Monday, March 13, 2023
Etienne C. Toussaint on "The Purpose of Legal Education"
Etienne C. Toussaint has posted forthcoming work on SSRN titled The Purpose of Legal Education. This article is to be published in Volume 111 of the California Law Review (2023). The abstract previews:
When President Donald Trump launched an assault on diversity training, critical race theory, and The 1619 Project in September 2020 as “divisive, un-American propaganda,” many law students were presumably confused. After all, law school has historically been doctrinally neutral, racially homogenous, and socially hierarchical. In most core law school courses, colorblindness and objectivity trump critical legal discourse on issues of race, gender, or sexuality. Yet, such disorientation reflects a longstanding debate over the fundamental purpose of law school. As U.S. law schools develop antiracist curricula and expand their experiential learning programs to produce so-called practice-ready lawyers for the crises exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, scholars continue to question whether and how, if at all, the purpose of law school converges with so
This Article argues that the anti-racist, democratic, and movement lawyering principles advocated by progressive legal scholars should not be viewed merely as aspirational ideals for social justice law courses. Rather, querying whether legal systems and political institutions further racism, economic oppression, or social injustice must be viewed as endemic to the fundamental purpose of legal education. In so doing, this Article makes three important contributions to the literature on legal education and philosophical legal ethics. First, it clarifies how two ideologies—functionalism and neoliberalism—have threatened to drift law school’s historic public purpose away from the democratic norms of public citizenship, inflicting law students, law faculty, and the legal academy with an existential identity crisis. Second, it explores historical mechanisms of institutional change within law schools that reveal diverse notions of law school’s purpose as historically contingent. Such perspectives are shaped by the behaviors, cultural attitudes, and ideological beliefs of law faculty operating within particular social, political, and economic contexts. Third, and finally, it demonstrates the urgency of moving beyond liberal legalism in legal education by integrating critical legal theories and movement law principles throughout the entire law school curriculum.
March 13, 2023 in Education, Law schools, Legal History, Race, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, March 6, 2023
Swethaa Ballakrishnen on "Law School as Straight Space"
Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen has published Law School as Straight Space in volume 91 of the Fordham Law Review. This is a symposium volume giving tribute to the life of Professor Deborah L. Rhode. Ballakrishnen draws upon the framework of Professor Bennett Capers’s framework of The Law School as White Space.
Ballakrishnen's abstract provides:
* * * [A]lthough categories like race and gender have received increasing attention in diversity research, less is known about other nonnormative actors in the legal profession whose voices remain peripheral because of their minority status and/or historic representation. This means that we have little aggregate data about categories like generational capital, sexual orientation, and disability, and when we do know about them, their narratives do not highlight nonnormative subpopulations within these identities. In honoring Rhode’s commitment to making space for the marginal in legal education and clarifying the “no-problem” problems in our midst, this Essay focuses on one strain of nonnormative experience—that of genderqueer persons—to clarify the ways in which law schools, despite their intention and posturing (and sometimes, in spite of such posturing), reinforce linear hierarchies of identity and performance. Although just a small number of lawyers—less than 1 percent—identify as genderqueer, their experiences of isolation within professional spaces highlight important ways in which the legal profession reinforces and expects normativity.
Part I offers an overview of queer marginality in the legal profession by outlining the demographic trends of LGBTQIA+ individuals and the ways in which these data leave out nuances and intersections that might be relevant. Particularly, by using direction from Rhode’s early article, Whistling Vivaldi: Legal Education and the Politics of Progress, this Essay suggests that understanding genderqueer individuals’ experiences in legal education might be crucial to building sustainable equity and responding to new demographic shifts.
Part II uses ethnographic interview data to highlight the perspectives of genderqueer law students. It demonstrates the ways in which “normal” professional practices in law school reinforce the rigidity of the gender binary and call for a performance of propriety that necessarily alienates students who do not fall into strict categories of identity. The gendered nature of law school has the dual (and somewhat paradoxical) implication of making students both want to establish their gender nonnormative identities more actively and feel like those boundaries of representation are not respected. It is this denial of queer inequality—a form of “blasé discrimination”—that offers new operationalization to Rhode’s theorizing about the “no-problem” problem.
Part III uses these perspectives from the periphery as central tools for unpacking the structures of the law school. * * * I offer that the heteronormative assumptions that are baked into law school form “straight” expectations that are inherent in its institutional framework and that it is, in plain sight, without ever being called out, a “straight space.” Navigation by those who do not fit these categorical frameworks of normativity is always at a cost, which leads students to actively push back against them, even if such expression comes at the behest of new costs. Using accounts from students about name calling and pedagogy in classrooms, as well as the dress, professionalization, and affect expectations seen as inherent to becoming a “good lawyer,” I suggest the ways in which these prefigurations of structural exclusion might impact a range of nonnormative subjects. I then conclude in Part IV by suggesting that paying attention to these subpopulations of students (of whom nonbinary and trans students are inexhaustive examples) is crucial for those committed to reforming legal education beyond platitudes of equality. Rhode’s interest in justice was not just about precise analysis and theory; it was committed to unveiling the structures of inequality that were not yet named. It is the spirit of that endeavor that buoys this Essay’s main contribution.
March 6, 2023 in Law schools, LGBT, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Study Shows Hierarchy, Race and Gender Impact Scholarly Networks and Who is Helped on Their Legal Academic Path
Keerthana Nunna, W. Nicholson Price II & Jonathan Tietz, Hierarchy Race and Gender in Legal Scholarly Networks, 75 Stanford Law Review 71 (Feb. 2023)
A potent myth of legal academic scholarship is that it is mostly meritocratic and 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. Acknowledgments 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 effects 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.
February 28, 2023 in Gender, Law schools, Race, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, February 27, 2023
Sara Ochs on "Imposter Syndrome & The Law School Caste System"
Sara Ochs has published Imposter Syndrome & The Law School Caste System in volume 42 of the Pace Law Review (2022). The abstract previews:
For decades, legal academia has been structured around a hierarchical caste system, with tenured and tenure-track doctrinal law professors—many of whom are men—occupying the highest caste, and professors of legal skills courses—who more often identify as women—relegated to the lower castes. The status of these “lower caste” professors is routinely reinforced through weaker job security, less respect, and lower pay than received by their doctrinal, “upper caste” colleagues. Given this inequality, imposter syndrome plays a pervasive role in the lives and careers of professors of legal skills courses. Relying on qualitative data obtained from teaching faculty and staff at ABA accredited and approved law schools nationwide, this article analyzes how the law school hierarchy manifests as imposter syndrome in professors of legal skills courses, which impacts their relationships with colleagues; teaching; relationships with students; publication and promotion of scholarship; and personal health and wellbeing. Based on these findings, the article argues that the impacts of imposter syndrome on skills professors—many of which have gendered implications—promote a recurring cycle of classism and discrimination within legal academia. The article further identifies imposter syndrome as an institutionalized, rather than an individualized, problem within legal academia. The responsibility and capacity to address this problem therefore lies in the institution—in this case, law schools—rather than the skills professors themselves. Thus, this article concludes that the only way to reduce the insidious presence of imposter syndrome in legal academia is to dismantle the law school caste system and level the hierarchy.
February 27, 2023 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)
New Article on "Law Clerk Selection and Diversity: Insights from Fifty Sitting Judges of the Federal Courts of Appeals"
Jeremy Fogel. Mary Hoopes, and Goodwin Liu have published a forthcoming article on SSRN titled Law Clerk Selection and Diversity: Insights from Fifty Sitting Judges of the Federal Courts of Appeals. The article is forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review. The abstract states:
Judicial clerkships are key positions of responsibility and coveted opportunities for career advancement. Commentators have noted that the demographics of law clerks do not align with the student population by law school, socioeconomic background, gender, race, or ethnicity, and that ideological matching is prevalent between judges and their clerks. But extant studies draw on limited data and offer little visibility into how judges actually select clerks. For this study, we conducted in-depth individual interviews with fifty active judges of the federal courts of appeals to learn how they approach law clerk selection and diversity. Our sample, though not fully representative of the judiciary, includes judges from all circuits, appointed by Presidents of both parties, with average tenure of fourteen years. The confidential interviews, which drew in part upon the peer relationship that two of us have with fellow judges, yielded rich and candid insights not captured by prior surveys.
This Article reports our findings, among them: (1) With few exceptions, appellate judges hire clerks as an “ensemble” and assign positive value to diversity, although judges vary significantly in the dimensions of diversity they seek. (2) Most judges disclaim any interest in ideological alignment when hiring clerks; we situate this finding in the context of factors that contribute to ideological segmentation of the clerkship market. (3) Republican appointees, compared to Democratic appointees, more often identified socioeconomic diversity as the primary dimension of diversity they seek. (4) Judges who graduated from law schools outside the U.S. News & World Report top twenty are significantly more likely than other judges to hire clerks from schools outside the top twenty. (5) Almost all judges in our sample consider gender in clerkship hiring, and many have specific goals for gender balance. Republican appointees reported more difficulty drawing women into their applicant pool than Democratic appointees. (6) Most judges in our sample assign positive value to racial diversity and consider race to some degree in evaluating applicants, although it is important to note that some judges believe strongly that such consideration is inappropriate. (7) Many judges who view racial diversity positively nonetheless reported difficulty hiring Black and Hispanic clerks. The judges with the most robust records of minority hiring are those who make affirmative efforts to draw minority candidates into their applicant pool or place greater emphasis on indicators of talent besides grades and law school rank, or do both. (8) Black judges are particularly successful in hiring Black clerks; we estimate that Black judges, who comprised less than one-eighth of active circuit judges during our study, accounted for more than half of the Black clerks hired each year in the federal courts of appeals.
These findings have implications for judicial selection; in short, diversity among judges affects diversity among clerks. Further, one of our most consistent findings is that judges do not discuss clerk hiring or diversity with each other. This silence reflects norms of judicial culture that foster collegiality and mutual deference while tending to inhibit peer-to-peer discussion of how judges select their clerks. Yet many judges want to hire more diverse clerks and would like to learn from their colleagues’ practices. We propose measures to increase transparency, facilitate peer exchange, and increase judges’ capacity to achieve their hiring objectives, whatever they may be.
February 27, 2023 in Courts, Equal Employment, Judges, Law schools, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, January 16, 2023
NALP Publishes its Annual Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms
The National Association of Law Placement has published its 2022 data on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms.
The introduction outlines the findings and conclusions of this important annual report:
Overall, women and people of color continued to make measured progress in representation at major U.S. law firms in 2022 as compared with 2021, according to the latest demographic findings from the analyses of the 2022 NALP Directory of Legal Employers (NDLE) — the annual compendium of legal employer data published by NALP. At the associate level, women now make up almost half of all associates — and will soon likely become the majority based on the summer associate demographics — where women have surpassed the 50% threshold for the past 5 years.
By race/ethnicity, Black associates saw the biggest year-over-year increase in representation, up by more than half of a percentage point to 5.77% of all associates. Likewise, Black summer associates saw large gains this year, increasing by 0.7 percentage points to 11.85% of all summer associates. The share of summer associates who are women and/or people of color continues to exceed that of associates by 6-15 percentage points, suggesting that the associate ranks will persist in their diversification over the next few years.
Progress at the partnership level has moved at a more sluggish pace, particularly for women of color. Black and Latinx women each continued to account for less than 1% of all partners in 2022. The percentage of Black partners overall increased by just 0.1 percentage points, from 2.22% of all partners in 2021 to 2.32%. Latinx partners experienced a similar increase, growing from 2.86% of all partners in 2021 to 2.97% in 2022.
January 16, 2023 in Law schools, Race, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
The Black-White Paradigm and the Continuing Erasure of Latinas as Law Deans
Laura Padilla, The Black-White Paradigm's Continuing Erasure of Latinas: See Women Law Deans of Color, 99 Denver L. Rev. 683 (2022)
The Black-white paradigm persists with unintended consequences. For example, there have been only six Latina law deans to date with only four presently serving. This Article provides data about women law deans of color, the dearth of Latina law deans, and explanations for the data. It focuses on the enduring Black-white paradigm, as well as other external and internal forces. This Article suggests how to increase the number of Latina law deans and emphasizes why it matters.
December 14, 2022 in Education, Law schools, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)
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"
October 27, 2022 in Abortion, Conferences, Constitutional, Healthcare, Law schools, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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)