paper

September 16, 2022 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 12, 2022

Ederlina Co on "Weathering Invisible Labor"

Ederlina Co has published Weathering Invisible Labor in volume 51 of the Southwestern Law Review (2022). The abstract previews: 

Professor Meera Deo’s Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia powerfully demonstrates how the legal academy has adopted many of American society’s social hierarchies as they relate to race and gender. Inspired by Unequal Profession and using a Critical Race Feminism framework, this Essay centers on women of color professors and the problem of invisible labor in legal academia.

Although for many women of color professors invisible labor involves a labor of love, this Essay contends that the legal academy’s unwillingness to recognize it in a meaningful manner marginalizes women of color professors, devalues how important invisible labor is to law students, law schools, and the legal profession, and perpetuates a raceXgender institutional bias. This Essay recommends steps that law school administrators and allies can take immediately to recognize invisible labor but also suggests that the time has come for the legal academy to begin to reexamine how it values “service” more broadly.

The article concludes that: 

Despite the depth of time and commitment that women of color professors devote to invisible labor and the value law students, law schools, and the legal profession take from it, the legal academy does not meaningfully appreciate it as work. The ongoing failure to recognize and credit invisible labor in many law schools is a form of raceXgender institutional bias that marginalizes women of color professors and diminishes the importance of this work. Although the legal academy has tracked much of American society’s progress when it comes to providing equal opportunity for women of color professors, the academy is not immune from American society’s present-day raceXgender challenges. In the same way many of us expect American institutions to work to address inequalities and inequities in society, the academy must be equally diligent about addressing them in our own institution.

September 12, 2022 in Law schools, Race, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

CFP AALS Annual Meeting Emerging Voices in Feminist Theory

The AALS Section on Women in Legal Education invites submissions for its program Emerging Voices in Feminist Theory at the 2023 AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego, California (January 3-6, 2023).

This works-in-progress session will give scholars writing on any topic concerning feminist theory the opportunity for engagement on a current project with others in the field. Each selected scholar will present a work-in-progress and receive comments from an assigned commentator, as well as from other participants. The session will provide selected scholars with a supportive environment in which to receive constructive feedback.

Full-time faculty members of AALS member and fee-paid law schools are eligible to submit works-in-progress. Visiting faculty (not full-time on a different faculty) and fellows are eligible to apply to present at this session. We especially encourage submissions from members of groups who are underrepresented in the academy, including people with disabilities.

Please submit an abstract (500 words or less). Scholarship may be at any stage of the writing process from early stage  to almost-completed article, but cannot yet be accepted for publication at the time of abstract submission. Each potential speaker may submit only one abstract for consideration.

To be considered, abstracts should be emailed to Professor Danielle C. Jefferis, University of Nebraska College of Law, at danielle.jefferis@unl.edu by Friday, September 16, 2022.

Submission review, selection, conference attendance: Abstracts will be reviewed by members of the Section's Works-in-Progress subcommittee, which also includes Katherine Macfarlane, Southern University Law School, Suzanne Kim, Rutgers Law School, and Naomi Cahn, University of Virginia School of Law. Selected presenters will be announced by October 1, 2022. The Call for Paper presenters will be responsible for paying their own AALS registration fee, hotel, and travel expenses. If paper presenters want anything beyond their abstracts discussed at the AALS session, then papers must be submitted by Dec. 15, 2022, to ensure distribution.

September 7, 2022 in Call for Papers, Law schools, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 26, 2022

CFP AALS Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues Section, "New Voices"

AALS SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY ISSUES SECTION

Call for Papers on “New Voices on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues”

AALS Annual Meeting, January 4-7, 2023, San Diego, CA

The AALS Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues Section is soliciting papers and works in-progress on any sexual orientation and/or gender identity related legal issue by faculty members who have never presented a paper at the AALS Annual Meeting or are junior scholars in the legal academy (less than 5 years and pre-tenure, if applicable). We are open to receiving papers that explore these topics from alternative perspectives and disciplines.

The New Voices session will be held on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 from 8:00 am – 9:40 am. If you are interested in presenting, please submit an up to 500-word abstract (and paper draft, if available) along with a CV to Section Chair Kyle Velte at kvelte@ku.edu. Your proposal can involve one or two presenters. Please list all presenters in the abstract. The deadline for such proposals to be received for consideration is Friday, September 9, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. CDT.

The authors of the selected paper(s) will be notified by September 16, 2022. Selected presenters will be responsible for paying their registration fee, hotel and travel expenses. The AALS Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues supports and nurtures the careers of law professors at every stage, but we also seek diversity from members of underrepresented demographics.

August 26, 2022 in Call for Papers, Law schools, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 20, 2022

Trailblazing and Living a Purposeful Life in the Law: A Dakota Woman's Reflections as a Law Professor

Angelique Eaglewoman, Trailblazing and Living a Purposeful Life in the Law: A Dakota Woman’s Reflections as a Law Professor, 51 Southwestern U. L. Rev. (2022)

This Essay is a reflection from my perspective as a Dakota woman law professor on my fifth law school faculty. In the illuminating work of Meera Deo, light is shone on the experience of women of color legal academics. "Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia" is a book that should be required reading at every law school. As women of color are faculty members in every law school in the United States, the research, analysis, and recommendations tailored to the experience of women of color law faculty should be a priority topic in those same law schools. As a Native American woman law professor, my experience and journey in legal academia resonate with many of the topics in this important work.

In Part I of this Essay, the necessity of trailblazing is discussed due to the lack of Native American women in the legal academy. Issues around visibility, ethnic fraud, and tribal sovereignty will be discussed. Part II will explore the challenges identified in "Unequal Profession" through a raceXgender framework and provide a personal perspective on dealing with such challenges. The themes of invisibility and lack of respect experienced as a Native American woman law professor will be discussed. The final section in Part III will provide insight into the motivation to stay the course and continue to make space in legal academia. In living a purposeful life, there is a choice to be a law professor as a Native woman with the goal of holding the door open for more Native American faculty, law students, and legal administrators to walk through.

June 20, 2022 in Education, Law schools, Religion, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 10, 2022

Recognizing and Crediting the Invisible Labor of Women Law Professors of Color

Ederlina Co, Weathering Invisible Labor, 51 Southwestern Law Review 258 (2022)

Professor Meera Deo’s Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia powerfully demonstrates how the legal academy has adopted many of American society’s social hierarchies as they relate to race and gender. Inspired by Unequal Profession and using a Critical Race Feminism framework, this Essay centers on women of color professors and the problem of invisible labor in legal academia.

Although for many women of color professors invisible labor involves a labor of love, this Essay contends that the legal academy’s unwillingness to recognize it in a meaningful manner marginalizes women of color professors, devalues how important invisible labor is to law students, law schools, and the legal profession, and perpetuates a race-gender institutional bias. This Essay recommends steps that law school administrators and allies can take immediately to recognize invisible labor but also suggests that the time has come for the legal academy to begin to reexamine how it values “service” more broadly.

June 10, 2022 in Books, Law schools, Race, Theory, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 11, 2022

Graham Ferris on "Law Students Wellbeing and Vulnerability"

Graham Ferris has published Law Students Wellbeing and Vulnerability in volume 56 of The Law Teacher. Here is the article abstract: 

There is compelling evidence that law students in the UK, USA, and Australia are subject to low levels of wellbeing. * * * Low wellbeing is produced by difficulties responding to stressors and life events, or low resilience. Therefore, law students are a subgroup of a larger group of young people with low resilience, however, law students have lower self-reported wellbeing than the overall student group. The trend for student wellbeing is downwards. Vulnerability theory offers a theoretically coherent heuristic that can enable us to think constructively about the problems of law students and students generally and to generate ideas for potentially beneficial courses of action. With such widespread phenomena, for law students across three continents and over many years, it is unrealistic to posit individualistic explanations as causes. Resilience, and consequent wellbeing, is not best understood as a characteristic of individuals but as generated or degraded by life histories, family and community resources, institutional supports or stressors, and social factors. We need to look at institutional and cultural factors if our response is to be coherent and effective. We need to seek a responsive law school in a responsive university in a responsive state.

The article emphasizes the importance of a legal curriculum that recognizes vulnerability. 

All of these suggestions share a common characteristic, they are reactions to assumptions in the curriculum about the characteristics of the ideal hyper-rational, masculine, autonomous, competitive, liberal subject. Being autonomous and competitive they neglect collective action. Being hyper-rational and autonomous they have no emotional needs and are happy if left at liberty to pursue their own pre-given ends. Being masculine they are primarily the recipients of care, not care givers. Neo-liberalism reduces all values to money and market choices. The law exists to sustain markets, not to impose collective values upon markets. Vulnerability theory rejects this world view and asserts the importance of social reproduction, of the vulnerable individual, and the need for collective responses to deficiencies in resilience. A legal curriculum that recognizes vulnerability as fundamental to law and justice would provide a counterbalance to the current pervasive drift towards neo-liberal paradigms.

April 11, 2022 in Healthcare, Law schools, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 4, 2022

LSSSE Blog on Inclusive Socratic Teaching

I have published a guest blog with the Law School Survey of Student Engagement. The Law School Survey of Student Engagement is a vital tool to understanding the experiences of students in our classrooms. Here is an excerpt: 

* * * Student-centered Socratic teaching is a vital component to inclusive and effective Socratic classrooms. * * * [I]nclusion can be learned, cultivated, and measured.  Tracie Marcella Addy, Derek Dube, Khadijah A. Mitchell & Mallory E. SoRell, What Inclusive Instructors Do 4 (2021). Inclusive instructors take responsibility for delivering methods and materials that meet the needs of all learners. They learn about their students and care for them. They continuously adapt to help students thrive and belong.

The annual Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) is an important portal into examining the needs, challenges, and lived experiences of our students collectively, particularly as it reveals a changing climate. LSSSE’s 2021 Annual Report yields a critical call to action to support our students. It reveals how students are navigating heightened levels of “loneliness, depression, and anxiety.” Meera E. Deo, Jacquelyn Petzold, and Chad Christensen, The COVID Crisis in Legal Education, Law School Survey of Student Engagement Annual Report 5 (2021). A staggering 85% of students experienced depression that compromised their daily functioning in the past year, with higher percentages of women reporting distress. Id. at 12.

* * * Reflecting on these student experiences stirs us from our own COVID-19 fatigue to illuminate a path advancing intersecting curricular reforms. While no professor can alleviate the essential external challenges of our students, we can fortify the dominant Socratic classroom experience to minimize its abstract perspectivelessness. Socratic classrooms can be student-centered, skills-centered, client-centered, and community-centered, pivoting from professor-centered, power-centered, and anxiety-inducing. LSSSE’s analysis, reinforced by our direct student engagement, inspires us to reform Socratic classrooms with students, not simply for students. Sensitized to our student experiences liberates us to disrupt the status quo knowing that all students might benefit from greater connection, intentionality, and applicability in our Socratic classrooms.

April 4, 2022 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

2022 New Women Law Deans

Updated August 25, 2022

Each year Gender & the Law Prof tracks the new appointments of women deans in law schools.  We begin the list here, expecting updates as the spring progresses.

Michele Alexandre, Loyola Chicago (former Dean, Stetson)

Nicola Boothe, Univ. Illinois, Chicago (former Interim Dean, Associate Dean, Florida A&M)

Camille Carey, New Mexico (former Vice and Associate Dean, New Mexico)

Lisa Freudenheim, New England (former Co-Acting and Associate Dean, New England)

Leah Chan Grinvald, UNLV (former Associate Dean, Suffolk)

Emily Janoski-Haehlen, Akron (former Associate Dean, Akron)

Melanie Jacobs, Louisville (former Associate Dean, Michigan State)

Tamara Lawson, Washington (former Dean, St. Thomas)

Sudha Setty, CUNY (former Dean, Western New England)

Melanie Wilson. Washington & Lee (former Dean, Tennessee)

 

For the 2021 list, see 2021 New Women Law Deans, Gender & the Law Prof, which also includes some historic data and discussion.

See also Diversity Increases With Law School Deans, According to New Study

The number of women and people of color in law school dean positions is growing, but those hired through search firms were mostly white men, according to a new study released by the Association of American Law Schools.

 

The American Law School Dean Study surveyed 197 deans of ABA-accredited law schools and 222 former deans who served between 2010 and 2020. It was also compiled by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, also known as the NORC.

 

According to the study, released Tuesday, women headed 41% of law schools in 2020, compared to 18% in 2005. Also, 31% of the law schools in 2020 had deans who were people of color or Hispanic, compared to 13% in 2005.

 

According to the study, 18% of the law school deans in 2020 identified as Black or African American, and 6% identified as Hispanic or Latino. The number of law school deans who identify as American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander was also increasing, in small amounts, according to the study.

 

March 30, 2022 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 14, 2022

Kinda Abdus-Saboor on "Lessons From Pandemic Pedagogy: Humanizing Law School Teaching to Create Equity and Evenness"

Kinda L. Abdus-Saboor has published Lessons from Pandemic Pedagogy: Humanizing Law School Teaching to Create Equity and Evenness in volume 69 of the Journal of Legal Education. The article concludes: 

This year has been rich with chaos and uncertainty. And yet, amid all of the chaos emerged the opportunity for a long-overdue shift in the law school classroom. The pandemic brought the discriminatory impact of law school policies to the forefront. It inspired dialogue about students’ challenges at home and raised concerns about students’ well-being. Essentially, it seems, the pandemic infused a humanistic, subjective undertone into an environment that is known for its thrashing, stoic, and unbothered overtones. Evenness and equity became a part of the lesson plan as we strive to embody the values of the often-misconstrued millennial worldview: a sense of entitlement to a better now and a better future with a gratitude for the progress that has been made thus far.

 

Through this evolving remote “pandemic pedagogy,” law schools around the country began to move toward equitable spaces in which the context of students’ learning mattered. While there are many aspects of the pandemic that we are in a hurry to leave behind, this redirection from tradition to equity should not be one of them. For if we always do what we have always done, then we will always be what we have always been. The legal profession has long been a white, male-dominated space. It is safe to say that it is about time to break the mold.

The essay is a thoughtful and reflective read. My favorite sentence from the essay is a simple, yet poignant, reminder that "we are not teaching things, we are teaching people." 

March 14, 2022 in Education, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 28, 2022

Sonia Rankin on "Would You Make it to the Future? Teaching Race in an Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Law Classroom"

Sonia M. Gipson Rankin has posted a forthcoming work titled Would You Make It to the Future? Teaching Race in an Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Law Classroom on SSRN. This work is forthcoming in the Family Law Quarterly. The abstract previews: 

Would you make it to the future? For the last five years, I have started my Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) lecture in Family Law with this question. Students take the query seriously. They ponder their lived experiences such as home training, medical history, education, financial well-being, personality traits, work ethic, and social graces when determining if they would be the “model DNA” someone might select in a future society. The good-natured jokes about being nearsighted, having a pitiful jump shot, and wearing orthodontic headgear turn reflective when someone raises the question: would someone in the future select my race?

In this paper, Section I describes how race connects to family law. Section II explains cognitive dissonance theory, color blindness ideology, and the relationship of these theories to racial inequality in family law and how this connects to assisted reproductive technologies. Section III provides the framework for race-centered learning outcomes, a relevant rubric for reflection papers, and examples of case law and legislation that addresses race and ART. Section IV concludes by addressing how these skills and assessments in our family law curricula can impact systemic change in the practice of family law and the legal academy.

The article concludes: 

Legal education must be at the forefront of assisted reproductive technology. Our students will serve be crafters and litigators of ART contracts and decisions, policymakers and drafters of legislation, and will hold the hands of clients planning the biggest decisions of their futures. Showing students distinctions in family law shows the academy is responsive to realties in the practice of law. Race can serve as the first way to unpack cognitive dissonance. Professors must show the fallacies in the law so students can learn how to use their agency to critique the law and be excellent advocates for their clients. A racial cognitive dissonance lens allows students to review the impact of all the law, given the role of technology in the law that did not exist when the law was being formed. Understanding cognitive dissonance and cultural competency can help reduce legal issues in family law and ART.

A tagline for Gattaca [a "1997 science fiction film [depicting] a future society that uses reproductive technology and genetic engineering to produce genetically enhanced human beings"] states, “There is no gene for the human spirit.” There is a part of our lived journey that cannot be captured by DNA nor contract law but can only be bettered through our interactions with each other.

February 28, 2022 in Abortion, Conferences, Law schools, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Feminist Legal History and Legal Pedagogy

Paula Monopoli, Feminist Legal History and Legal Pedagogy, 108 Va. L. Rev. Online 91 (Feb. 17, 2022)

Women are mere trace elements in the traditional law school curriculum. They exist only on the margins of the canonical cases. Built on masculine norms, traditional modes of legal pedagogy involve appellate cases that overwhelmingly involve men as judges and advocates. The resulting silence signals that women are not makers of law—especially constitutional law. Teaching students critical modes of analysis like feminist legal theory and critical race feminism matters. But unmoored from feminist legal history, such critical theory is incomplete and far less persuasive. This Essay focuses on feminist legal history as foundational if students are to understand the implications of feminist legal theory. It offers several examples to illustrate how centering women and correcting their erasure from our constitutional memory is essential to educating future judges and advocates.

February 23, 2022 in Gender, Law schools, Legal History, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Hierarchy, Race & Gender in Legal Scholarly Networks

Hierarchy, Race & Gender in Legal Scholarly Networks

Keerthana Nunna - University of Michigan Law School

W. Nicholson Price II - University of Michigan Law School

Jonathan Tietz - University of Michigan Law School

A potent myth of legal academic scholarship is that it is mostly meritocratic and that it is mostly solitary. Reality is more complicated. In this Article, we plumb the networks of knowledge co-production in legal academia by analyzing the star footnotes that appear at the beginning of most law review articles. Acknowledgements paint a rich picture of both the currency of scholarly credit and the relationships among scholars. Building on others’ prior work characterizing the potent impact of hierarchy, race, and gender in legal academia more generally, we examine the patterns of scholarly networks and probe the effects of those factors. The landscape we illustrate is depressingly unsurprising in basic contours but awash in details. Hierarchy, race, and gender all have substantial impacts on who gets acknowledged and how, what networks of knowledge co-production get formed, and who is helped on their path through the legal academic world.

The traditional myth is that legal scholarship is largely meritocratic and largely solitary. Under such a view, what gets you ahead is simply a good idea: a head-turning paper that generates a whirlwind of citations and chatter with its brilliance. Under such a view, demographic considerations like an author’s race, gender, and academic pedigree should matter little in the marketplace of ideas. That myth may comfort those who ended up atop the tower, but it is belied by reality. Hierarchy, race, and gender matter to a legal academic’s success; they matter to the acceptance of her ideas; they matter to her own experience. Against a rich backdrop of theoretical and qualitative work examining these issues, we present here a quantitative study of one way to observe the impact of hierarchy, race, and gender: the acknowledgements sections of law review footnotes, and what they can tell us about legal scholarly networks.

The author footnote—variously known as the star, dagger, biographical, vanity, or bug footnote—gives a peek into who contributed (nominally, at least) to the intellectual product that is the final, published law review article. They provide small, partial portraits of the author’s professional and social networks. Taken in the aggregate, these footnotes give a peek (cloudy, to be sure) into the underlying relationships, interactions, and social networks that make up legal academia. And we can examine that picture for signs of the impact of hierarchy, race, and gender to see whether they show up in a quantitatively observable fashion. (Spoiler alert: they do.)

Here, we examine the star footnotes for nearly 30,000 law review articles published in generalist law journals over about a decade. We probe who acknowledges whom; how school rank matters; and what racial and gender based disparities exist in who gets asked, or who gets credit (it’s hard to tell) for feedback in scholarly papers. Not to hide the ball: we find that authors tend to acknowledge scholars from peer schools, most of all their own school, but also to typically acknowledge folks from somewhat fancier schools. We find that men are acknowledged more than women and nonbinary scholars, and white scholars more than scholars of color. We examine intersectional effects, which are complex; read on to find out more. One bright spot here: networks of scholars of color appear to be particularly robust.

 

February 1, 2022 in Education, Gender, Law schools, Race, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 24, 2022

Indigenous Feminist Legal Pedagogies

Emily Snyder has published Indigenous Feminist Legal Pedagogies in volume 58 of the Osgoode Hall L. J. 369 (2021).  The abstract explains: 

What does “Indigenous feminist legal pedagogy” mean? This article takes up this inquiry through an analysis of interviews that were done with twenty-three professors who teach in the area of Indigenous law (Indigenous peoples’ own laws) in Canada. Overwhelmingly, the professors were on board with the idea that gender matters and that it needs to be included in education about Indigenous laws, but how people were taking up gender, and the responses as they relate to Indigenous feminisms, varied. The interviews signal that there is a need for ongoing work in the area of gender and feminisms in the field of Indigenous law. This article illustrates why gendering Indigenous legal education is vital and argues for increased engagement with the idea and practice of Indigenous feminist legal pedagogies.

January 24, 2022 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gender Pay Disparities in the Legal Academy

Christopher J. Ryan, Jr. & Meghan Dawe have published Mind the Gap: Gender Pay Disparities in the Legal Academy in Volume 34 of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. The authors conclude: 

The distribution of salaries of law professors in our analysis indicates that, of the 1,051 respondents who reported their earnings, 64.6 percent earn below $150,000 annually and 35.4 percent earned at above that threshold. Looking at the intersection of gender and race, we observe white women and women of color earned salaries of $150,000 or greater at far lower rates than white men, by nearly 15 percentage points and by 25 percentage points, respectively. In fact, on average, women of color and white women earn more than $24,000 and nearly $14,000 less than white men, respectively. Men of color earned salaries at or exceeding $150,000 at roughly comparable rates to white men, but on average, men of color earn more than $7,000 less than white men. 

* * *

A wealth of research has demonstrated that the gender wage gap in the legal profession is both pervasive and persistent. Our investigation of a rich and unique dataset of tenured law professors reveals gender stratification in the legal academy, clearly demonstrated by our finding that tenured women law professors—and especially women of color—receive lower compensation than their male colleagues. We find evidence that women law professors are very likely to earn lower salaries and additional income than men, even when they both enjoy the same protection of tenure. Moreover, we find that gendered earnings disparities are experienced more acutely by women of color. In addition to documenting that gendered earnings disparities exist, it is important to examine the mechanisms that underly these persistent forms of gender—and racialized—inequality. Our findings demonstrate the salience of human capital and social capital in mediating the relationship between gender and earnings in the legal academy.

January 24, 2022 in Equal Employment, Law schools, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 17, 2022

Stereotypes, Sexism, and Superhuman Faculty

 Teneille R. Brown has posted Stereotypes, Sexism, and Superhuman Faculty on SSRN. This article is a preprint of a work forthcoming in volume 16 of the Florida International Law Review.  This is a powerful and personal read capturing many important takeaways of pandemic teaching as its hardships have mapped on to gender, race, and parental status. 

Despite our relative privilege, lawyers are not immune to the pandemic’s breathtaking ability to expose gender inequality. While working moms in other industries are afforded far fewer supports, and often cannot work from home, the lack of support offered by law schools and law firms has still been appalling. We risk losing much of the fragile equality we have won, as women scale back their pursuit of leadership positions, and have less focused time to spend researching cases, preparing for class, giving talks, or writing. The data are in: women lawyers’ productivity plummeted during the pandemic. This carried over to academic writing generally, where women’s submissions nosedived in the spring and summer. Women with children have lost 500 hours of research time, which makes them “disproportionately less likely to be promoted in rank and perhaps even more likely to drop out of academia altogether.” 

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As it might be clear by now, treating people as superhuman is an insidious and hollow form of adulation. Even though it seems positively valenced, it nonetheless reflects a form of dehumanization.  

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Law faculty are not superhumans, and there is no virtue in regarding ourselves as such. We are individuals—empowered with the full range of complex thoughts and emotional vulnerabilities. This is not to say that all humans experience emotions to the same degree, or that we all draw from the same emotional depth or complexity. But for some, denying our emotional experience is a rejection of the self. Further, treating faculty as superhumans leads to workplace environments that are cold, uncaring, and discriminatory.

 

Unfortunately, the depth and complexity of the problem is disheartening, and there are no easy solutions. It is not enough to have women in leadership roles if those women espouse ambivalent sexism in their speech or policies. And it is not enough to respond to requests by working moms for accommodations, as those requests will often render those asking for them less competent. Research does suggest that women take less of a hit to their competence if they frame requests as advocating for others, and when they explicitly draw attention to sexist stereotypes. Thus, by making colleagues and administrators aware of the [Stereotype Content Model] and the deep social psychological roots of ambivalent sexism, we can begin to open their eyes. But because of the blow we take to competence when we mention our caregiving roles, professional women cannot make systemic change alone.

January 17, 2022 in Equal Employment, Family, Law schools, Women lawyers, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)