Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Programs on Women and Law at AALS Annual Meeting

Thursday, January 3

 

10:30-12:15 WILE ("Women in Legal Education" Section), co-Sponsoring with the Section on Agricultural and Food Law: Worker Justice in the Food System.

One in six jobs in the U.S. is in the food supply chain, from restaurants, to grocery stores, to food processing, and production. These jobs offer low wages, little job security, and few benefits. In addition, they often include dangerous working conditions. And yet, food system workers are under protected by minimum wage and hour laws, workplace safety laws, and others. This panel will focus on three key issues facing food chain laborers today: sexual harassment, immigration restrictions and enforcement, and occupational health hazards.

Speaker: Jennifer M. Chacon, University of California, Irvine School of Law 

Speaker: Joan Flocks, University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law

Speaker: Tanya Kateri Hernandez, Fordham University School of Law 

Moderator: Margot Pollans, Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law

 

10:30-12:15pm Hot Topics: Narratives about Sexual Harassment & Sexual Violence: #MeToo, the Kavanaugh Allegations & Pending Changes to Title IX Enforcement  

Media coverage of the #MeToo movement and allegations that Justice Kavanaugh committed sexual assault fueled public discourse about sexual harassment and sexual violence throughout the past year. Two sets of competing narratives emerged about both the nature of sexual harassment and sexual violence and the appropriate institutional and public responses to disclosures and allegations. One set of narratives focused on survivors’ experiences of trauma, barriers to accessing resources, and inadequate responses following disclosures. The other set of narratives centered on individuals accused of committing sexual harassment or sexual violence, their identification as victims of false allegations, and claims of inadequate due process protections. In this presentation, scholars use the context of campus sexual misconduct and the proposed changes to Title IX guidance to address the wide range of narratives impacting sexual harassment and sexual violence law and policy.     

The Section on Civil Rights is co-sponsoring the session, and more information can be found at: https://memberaccess.aals.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?webcode=SesDetails&ses_key=97EB8580-018C-44C4-AD0E-B6D2F72B560F

 

1:30 pm - 3:15 pm AALS Discussion Group The Future of Sexual Harassment

This discussion group brings together scholars working on various dimensions of sexual harassment law at work and on campus. To ground the discussion, participants are encouraged to read and respond to the “Open Statement on Sexual Harassment” by Vicki Schultz, recently published in the Stanford Law Review at www.stanfordlawreview.org/metoo-symposium. The ensuing discussion will center on questions including: What is sexual harassment? What causes it? What makes a theory of harassment better or worse? Does harassment differ at work and on campus (and elsewhere), or by race, ethnicity, age, class, sexual orientation, gender non-conformity, or other factors? What can be done, in the law or elsewhere, to prevent and address harassment? How has activism and the law helped or hindered progress, whether historically and today? What are the dangers to be avoided in the future?

Discussion Group Participant: Rachel Arnow-Richman, University of Denver Sturm College of Law 

Discussion Group Participant: Jessica Clarke, Vanderbilt University Law School 
Discussion Group Participant: Ann C. McGinley, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Melissa E. Murray, New York University School of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Angela I. Onwuachi-Willig, Boston University School of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Darren Rosenblum, Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Leticia Saucedo, University of California, Davis, School of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Vicki Schultz, Yale Law School 
Discussion Group Moderator: Brian Soucek, University of California, Davis, School of

 

1:30 pm - 3:15 pm American Bar Foundation Program, Women Trailblazers in the Law Oral History Project

The Women Trailblazers Project (WTP) oral history collection is a rich new trove of research materials, now readily accessible to legal academicians, historians and other scholars. The WTP, a collaborative research project of the American Bar Association and the American Bar Foundation, has taken comprehensive, full-life oral histories of over a hundred leading women pioneers in the legal profession nationwide. These senior women lawyers, judges and law professors were chosen for their exceptional career achievements and their contributions to opening opportunities for other women. They entered a male-dominated profession, graduating from law schools in the years ranging from the 1940s to the 1970s, and often faced blatant sex discrimination and a variety of other challenges. The Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford University has created a new website dedicated to displaying the WTP collection of oral histories and related materials.

Speaker: Barbara A. Babcock, Stanford Law School 

Speaker: Ms. Brooksley Born, Arnold & Porter LLP 
Speaker: Nancy Gertner, Harvard Law School 
Moderator: Ajay K. Mehrotra, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law 
Speaker: Beth Williams, Stanford Law School 

 

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Women in Academic Leadership in Reception, Hosted by the University of Georgia School of Law

 

Friday, January 4

 

8:30 am - 10:15 am AALS Hot Topic Program, Religious Exemptions and Harm to Third Parties

Should the government be able to provide religious exemptions when they result in harm to third-parties? This question is particularly weighty at this moment in American history when religious exemptions have perhaps never been more controversial. In light of recent Supreme Court cases like Hobby Lobby and Masterpiece Cakeshop, some scholars have advanced new theories that would place strict limits on government’s ability to grant religious exemptions that result in harm (or externalities) to third parties who do not benefit from that religious practice. This program will explore the historical, theoretical, normative, and doctrinal arguments for and against a rule that would prohibit religious exemptions that result in more than de minimis harm to identifiable third parties.

 

8:30-10:15 Building Bridges with Shared Experiences: The Women in Legal Education Oral History Project. Business meeting will be held at the end of the session. 

For the past four to five years, a small group of Women in Legal Education Section Members, led by Professor Marie Failinger (Mitchell Hamline School of Law), have been recording oral histories of the women in the legal academy. The Oral History Project’s goal is to gather the stories of as many women in the academy as possible to develop a robust library of histories that can be used for research, study, or enjoyment. More than 40 women have been interviewed as of January 2018. In this session, panelists will explain the Oral History Project and share thoughts, reactions, and experiences, as we show clips from the Oral History Project about decisions that led women into the legal academy, often at a time where there were few women on law faculties.

 

9:00am to 12:15pm  AALS Socioeconomics Panel, co-sponsored by WILE Section, Gender, Race and Competition in the New Economy   

Anti-discrimination law took hold during an era in which “good jobs” involved “narrow portals of entry” into secure career ladders. The predominant economic theory of discrimination at the time suggested that different treatment involved employment and consumer “tastes” or dislike of other groups. Today’s economy has dismantled the secure employment and predictable career ladders of mid-century America. In the process, inequality has grown, and the dominance of white (and in some cases Asian) men has increased in the upper reaches of the economy. Indeed, while the gendered wage gap has narrowed overall, the gap has increased for college graduates since the early nineties. This panel will consider how to understand the redefinition of “good jobs” in a networked economy, the new remade terms of competition among employees, and the implications for gender and racial diversity.

The socioeconomics section will start at 9 with a brief intro.  We will get underway at 9:15 and run until  12:15, with two panels and a break in between..

The first panel will run from 9:15 to 10:40. That session will focus more on the corporate side of the topic and will address proposals for employee ownership, the importance of big data, and the relationship between diversity and corporate governance. The panelists will be: Lisa Fairfax, Josephine Nelson, Frank Pasquale, and Steve Ramirez.  

 

The second panel will address the relationships between the corporate developments and employment discrimination law and the question of whether employment discrimination is -- or should be -- designed to deal with these developments. This panel will begin at 10:50 and run until 12:15. The panelists will be: Naomi Cahn, June Carbone, Jessica Clarke, and Mike Selmi.

 

10:30 am - 12:15 pm AALS Discussion Group, Building Bridges Across Curricular and Status Lines: Gender Inequity throughout the Legal Academy

The goal of the program is to highlight persistent issues of gender inequity in the legal academy that disadvantage all women faculty and students, particularly those of color. In keeping with the conference theme of Building Bridges, panelists are representative of various ABA-categorized faculty, including traditional tenured faculty employed under ABA Standard 405(b), clinical faculty employed under ABA Standard (405(c)), and legal writing faculty subject to ABA Standard 405(d), as well as faculty holding administrative positions. Discussion participants hope to share common experiences and begin a conversation that will continue well beyond the Annual Meeting. Planned areas for discussion include gender inequities inherent in legal scholarship, institutional labor and leadership, perceptions and expectations applicable to female faculty, and hierarchies related to security of position.

Discussion Group Participant: Sahar Aziz, Rutgers Law School 

Discussion Group Participant: Mary Bowman, Seattle University School of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Leslie P. Culver, California Western School of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Meera Deo, Law School Survey of Student Engagement 
Discussion Group Participant: Darby Dickerson, The John Marshall Law School 
Discussion Group Participant: Susan Hanley Duncan, University of Mississippi School of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Mary A. Lynch, Albany Law School 
Discussion Group Participant: Ann C. McGinley, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Deborah J. Merritt, The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Angela I. Onwuachi-Willig, University of California, Berkeley School of Law 
Discussion Group Participant: Alicia E. Plerhoples, Georgetown University Law Center 
Discussion Group Moderator: Kristen Konrad Tiscione, Georgetown University Law Center 
Discussion Group Moderator: Melissa H. Weresh, Drake University Law School 

 

10:30 am - 12:15 pm Criminal Justice, Rape and Sexual Assault in the Era of #MeToo

In 2015, the American Law Institute (ALI) sought to redefine the Model Penal Code’s definition of rape. To date, ALI’s membership has failed to reach consensus. They are not alone in struggling to define the crime of rape. State and federal actors have struggled with questions of how to define rape and how (or even whether) to construct processes around the crime. This panel considers these efforts in the era of the #MeToo movement, which has highlighted the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment, sexual assault, and attitudes that condone and promulgate this behavior. While not all of the behavior #MeToo addresses falls within proposed definitions of rape, the larger social norms the movement challenges nonetheless influence how criminal law defines the crime of rape. This panel will consider how #MeToo has changed the questions that legislators, police officers, practitioners, and scholars ask when considering the crime of rape.

Speaker: Bennett Capers, Brooklyn Law School 

Moderator: Jenny E. Carroll, Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law at The University of Alabama

Speaker: Erin Collins, The University of Richmond School of Law

Speaker: Cynthia M. Godsoe, Brooklyn Law School

Speaker: Aya Gruber, University of Colorado Law School
 
Speaker: Corey Rayburn Yung, University of Kansas School of Law 

 

12:15-1:30 Women in Legal Education Luncheon and Presentation of the 2019 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award to Chancellor Phoebe Haddon. This is a ticketed event; please purchase your ticket in advance.

 

1:30-3:15 Hot Topic Program: Civil Rights in the Aftermath of the Kavanaugh Hearings and Confirmation. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s September 27, 2018 hearing concerning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegations that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh committed assault upon her person proved a watershed political and jurisprudential moment. We have now learned of Justice Kavanaugh’s positions on reproductive freedoms, immigrant rights, presidential power, and female testimonial credibility, which may well transform the protections afforded by the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses and the Civil Rights Act. Furthermore, his performance at the September 27 hearing triggers issues about judicial temperament, ethics, and even the judge’s role as a creator of legal and social truth. 

 

In this Hot Topic Panel, legal scholars will address the ways in which Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination, hearings, and confirmation impact a wide variety of legal domains, including sexual harassment and assault laws, workplace equality, policing, substantive and criminal law, administrative law, the field of judicial ethics, and the standards of proof appropriate for criminal, legal, and political processes. We will also engage the ways in which Justice Kavanaugh’s role in today's political and legal climate intersects with jurisprudence, such as critical legal feminism and the moral theory of epistemic injustice. 

 

1:30-3:15 Co-Sponsoring with the Section on Aging and the Law: The Legal Consequences of Living a Long Life: The Differential Impact on Marginalized Communities. 

Thanks to advances in healthcare, people are living longer. Longevity has legal consequences. People can outlive their family, friends, and finances. Longevity has differing impacts on women, people of color, low-income people, and LGBT individuals. Statistically, women make less money than men and they live longer than men. People of color are less financially secure than most Americans. In the United States, approximately 80 percent of long-term care for older people is provided by family members, such as spouses, children, and other relatives. This places an undue financial burden on families and on low-income persons. LGBT individuals may face conscious and unconscious discrimination when seeking long-term care and other assistance, and they have had historically formed different family structures. This panel will explore the intersection of the legal system and longevity, examining systems that are in place or should be in place to help people plan for living longer.

Speaker: Ms. Donohon Abdugafurova, Emory University Islamic Civilizations Studies 

Speaker: Anne L. Alstott, Yale Law School 
Speaker: Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, Duquesne University School of Law 
Moderator: Browne C. Lewis, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University 
Speaker: Beverly I. Moran, Vanderbilt University Law School 
Speaker: Nancy E. Shurtz, University of Oregon School of Law 
Speaker: Jessica Dixon Weaver, Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law 

 

Saturday, January 5

 

10:30 am - 12:15 pm AALS Program, #MeToo - The Courts, The Academy and Law Firms

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, courts, law firms, and the academy are taking a serious look at how they address workplace conduct, including bullying and sexual harassment. Law firms are improving their practices for addressing the complex issues surrounding harassment. The federal judiciary is revising its ethics codes, stepping up training, and revamping its procedures for investigating complaints. Law schools are engaging with their students on this issue like never before. The key challenges remain the significant power disparities and the chilling effect of reporting. Law schools are in a unique position to serve as a bridge between students and the greater legal community to help reduce these risks. This panel will discuss practical and novel ways that law schools can partner with the courts and the legal community to address these issues. This discussion will also include the important voice of someone who has experienced sexual harassment.

Speaker: Ms. Hilarie Bass, American Bar Association 

Speaker: Ms. Marguerite Gilles, Yale Law School 

Speaker: Gillian L. Lester, Columbia Law School 
 
Speaker: The Honorable M. Margaret McKeown, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 
 
Moderator: Michael H. Schwartz, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law 
 
Speaker: Ms. Nicole VanderDoes, 

 

 

 

1:30-3:15 Building Bridges: WiLE Networking, Mentoring, and Discussion. 

 

This is a reboot of our Speed Mentoring session. This session will give us an opportunity to have focused discussion as well as more informal discussion about topics that impact all of us and our students and colleagues. The primary discussion topics grew out of the discussion on our Section's Listserv this past fall in the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings. We have four primary goals for this session:  

  1. To address the meaning of the hearings for session participants in their roles as legal academics, lawyers, citizens, and for some, survivors of harassment or assault; 
  2. To reveal challenges the participants faced in occupying those roles and charting a path forward; 
  3. To mentor one another by sharing strategies that enabled the participants to cope with the challenges posed; and 
  4. To provide a forum to network and form alliances in the wake of an event in American political history, which galvanized the country and the legal academy.

 

Sunday, January 6

 

8:30 am - 10:15 am Evidence, Problems of Proof: #MeToo and 'Who Me?'

The #MeToo movement has galvanized women and women's groups to call out, respond to, and challenge pervasive sexual harassment in workplaces as varied as Uber, Hollywood, and Congress. Charges, as well as civil lawsuits are being filed. But what will happen if and when these cases go to trial? Sexual harassment cases are notoriously "he said, she said," situations subject to the interpretations of the "reasonable" or "objective" person, and social standards and mores about what does and does not cross the line. Recent backlash against what constitutes harassment blurs the lines between actionable wrongs, poor judgment, and bad manners. This panel will examine the evidentiary basis for sexual harassment claims, the problems of proof with credibility issues, the evidentiary standards of civil and criminal cases, and the challenges and opportunities for litigants in the courtroom.

Speaker: Mr. Charles Gibbs, McMonagle Perri McHugh Mischak Davis 

Speaker: Christine Chambers Goodman, Pepperdine University School of Law 
Speaker: Aya Gruber, University of Colorado Law School 
Speaker: Catharine A. MacKinnon, The University of Michigan Law School 
Speaker: Ms. Sandra C. Munoz, Law Offices of Sandra C. Munoz 
Speaker from a Call for Papers: Julia Simon-Kerr, University of Connecticut School of Law 
Speaker: Deborah Tuerkheimer, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law 
Speaker: Maggie Wittlin, University of Nebraska College of Law 
 
10:30 am - 12:15 pm -Soci0-Economics Co-Sponsored by Minority Groups Race, Gender, and Socio-Economic Justice
 
This session explores the goals of greater minority and gender justice and empowerment and their relationship to socio-economic methodology. Socio-economic methodology recognizes that systemic race and gender injustice and the goals of minority and gender empowerment cannot be adequately understood or addressed by a legal analysis limited to the narrow neoclassical approach to law and economics. Would the aforementioned goals be substantially aided if the socio-economic methodology were to become the dominant academic approach to law-related economic issues? The panelists and audience will be invited to share their views.
 
Speaker: Deleso A. Alford, Southern University Law Center 
Speaker: Deborah N. Archer, New York University School of Law 
Moderator and Speaker: Robert Ashford, Syracuse University College of Law 
Speaker: William K. Black, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law 
Speaker: June Rose Carbone, University of Minnesota Law School 
Speaker: Martha Albertson Fineman, Emory University School of Law 
Speaker: Philip L. Harvey, Rutgers Law School 
Speaker: Tayyab Mahmud, Seattle University School of Law 

January 3, 2019 in Conferences, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Implicit Bias in the Law School Dean Search Process

Michelle Benedetto Neitz, Pulling Back the Curtain: Implicit Bias in the Law School Dean Search Process, Seton Hall L. Rev. (forthcoming) 

The dean search process can be viewed as a bellwether for the health of a law school. Within the microcosm of a civilized “dean search committee” can lie the tensions of rival factions attempting to impose their visions for the next chapter of the law school enterprise. If law school revenue is down, the factions may be fighting for their own survival.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the dean search process is a lightning rod for the stresses facing law school faculty and staff and university administrators. As a result, the implicit biases of individuals and institutions can play a major (if unseen) role in the selection of a dean. Despite the regularity of dean searches in American law schools, no scholar to date has fully examined the ramifications of implicit bias in the dean search process.

This article stems from my experience chairing multiple dean searches and my research interest in the causes and effects of implicit bias. Part II reviews the role of a law school dean, with special consideration of the ways the Great Recession and its effects transformed the role of the dean. Part III describes the typical dean search process and evaluates dean diversity statistics to determine which candidates are selected for these powerful roles in today’s law schools. Part IV introduces the concept of implicit bias, specifically focusing on in-group favoritism. Part IV also analyzes the ways implicit biases can manifest in the dean search process, focusing on racial, gender, socioeconomic, and sexual orientation biases. Finally, Part V suggests recommendations to minimize implicit bias on the part of dean search committees, and offers new and creative ways to change the traditional dean search process.

November 5, 2018 in Equal Employment, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lawsuits Against Harvard and NYU Law Reviews Allege Illegal Racial and Gender Preferences for Editors and Articles Harm White Men

Suits Against Harvard and NYU Law Reviews Claim Racial Gender Preferences

A Texas-based group called Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences (FASORP) sued the Harvard Law Review on Oct. 6 and the New York University Law Review on Sunday, claiming that their racial and gender preference policies violate federal anti-discrimination laws. The lawsuits come at a time when law reviews—the traditional bastion of white males—are celebrating the increased diversity of their membership ranks. Harvard Law School, for example, had its first black women editor-in-chief in 2017. The Columbia Law Review has its first black male editor-in-chief ever this year.***

 

The new suits allege that policies at both law reviews violate the rights of students by giving women and minorities an unlawful advantage in getting onto those sought-after organizations. Moreover, the suits allege policies that give a preference to articles written by women and minority scholars violate the rights of others hoping to place articles there.

 

“Harvard Law School and Harvard University are violating Title VI and Title IX by allowing the Harvard Law Review to use race and sex preferences when selecting its members, editors, and articles—in direct contravention of the Law School’s supposed non-discrimination policy,” read the Harvard Law Review suit.

October 9, 2018 in Education, Gender, Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

CFP Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at Law & Society

Call for Papers:  Sunday September 16 Deadline 

The Feminist Legal Theory
Collaborative Research Network
 

Seeks submissions for the  

Law and Society Association Annual Meeting 

May 30 – June 2, 2019 in Washington, D.C., USA

Dear friends and colleagues,  

We invite your participation in the panels organized and sponsored by the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network (FLT-CRN) at the Law and Society Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. May 30 – June 2, 2019.  The Feminist Legal Theory CRN brings together 
law and society scholars across a range of fields who share an interest in feminist legal theory.  Information about the Law and Society meeting is available at http://www.lawandsociety.org.  We seek proposals that explore feminist legal theory across any substantive area. 

If you would like to present a paper as part of a CRN panel, submit your 500 word abstract here by the deadline of Sunday, September 16, 2018.  

 

You must also sign up to join the FLT-CRN Slack page by September 16, 2018 (information on Slack is included at the end of this letter).  We are migrating from TWEN to Slack, which is a user-friendly and free platform that will allow those in our community who do not have access to TWEN to participate. 

 

Our goal is to stimulate focused discussion of papers on which scholars are currently working.  While you may submit papers that are closer to publication, we are particularly eager to receive proposals for works-in-progress that are at an earlier stage and will benefit from the discussion that the panels will provide.  We are also interested in hearing from junior scholars, and welcome submissions from scholars in VAPs, fellowship programs, non-tenure and pre-tenure positions.  Furthermore, because the LSA meeting attracts scholars from other disciplines, we welcome multidisciplinary proposals. 

The Planning Committee will group accepted papers into panels of four, based on subject 

matter.  Each invited presenter will commit to presenting for no more than 10 minutes to allow ample time for discussion consistent with the FLT-CRN norms and expectations.  A chair or discussant will provide feedback on each paper.  If you would like to propose a pre-formed panel of four papers with a chair, please message us on Slack or email fltcrn2019@gmail.com.

In addition to traditional panels, we are open to some of the other formats that the LSA allows; including Author meets Reader, Salon, or Roundtable. If you have an idea that you think would work well in one of these formats, please email us at the addresses above.  Please note that for roundtables, organizers must provide a 500-word summary of the topic and the contributions they expect the proposed participants to make. Please also note that LSA rules limit you to participating only once, either as a paper panelist or as a roundtable participant. 

 
As a condition of participating as a Feminist Legal Theory CRN panelist, you must agree to also serve as a discussant or discussant/chair for another Feminist Legal Theory CRN panel.  This requirement helps us to create and sustain a supportive community of scholars.  We will take into account expertise and topic preferences. 

Chairs organize the panel, as well as moderate.  Chairs will develop a 100-250 word description for the session and submit the session proposal to LSA before the anticipated deadline of mid-October.  This will ensure that each panelist can submit their proposal, using the panel number assigned. 

 

Discussants read at least one paper assigned to them and prepare a short commentary to offer feedback and serve as a basis for discussion among the panelist and audience members.   

Proposals are due Sunday, Sept. 16th to https://form.jotform.com/82105470592959.  All Feminist Legal Theory CRN participants must also sign up for Slack by September 16th in order to access information and papers for the conference, even if you are not submitting a proposal (instructions for Slack below).  

 

For proposal submissions, the Jotform requires the following information:  

  • The title of your proposal;
  • A 500 word abstract or summary; 
  • Your name and title;
  • Number of years you have been a law teacher/scholar;
  • Your areas of interest and expertise within feminist legal theory;
  • Whether this paper is part of a group of papers submitted together as a pre- formed panel.  

This information will permit us to organize panels and submit them prior to the LSA’s anticipated deadline in mid-October. In the past, we have accommodated as many panelists as possible, but have been unable to accept all proposals.  If we are unable to accept your proposal for the CRN, we will notify you by early October so that you can submit your proposal independently to LSA. 

We hope you will join us in Washington, D.C. to share your current scholarship and connect with this vibrant community of feminist legal theorists. 

Warm regards, 

2019 LSA Feminist Legal Theory CRN Planning Committee 

Maya Manian & Jamie Abrams (Co-Chairs); Ayelet Blecher-Prigat; Yael Braudo (Chief Technology Officer); Daniela Kraiem (Washington, D.C. local host liaison); Seema Mohapatra (2018 co-chair liaison); Eylem Umit; Dara Purvis; Jordan Woods

How to sign up for Slack:  


Effective September 16th, we are moving to Slack for all of our CRN communications.  We will no longer use the longstanding TWEN platform after that date.  Slack is a messaging app where we can talk, share files, and work together.  To join our workspace on Slack, please follow this link: https://join.slack.com/t/fltcrn2019/shared_invite/enQtMzk2NjMyNTY5NTU4LWY2ZjgwNGFhY2ZjZWJmMmY1N2M1ZmI0N2JiY2FhZTQ3NmRhNDZiMDE1YmUwN2VhYzlmYWFiMWU3OGY5MTY0OWY

Why are we moving to Slack?

We want to use the best communication tools to make our lives easier and be more productive. Having everything in one place will help us work together better and faster, rather than jumping around between emails, IMs, texts and a bunch of other programs. Everything you share in Slack is automatically indexed and archived, creating a searchable archive of all our work.  This platform is more accessible to scholars throughout the world and at different stages of their careers. 

Here’s what Slack can help us with:

  • Communicating transparently across the CRN 
  • Quicker feedback and better decision making
  • Easy access to information, documents, and files – all papers that are accepted will be available for every CRN member who joins our Slack workspace.
  • After constructing all panels, each panel will have a separate channel in which the panelists and chair will be able to discuss all details, share drafts, etc.

Please register with Slack by September 16th to ensure continuous access to all updates and communications regarding future events and programs. 

August 29, 2018 in Call for Papers, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Most Cited Women in American Legal Scholarship

I really resist rankings and other attempts to impose hierarchy (reflecting some of the broader takeaways from feminist legal theory), but . . . here weighed in favor of recognizing these women for their work.

Jack Balkin, The Most Cited Women in American Legal Scholarship

 

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2018

1

Reva Siegel

Yale University

1340

62

2

Michelle Alexander

Union Theological Seminary

1030

50

3

Judith Resnik

Yale University

1000

68

4

Deborah Rhode

Stanford University

980

66

5

Martha Nussbaum

University of Chicago

930

71

6

Lee Epstein

Washington University, St. Louis

840

60

7

Martha Minow

Harvard University

820

63

8

Jody Freeman

Harvard University

800

54

9

Catharine MacKinnon

University of Michigan

780

71

10

Rachel Barkow

New York University

775

47

11

Kimberle Crenshaw

Columbia University

710

59

12

Pamela Karlan

Stanford University

670

59

13

Oona Hathaway

Yale University

660

45

14

Heather Gerken

Yale University

650

49

15-T

Pamela Samuelson

University of California-Berkeley

640

69

15-T

Rochelle Dreyfuss

New York University

640

71

15-T

Carol Rose

Yale University/Arizona

640

78

18

Jill Fisch

 

University of Pennsylvania

625

58

19

Julie Cohen

Georgetown University

620

54

20-T

Lisa Bressman

Vanderbilt University

615

52

20-T

Gillian Metzger

Columbia University

615

53

22-T

Roberta Romano

Yale University

580

66

22-T

Abbe Gluck

Yale University

580

43

22-T

Dorothy Roberts

University of Pennsylvania

580

62

25

Christine Jolls

Yale University

560

51

26-T

Danielle Keats Citron

University of Maryland

550

49

26-T

Rebecca Tushnet

Harvard University

550

45

28

Carol Steiker

Harvard University

530

60

29-T

Robin West

Georgetown University

520

64

29-T

Elizabeth Scott

Columbia University

520

73

29-T

Martha Fineman

Emory University

520

68

32

Naomi Cahn

George Washington University

500

60

August 27, 2018 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Students Brainstorm How to Change the World on Law & Gender

Melissa Berger, Inspirational Office Art

Each law student was provided with two index cards.  One was entitled ACTION ITEM and the other was entitled TAKE-AWAY. The students were asked to complete the cards in their own handwriting and in their own words. I explained to the students that the cards would be placed onto a poster that would hang in my office. The Action Item was to describe a concrete step forward in the area of Gender Equality that the students hoped we could achieve. I had them tie this action item to their specific research and final paper in the class. If the goal had been achieved by the next time they saw the poster, they could remove the card from the board.  (Cards were taped loosely with decorative metallic tape). The Take-Away item was to describe what each student would take away from the course and hopefully pass forward.

 

Once the cards were completed, I had the students bring the cards to our last class. For this class, I reserved a free conference room in the back of a nearby coffee and bagel shop. My (mostly, but not entirely female) students apparently had named this our “Empowerment Brunch.”

 

I had each law student “present” their cards and tape the cards onto a black poster board. The end result was an inspirational poster board that the students can re-visit whenever they visit their alma mater.

 

Ahead of class, I had explained to the students in an email:  “During this class, we will engage in a BRAINSTORMING SESSION about how to CHANGE THE WORLD. To that end, please bring with you your two INDEX CARDS filled out in advance. Remember the TAKE-AWAY card is what will you take away from this course (perhaps from the readings, the presentations, the classes, other).  What will you take with you for years to come (and perhaps pass forward)? Remember the ACTION ITEM card is based upon the research you conducted this semester – what do you hope we can accomplish specifically?  What is the one action item that could solve or ameliorate your legal dilemma/question?

 

I will make up a poster board with our cards and other graphics and keep it on display in my office.   In future years, when you come visit me—perhaps we will see real progress on some of these action items. After a semester of heavy coursework, let’s stay positive and push this ball forward. We are all relying on YOUR GENERATION to change how the law treats gender going forward.”

 

Some of the students’ Action items would likely actualize in the near future, such as “Get three people a year to watch a women’s sports events.” Others were loftier, but so important to articulate: “I want to dedicate my legal career to public service to help women, transgender and non-gender conforming individuals to gain full equality under the law.”

 

In terms of the Take-Aways, the cards were varied and proved quite moving as well, such as: “The law touches nearly every aspect of women’s lives,” and “Discussion about equality promotes equality.”

 

It was a terrific final class full of motivating conversation and plenty of dreaming. This poster proudly hangs in my office and still inspires me today

June 11, 2018 in Education, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

CFP The Legal Consequences of Living a Long Life: The Differential Impact on Marginalized Communities

 Call for Proposals for the Section on Aging program at the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting, which the Section on Women in Legal Education is pleased to co-sponsor: 

The Legal Consequences of Living a Long Life: The Differential Impact on Marginalized Communities

Thanks to advances in health care people are living longer.  Longevity has legal consequences.  People can outlive their family, friends, and finances. Longevity has differing impacts for women, people of color, low-income people, and LGBT individuals. Statistically, women make less money than men and they live longer than men. People of color are less financially secure than Americans as a whole. In the United States, approximately 80 percent of long-term care for older people is provided by family members, such as spouses, children, and other relatives. This places an undue financial burden on low-income persons. LGBT individuals may face conscious and unconscious discrimination when seeking long-term care and other assistance, and they have historically formed various kinds of family structures.  This panel will explore the intersection of the legal system and longevity, examining systems that are in place or should be in place to help people plan for living longer. Topics might include: paying family caregivers, working conditions of nursing home assistants, and differential patterns of wealth accumulation. This call for paper seeks authors of published or unpublished papers that consider law and longevity. 

Please submit a 1 or 2 page proposal to Naomi Cahn, Secretary of the Section, at ncahn@law.gwu.edu by May 1, 2018. The Executive Committee will review all submissions and select proposals for presentation as a part of our AALS 2019 Program.  Presenters may have the opportunity to publish their paper in the Journal of Health Law and Policy at Cleveland State University. 

The program is co-sponsored by the following sections:  Family and Juvenile Law; Minority Group; Trusts & Estates;  and Women in Legal Education  

April 4, 2018 in Call for Papers, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Catharine MacKinnon and Gretchen Carlson Talk Sexual Harassment

Catharine MacKinnon and Gretchen Carlson Have Few Things to Say

Sexual harassment “was not considered anything you could do something about — that the law could help you do something about — until a book was written by a then-young woman named Kitty MacKinnon,” the Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said at the Sundance Film Festival in January. She was there to attend the premiere of the documentary “RBG,” which will be released this spring. And the book, “Sexual Harassment of Working Women,” published in 1979, argued that sexual harassment in the workplace is sex discrimination and prohibited by equal protection laws.

 

“It was a revelation,” Justice Ginsburg said. “And it was the beginning of a field that didn’t exist until then.”

 

The Supreme Court agreed with Catharine A. MacKinnon. In its first case involving sexual harassment in 1986, with Ms. MacKinnon as co-counsel, the court ruled unanimously that sexual harassment is sex discrimination.

 

For over 40 years, Ms. MacKinnon, 71, has been a pioneer and lightning rod for sex equality. Along with her work on sexual harassment, she has argued, more controversially, that pornography and prostitution constitute sexual abuse of women in the context of social inequality.

 

Ms. MacKinnon now teaches law at the University of Michigan and Harvard. (In 1990, I studied with her, in a class called “Sex Equality,” when she was a visiting professor at Yale Law School.) Her most recent book, “Butterfly Politics,” surveys her four decades of activism.

 

Last month, she met Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor who, more recently, became a public face of sexual harassment. In July 2016, Ms. Carlson sued Roger Ailes, then chairman and chief executive of Fox News, claiming sexual harassment. After dozens of women came forward with their own accounts of harassment by Mr. Ailes, he was forced to resign.

 

Two months later, 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, settled Ms. Carlson’s harassment claim for $20 million and issued a rare public apology for her mistreatment. (Mr. Ailes died in May.)

 

Ms. Carlson, 51, is the author of the best-selling book “Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back.” A former Miss America, she was named chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors in January.

The article includes an in-depth interview with both women.

March 19, 2018 in Law schools, Violence Against Women, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Getting Rid of Student Evaluations due to Proven Gender Bias

Kristina Mitchell, Student Evaluations Can’t Be Used to Assess Professors .

Our research shows they're biased against women.  That means using them is illegal.

***

new study I published with my co-author examines gender bias in student evaluations. We looked at the content of the comments in both the formal in-class student evaluations for his courses as compared to mine as well as the informal comments we received on the popular website Rate My Professors. We found that a male professor was more likely to receive comments about his qualification and competence, and that refer to him as “professor.” We also found that a female professor was more likely to receive comments that mention her personality and her appearance, and that refer to her as a “teacher.”

 

The comments weren’t the only part of the evaluation process we examined. We also looked at the ordinal scale ratings of a man and a woman teaching identical online courses. Even though the male professor’s identical online course had a lower average final grade than the woman’s course, the man received higher evaluation scores on almost every question and in almost every category.

 

This is frustrating, perhaps more so given that we certainly are not the first study to look at the ways that student evaluations are biased against female professors. But we might be among the first to make the case explicitly that the use of student evaluations in hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions represents a discrimination issue. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission exists to enforce the laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee based on sex. If the criteria for hiring and promoting faculty members is based on a metric that is inherently biased against women, is it not a form of discrimination?

 

It’s not just women who are suffering, either. My newest work looks at the relationship between race, gender, and evaluation scores (initial findings show that the only predictor of evaluations is whether a faculty member is a minority and/or a woman), and other work has looked at the relationship between those who have accented English and interpersonal evaluation scores. Repeated studies are demonstrating that evaluation scores are biased in favor of white, cisgender, American-born men.

 

This is not to say we should never evaluate teachers. Certainly, we can explore alternate methods of evaluating teaching effectiveness. We could use peer evaluations (though they might be subject to the same bias against women), self-evaluation, portfolios, or even simply weigh the evaluation scores given to women by 0.4 points, if that is found to be the average difference between men and women across disciplines and institutions. But until we’ve found a way to measure teaching effectiveness that isn’t biased against women, we simply cannot use teaching evaluations in any employment decisions in higher education.

March 19, 2018 in Education, Equal Employment, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 16, 2018

What Does Dressing Professionally Mean for Women of Color

Priya-Alika Elias, What Does Dressing "Professionally" Mean for Women of Color?

The schools did give us certain guidelines. . . . But generally, they avoided specific rules. “Be discreet,” they said. “Dress professionally, like the older lawyers do. Blend in.”

 

When you’re a woman of color, that’s almost impossible. You learn quickly that your body is hypervisible, because it is probably the only one of its kind in the courtroom. You are constantly among men, white men, who notice how different you look from the usual faces they see. And because you’re hypervisible, you are subject to the harshest, most unforgiving scrutiny. Does that girl belong here? What is she doing here? they wonder. And when they wonder, they seize upon the easiest thing to criticize, the first thing anybody would notice: the way you’re dressed..... 

 

The selective enforcement of rules continued all through law school. We didn’t get a handbook at my summer internship telling us what to wear: It was left to my supervisors to enforce the dress code. They did it in the most arbitrary fashion; my coworker wasn’t admonished for wearing a white suit to court, but I was sent home again and again to change.

 

Nobody tells you what too much means, in the context of the workplace. They don’t go into detail, because it’s an embarrassing conversation to have with another adult. That reluctance is normal, and it makes employers resort to coded language, like “unprofessional” and “excessive.” Unfortunately, it is this vagueness, this lack of specificity, that is exploited to the detriment of women of color. When you don’t have a clear set of rules to follow, you’re open to the judgment of a subjective authority — often a white male authority. In the eye of that authority, your very presence is a violation.

h/t Sahar Aziza

 

March 16, 2018 in Business, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Law Students Protest Libertarian Feminist Speaker

Campus Speech Protest Draws Call to Discipline Students

The shouting down of Christina Hoff Sommers by students at Lewis and Clark law school during a talk on her brand of feminism has renewed concern about freedom of expression in academic settings.

 

Protesters who disrupted Sommers’ March 5 appearance at an event sponsored by the conservative legal group the Federalist Society should face school and bar discipline, one scholar told Bloomberg Law. Another said their tactics only amplified her ideas, which they opposed.

 

“I think there’s always a tough balance to be drawn between the right of speakers to speak and the right of students to protest,” Tung Yin, a professor at the private Portland, Ore., school who attended the event told Bloomberg Law.

 

The Lewis and Clark incident is one of many controversies involving events hosted by conservative groups that were canceled or disrupted on college and law school campuses. Law schools have not had as many incidents as other campuses, but some Federalist Society events have become a venue for politically charged disputes over speech.

 

Seattle University law school revoked its co-sponsorship of an immigration discussion in October hosted by its chapter of the Federalist Society. Texas Southern University law school soon after canceled a Federalist Society event that was to feature a conservative state representative.

Feminism Critiqued

Sommers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit conservative-leaning think tank, articulates what she calls a “factual feminism” that critiques contemporary feminism. For instance, she challenges the gender wage gap and claims about the prevalence of sex assault on college campuses.Her lecture, “The Closing of the Feminist Mind,” was “an argument for a more judicious, inclusive, freedom-centered feminism,” Sommers told Bloomberg Law by email.

 

At least some of the protesters who interrupted her talk were law students, according to Yin.

 

They chanted that “rape culture is not a myth” and that the gender wage gap “is real,” in a video uploaded to YouTube. They also sang “no platform for fascists.”

 

Janet Steverson, a law professor and dean of diversity and inclusion at the school, asked Sommers to “wrap up” her speech “a couple of” times, Yin said.

 

Sommers said that she was able to give half of her speech, and that most of the student attendees, including progressives, were civil.

 

But she complained in a tweet about Steverson’s interference and said she was “never able to develop” her argument.

 

The speech was intended “to show that there was too little intellectual diversity in gender studies,” and that the “lack of balance has been harmful to the field” and “students who take it too seriously,” Sommers said.

 

“The censorious protesters who shouted me down could be Exhibit A for my thesis,” Sommers said.

 

She told Bloomberg Law that she is a registered Democrat and a moderate “libertarian feminist.”***

 

A better strategy for the protesters would have been to ignore the speech, Anthony Michael Kreis, a law professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law, told Bloomberg Law by telephone.

 

“I really had no idea who” Sommers was before the incident, but “now I know a lot more about her,” which shows that the protests were counterproductive, he said.

Sommers is the author of  Who Stole Feminism? How Women have Betrayed Women (1994) and  Freedom Feminism (2013) on the history of "conservative feminism," and host of the vlog The Factual Feminist.

Sommers' positions and writing have been characterized by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as "equity feminism," a classical-liberal or libertarian feminist perspective which suggests that the main political role of feminism is to ensure the right against coercive interference is not infringed. Sommers has contrasted equity feminism with "victim feminism" and "gender feminism", arguing that modern feminist thought often contains an "irrational hostility to men" and possesses an "inability to take seriously the possibility that the sexes are equal but different."

 

March 8, 2018 in Law schools, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 5, 2018

TBT: What Feminist Pedagogy has Wrought

Zipporah Wiseman, What Feminist Pedagogy has Wrought,  11 American J. Gender, Social Policy & Law 963 (2003)

As the day progressed, and I listened to each of your papers, I was struck more and more by the realization that you are part of a revolution in legal education. When I began teaching in 1973--no, twenty years before that--when I went to law school, what you are doing now was unimaginable. Legal education, in mid-century, in the huge majority of law schools, comprised studying and parsing appellate decisions. A law school class consisted of an authoritarian male in the front of the classroom who led us, the poor hapless students, overwhelmingly male, through a series of questions, usually focused on one student, guiding us to the one right answer. We might be lucky enough to guess the answer. But the professor was the only one who knew it. Thus he (it was always a he) demonstrated how, in his all-wise and all-knowing authority he guided us on the right path to the right answer through the exercise of pure reason.

 
In her book [Battered Women and Feminist Lawmaking (2000)], Liz Schneider describes the model of pedagogy that she, with the assistance of Sarah Buel, initiated in her course on battered women at Harvard Law School in 1991. That course, and the ones all of you teach, are the revolution. The thought that one could teach law as a process of fostering social change and even more radically, change in the lives of women, was a totally foreign notion several decades ago. Significantly, in my view, none of you has spent any time discussing your pedagogical method. That is simply not an issue for you anymore. This is what you do and how you do it. One powerful way is you tell stories. Brenda Smith gave us a wonderful example of feminist pedagogy. I would guess that we will all remember her story long after we have forgotten everything else that has been said here.* * *  You are also changing the culture of law schools as well as the larger culture.
 
And when the day comes when our male colleagues stop calling feminists' courses “soft” law and their own courses “hard” law--which they do with nary a glimmer of self consciousness or awareness of the sexual connotation--then we will have in fact revolutionized the law schools. I have, however, no sense that this, or any other similar characterization of your work, affects your consciousness of what you are doing or achieving, or what you are fighting for or about. Okay. That's their problem.
 
I wanted to tell you that I am walking on cloud nine after listening to all of you. I want to congratulate you and tell you that you have brought a message of hope.

 

March 5, 2018 in Education, Law schools, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

New Women Law Deans

It's that time of year again... New Law Deans time.  I'll start tracking here the new women law deans appointed this cycle.

For last year's list and commentary on the trend to women law deans (sort of), see New Women Law School Deans 2017

 

Kerry Abrams (Vice Provost, Virginia), Duke Law 

Theresa Beiner (Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Arkansas-Little Rock), Arkansas-Little Rock

Wendy Hensel (Associate Dean for Research, Georgia State), Georgia State

Carla Pratt (Associate Dean for Diversity, Penn State Law), Washburn

L. Song Richardson (Interim Dean, Associate Academic Dean, Irvine), UC Irvine

February 14, 2018 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Too Pretty to be a Lawyer

From Guest Blogger Catherine Dunham, Professor of Law, Elon University School of Law 

directory photo of Catherine Dunham

Too Pretty: An Essay

The #MeToo moment is powerful and encouraging to those of us who have worked in uncomfortable environments for years.  In my high school years, there were retail managers who made up reasons to brush behind you as you ran the cash register.  Then, there were the college food service job years which included outright sexual propositions from same age colleagues and groping opportunities disguised as rides home (“let me reach across and get that door for you.”). Fast forward to my first professional environment with new shoes and proper clothes.  I was asked to pick things up, to walk across the room, to sit with older male clients and keep them company as they waited for my boss.  I knew it was creepy but I perceived myself as someone without power.  Also, the men were much older and seemed harmless.  To me, they were sad and unthreatening but, in retrospect, they probably saw themselves as first rate opportunities for a young gal like me.  I spent eight post college years in subordinate professional roles and literally lost count of the times I was propositioned and of the men who made the overtures.  At one particularly low point, a supervisor who positioned himself as my mentor, some 20 years my senior, made a full-scale play for me after months of uncomfortable flirting.  The encounter ended with me saying, “please don’t do this – I need this job.”  Thank goodness, he relented.  I left that encounter thinking I need to get into a better professional position so as not be treated like the Gal Friday, possibly available for anything, for the rest of my career.  So, I went to Law School.  Certainly, after I became a lawyer, this would stop. 

Law school was an oasis in my professional story.  I had great male and female student colleagues and felt respected for my intellect and hard work.  This calm faded as I entered the profession, particularly private practice where I was called upon for coffee runs in depositions when I was the only women in the room.  I was mistaken for a paralegal, a court reporter, a clerk, with one time reprimanded by an out-of-county lawyer who demanded I remain behind the bar as the counsel tables were available only for licensed attorneys.  I was called “honey,” “sweetie,” and “girl” by a person on every rung of the legal professional ladder.  There were also appearance-based comments by judges and jurors and the occasional “you are just too pretty to be a lawyer.”  For the record, I am not that pretty.  I was simply female and young and offered an alternative version of what lawyers in my rural practice area were supposed to look like.  But because I was a young woman, comments on my physical appearance were to be considered compliments. 

I learned to manage this terrain.  I refused coffee runs, openly chastised lawyers who called me “honey,” and responded to the “too pretty” comments with a good Southern comeback like, “thank you – you are much too old to be looking at women my age.”  In fact, my small firm which was all male sans me remains the most gender balanced environment I have ever worked in.  My male superiors were excellent trial lawyers who valued hard work and intelligence without a care about how you looked, who you slept with, and whether you had a life outside of the office.  If you did well, you were celebrated.  If you screwed up, you heard about it and received some direction to keep you from making the same mistake again. The firm environment was fair, which made up for the constant inequities of the rural southern courts where I practiced.  Even so, those years were the time in my life when I was most often a woman among men and I got a glimpse of the ease the permeates a non-diverse world.  The language was not modern but it was not all menacing.  I had grown up with good people who used old-fashioned language to discuss women so learned not to be too quick to judge a gendered, albeit gracious, phrase.

I expected the switch to legal academia to expose me to the Holy Grail of gender equality.  Law professors were progressive and would create and propagate fair and balanced environments.  Wrong.  Twenty years after that first brush up behind the cash register, I was still deciding how to deal with a creep.  The only difference was the creep’s tactics.  Law academia has included being told by a Dean that I should “just go home, take care of my kids, and let my husband pay the bills.”  Another Dean promised to “take care of me” if I followed his lead on voting and retaliated when I did not.  And I once had a student tell me he could not attend my class because it was against his personal beliefs for a man to learn from a woman. I have seen women colleagues painted as “shrill,” “passive,” “too aggressive,” “brash,” and just overall not good enough to play in the big leagues of real law teaching.  I have sat in meetings trying to convince male colleagues that when viewing the teaching evaluations of women (and minority) faculty, particularly those who teach in predominantly male, white schools, you must account for the power differences, understanding that minority teachers do not get the benefit of the doubt.  And I have watched male colleagues protect their territory against female interlopers by appointing themselves the junior female colleague’s unofficial mentor then using that access to offer an ostensibly credible assessment of the junior faculty member to the rest of the faculty.  “I have really worked with her but she just isn’t getting there.” On this point, I have seen male colleagues praised for protecting the quality of instruction and women colleagues criticized for being territorial.  Territorial men are protectors and providers.  Territorial women are like my border collie when the repairman comes; a nasty bitch.

Why do we accept that women will deal with a certain amount of skirt chasing and “boys will be boys” behavior in the workplace?  Because we view men as more and view women as less. Our cultural views come through in our language, public and private, whether we know it or not.  For a woman of my age, raised in the culture of the American South, language was a complicated mix of the sweet and the cruel which offered few guiderails for my journey into professional adulthood. It took years for me to begin to challenge the words used to describe me and other women and the subtext beneath the conscious word choices of my peers.  I must admit that when I was first told I was too pretty for something, it read as a compliment.  It took time for me to understand that words which celebrated physical attractiveness when those traits are not relevant are words that diminish.

I have lovely memories of my Great Uncle holding my hand and telling me I looked like Snow White. However, a father, grandfather, or uncle could show the same affection with other words, words which do not connect physical appearance with value thus confounding those two things in a way that confuses young women on their personal value.  In truth, members of my own family told me I was too pretty to be a lawyer, telegraphing the cultural assumption that attractive women can get husbands so don’t need careers.  These messages sent me off into the world confused about my value and my role.  When our cultural rhetoric focuses on the physical attributes of women, we devalue women and invite the aggressors.  And we are all too pretty for that.

Catherine Dunham is a Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law where she teaches Civil Procedure, Civil Litigation, and Litigation Skills including Trial Practice.  She has also served as a trial analyst for several major news outlets, including NBC and CNN. In addition to procedural topics, Prof. Dunham’s scholarship explores social psychology and legal education, as well as topics related to gender equity and unconscious bias. Prof. Dunham is also prior recipient of the ABA Smyth-Gambrell Award for Teaching Professionalism.

January 10, 2018 in Guest Bloggers, Law schools, Women lawyers, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Meet Tamar Frankel, 92, First Woman Law Professor at Boston U and Intellectual Godmother of the Fiduciary Rule

WSJ, The 92-Year-Old Woman Who is Still Shaking up Wall Street: Law Professor Tamar Frankel is Considered the Intellectual Godmother of the Fiduciary Rule

Ms. Frankel, a law professor at Boston University, is the intellectual godmother of the fiduciary rule, a regulation from the U.S. Department of Labor requiring anyone being paid to provide investment advice on a retirement account to act in the best interest of the client. At the age of 92, Ms. Frankel still commutes to work five days a week, teaches two courses—and is unfazed that the Labor Department announced on Nov. 27 that it would delay implementing key parts of the fiduciary rule until July 2019.

 

After all, Ms. Frankel has been advocating that brokers should put their clients first for more than 40 years. What’s another 18 months?

 

Born in what was then Palestine in 1925, Ms. Frankel joined the Haganah, the paramilitary movement for Israeli independence, at age 14. Her father was the first president of Israel’s bar association, and she apprenticed in his practice. In 1949, she became the first general counsel of the Israeli Air Force. Two years later, when she was 26, her father died, and she took over his law practice.

 

In 1963, Ms. Frankel came to study at Harvard Law School. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on variable annuities, those mashups of mutual funds and insurance.

“That was perfect, because I knew very little about mutual funds and very little about insurance,” she says. “There are two ways you can react to not knowing: one is to feel afraid of your ignorance, the other is to be consumed by the desire to understand. I felt almost drunk with how much I could learn.”

 

In 1968, as she was still studying to complete her dissertation, Ms. Frankel joined Boston University. The field was so male-dominated that, when she arrived as the law school’s first female professor, BU relegated her office to the basement of the library.

 

“I didn’t have to put the books back on the shelf!” she laughs. “The craving for being part of the group, being accepted, that wasn’t my priority.”

***

 

After she turns 93 next July 4, Ms. Frankel says, she will stop teaching—although she will continue to research and write.

 

What accounts for her longevity? “Caring less and less about what other people think,” she says, “and more and more about questions you don’t have answers to.”

 

Frankel

The BU Law Faculty in 1972 when Prof. Frankel was the only woman professor.

December 17, 2017 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Story of the First Woman (also the First Black Woman) Law Professor, Lutie Lytle

Taja-Nia Y. Henderson, "I Shall Talk to My Own People": The Intersectional Life and Times of Lutie A. Lytle, 102 Iowa L. Rev. 1983 (2017).

In the fall of 1898, the Chicago Tribune hailed Lutie A. Lytle of Topeka as the “only female law instructor in the world.” Notwithstanding this purported shattering of the legal academy’s glass ceiling, Lytle’s accomplishments—her path to the professoriate, and her career in the years following her appointment to the faculty of a Nashville law school—have been largely lost to historians of legal education. She is not among those honored or commemorated by our profession, and her name is largely unknown beyond a small circle of interest. The biographical sketch that follows fills this scholarly gap through an examination of Lytle as a historical figure, using contemporary newspaper accounts and other primary source material to provide context for her achievements and linking her life to previously understudied legal, political and social movements.

 

As a genre, biography seeks to use the life of the individual to tell a larger story about the collective. Feminist biography—probably best understood as both subgenre and method—has the same goals, but moves gender “to the center of the analysis.” This methodology asks not only how gender as a social category has impacted the lives of historical actors, but also how the unequal distribution of power resulting from existing gender hierarchies has influenced epistemologies of scholarly inquiry.

 

A biographical sketch of Lutie A. Lytle, a woman coming of age in the second half of the nineteenth century, warrants such treatment. Lytle’s career in the law was certainly impacted by gender as she was among the earliest cadre of women lawyers in the nation. As a student, she was the only woman enrolled in the Law Department of Central Tennessee College. When she was appointed as an instructor at the College, moreover, she was the only woman among the law school’s faculty. As a woman of African descent born during Reconstruction, however, Lytle (and her story) “cannot be captured wholly by” a methodology that moves only gender to the center. The intersection (or overlap) of Lytle’s identities as a woman of color and the daughter of former slaves requires that gender and race (and arguably, status and class) move to the center. In other words, a biographical sketch of Lytle’s life cannot privilege gender in isolation; it must also grapple with the persistence of race, racism, and the myriad legacies of chattel slavery in the subject’s world.

November 17, 2017 in Law schools, Race, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Women's Leadership in Academia at AALS

Monday, August 28, 2017

Prof Julie Suk to Speak on Constitution Day on "The Constitution of Mothers" and a New ERA

The Center for Constitutional Law at the University of Akron School of Law will host Professor Julie Suk as the featured Constitution Day speaker on September 18, 2017.

Professor Suk's talk is entitled "The Constitution of Mothers:  Gender Equality and Social Reproduction in the United States and the World."  

One of the largest mobilizations in recent American history was the Women’s March of 2017, with  millions of participants in U.S. cities and in concurrent events throughout the world.  Despite diverse backgrounds and agendas, the marchers unified around the general theme of equality for women.   It was a constitutional moment:  The unity principles included a call for a new Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and in March 2017, Nevada became the first state to ratify the ERA 35 years after the 1982 deadline had lapsed.  Nevada’s ratification raises questions about the legitimacy of post-deadline ratification of a Congressionally adopted constitutional amendment, as well as deeper normative questions about the desirability and  meaning of constitutionalizing equal rights for women in the 21st century.   If Nevada’s ratification is valid or can be made valid by Congressional action, two additional states’ ratifications will put the ERA in the U.S. Constitution.  Would such an amendment change what the law does, or would it be merely symbolic? 

This lecture will argue that an ERA is needed in the twenty-first century, but for reasons different from those that motivated the 1972 adopters.  Meanwhile, most constitutions around the world explicitly guarantee sex equality, and many of these constitutions also guarantee special protections for mothers.  Drawing on global constitutionalism, this lecture argues that constitutional equality for women must go beyond prohibiting sex distinctions in the law, and reach the disadvantages faced by largely by women due to the burdens of raising the next generation of citizens.  The challenge of making the constitution regulate social reproduction, however, is illustrated by the history of women’s participation in advocating for the Prohibition Amendment and its repeal, both of which engaged the politics of the home and child-rearing.  The legacy of women’s past struggles to change the Constitution, in light of contrasting narratives outside the United States, should inform our present gender equality efforts. 

Full details here:  Download ConLawSpeakerSukF2017

Julie Suk is a Professor of Law at the Cardozo School of Law – Yeshiva University in New York, where she has taught since 2005.  She is a leading scholar of comparative equality law. Her research brings a transnational perspective to equality and antidiscrimination law in the United States, drawing on primary legal materials in multiple languages from multiple jurisdictions.  Professor Suk's articles compare European and American approaches to a broad range of issues in law and public policy, such as the enforcement of antidiscrimination norms in various legal systems around the world, holocaust denial, maternity leave, and women’s equal representation in political and corporate leadership positions.   Professor Suk’s current research projects focus on women, work, and family in comparative constitutional law, as well as education rights in the context of socioeconomic inequality.  Representative publications include: An Equal Rights Amendment for the Twenty-First Century: Bringing Global Constitutionalism Home (Yale Journal of Law and Feminism), Are Gender Stereotypes Bad for Women?  Rethinking Antidiscrimination Law and Work-Family Conflict (Columbia Law Review), Discrimination at Will: Job Security Protections and Equal Employment Opportunity in Conflict (Stanford Law Review), Gender Parity and State Legitimacy: From Public Office to Corporate Boards (International Journal of Constitutional Law). 

 

August 28, 2017 in Conferences, Constitutional, Family, Gender, International, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Additional Law Profs Intervene in Gender Pay Discrimination Suit Agst Denver Law

Duvivier and Sterling (Associate Dean of Faculty Development) Join Lawsuit Alleging Gender Discrimination in Faculty Salaries at Denver Law School

A pay discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of women law professors against the University of Denver by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continues to grow.

 

Two more tenured female law professors are seeking to intervene in the 2016 suit, which alleges that the law school systematically underpaid women on the faculty for years. So far, six women professors claim disparate pay against the law school

 

Professors Joyce Sterling and K.K. DuVivier last week asked a federal judge to join the suit. If allowed, there will be six plaintiffs named in the suit, which the EEOC filed on behalf of longtime professor Lucy Marsh and other female law professors they determined were underpaid after conducting a study of faculty compensation. The university is not opposing their motion to intervene.

 

Each of the named plaintiffs and proposed intervenors were identified by the EEOC as receiving lower compensation than similarly situated male colleagues, and all six still work at the law school. ...

 

The pay dispute began in 2013 when Marsh approached then-dean Martin Katz to discuss discrepancies in faculty compensation. A 2012 memo from Katz disclosed that the average salary for women professors was nearly $16,000 less than that of men. Marsh then learned that she was the lowest paid full law professor on the faculty, despite having taught at the law school since 1976. She earned $16,800 in her first year of teaching, according to court filings, and in 2016 earned a salary of nearly $116,000. ...

 

Marsh was the first to intervene in the suit, in January. Professors Nancy Ehrenreich , Kris McDaniel-Miccio and Catherine Smith joined the suit in June.

August 24, 2017 in Equal Employment, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Modern Pedagogical Challenges (and Opportunities) in Teaching Gender Courses

 

We welcome Professor Jamie Abrams to the Gender & Law Prof Blog for the month of July. She is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law where she teaches Torts, Family Law, Legislation, and Women and the Law. Her research focuses on reproductive and birthing decision-making, gendered citizenship, legal protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence, and legal education pedagogy. Professor Abrams' most recent work includes Debunking the Myth of Universal Male Privilege, in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, and The Feminist Case for Acknowledging Women’s Acts of Violence in the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism

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As law schools are implementing the new ABA Standards, these standards call for more formative assessment throughout the semester and at least six credits of experiential learning courses.  When these revised standards were initially proposed and the drafters sought feedback, the proposed standards raised a flurry of critiques relating to academic freedom, resource strains, and existing competencies in implementation.  After adoption, a responsive and helpful series of conferences, listserv posts, and scholarly activities emerged to address concerns and critiques. 

In a recent article titled Experiential Learning in the Era of Donald Trump published in the Duquesne Law Review, however, I highlight one concern that was missing from the initial debate and discussion surrounding successful implementation of these assessment and experiential requirements.  The missing component was the political peril (and opportunity) that faculty would face in implementing these requirements in the context of political divisiveness and discord.  Law schools are notably implementing these pedagogical reforms in a time of great political division.  From the divisive presidential election, to police-community relations, to a worldwide refugee crisis, political discourse is contentious, polarized, and fraught with both risk and opportunity.  University campuses have particularly been the sites of difficult discussions about race, politics, gender, and the very role of academic communities in these conversations.  

Students and faculty alike seem less capable than ever to manage these complex dynamics, yet true experiential learning and assessment requires us to move into the “eye of the storm” for courses with politically grounded content.  This includes courses on gender and the law, feminist theory, reproductive rights, legislation, race and the law, sexuality and the law, and many other topics that may be taught by readers of this blog.  How do we as educators simulate for students a real-world lawyering context without stepping on landmines in our reviews, reputations, and careers?  The stakes are high.  In this modern reality, both faculty and students alike may not be comfortable, prepared, or equipped to navigate these challenges without savvy techniques and methods.  This is further complicated when layered on the reality that well-documented gender bias already sits in student and faculty evaluation systems.  

This is a pedagogical conversation that gender faculty should lead and engage.  In the article, I preliminarily identify three components to a modern experiential learning course addressing topics of political relevance, such as gender and the law courses: (1) student-driven content, instead of faculty-driven content; (2) consistent and holistic student engagement, instead of sporadic or sequential engagement; and (3) vertically and horizontally structured feedback.  Critically though, neither the underlying article nor this blog post pretend to have the answers to these questions, but rather, they hope to spark ongoing discussion and idea-sharing.  We also have an opportunity in front of us to transform our students into thoughtful problem-solvers and savvy lawyers while advancing the pedagogy of gender courses in tough political times.

July 14, 2017 in Education, Gender, Guest Bloggers, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)