Monday, November 6, 2023
The National Native American Bar Association has published "Excluded & Alone: Examining the Experiences of Native American Women in the Law and a Path Towards Equity." Read the full report here. It is a powerful call to action for all.
The study explores Native American women attorneys' journeys and experiences in the legal profession. Their personal stories include feelings of isolation and, at times, instances of painful harassment. The report concludes with a detailed Call to Action for legal professionals, including individuals, law schools, bar associations, policy advocates, employers, and philanthropic organizations, urging efforts to:
- Learn about Native American women's experiences, needs, and challenges
- Commit to sustained allyship and be an advocate
- Take deliberate and tangible supportive action
The Report recommends the following concrete actions:
- Do not relegate Native American women to meaningless footnotes in research studies. * * *
- Continue to support and expand pre-law programs to encourage Native Americans to consider and get admitted into law school. * * *
- Train law school faculty and administration on the needs of Native American students, especially Native American women. Faculty need to be trained on how to integrate Federal Indian Law and Tribal Law into all aspects of the law school curriculum. Faculty also need to be trained on how to be more inclusive of Native American students’ voices in the classroom. * * *
- Ensure inclusive mental health support services for Native American students in law schools. There is currently a dearth of mental health support services for Native American law students, which affects these students’ abilities to survive and thrive in law school.
- Improve data collection and communication on where Native American lawyers are working and how they advance within various workplaces. The lack of information on where Native American lawyers are working and how they are advancing in various workplaces makes it harder for younger Native American lawyers to chart their career paths. The lack of information also makes it more difficult for bar organizations and other groups to know where to best intervene and how to resource the various interventions.
- Integrate information about inclusion of Native Americans into all diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings conducted by bar associations, judicial organizations, and other groups. There is currently inadequate mention of inclusion of Native Americans, and this allows for derogatory and racist terms to continue to be used in the legal profession, in law schools, and even in courtrooms. More non-Native Americans will be comfortable stepping up as allies for Native American lawyers if they get the information and skills that they aren’t currently getting.
- Create cross-generational mentoring circles for Native American women that cut across geographical boundaries and practice areas. There aren’t enough ways in which Native American women can make substantive connections with each other, and these connections are necessary for the long-term wellness and success of Native American women in the legal profession. This can be the foundation on which further mentoring is built, but general mentoring, even in a strong community of Native American women, cannot do much about the isolation and exhaustion that currently exists.
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
The Center for Constitutional Law at The University of Akron School of Law held its annual conference on Oct. 13. This year’s theme was Gender, Health and the Constitution. The Center is one of four national resource centers established by Congress, along with Drake University, Howard University and the University of South Carolina, to support research and public education on issues of constitutional law. It includes five faculty fellows, student fellowships, a J.D. certificate program and an online journal, ConLawNOW.
“Speakers at this year’s conference all agreed on the need for attention to these issues of gender discrimination in the health care context,” said Akron Law Professor and Con Law Center Director Tracy Thomas. “The 20 featured panelists included national scholars and local practitioners in both law and medicine who provided a broad range of expertise from theoretical to practical implications.”
Those attending the conference included judges, attorneys, academics, students and members of the community interested in learning more about these emerging issues. Akron Law faculty Bernadette Bollas Genetin, Mike Gentithes, Dr. George Horvath and Brant Lee moderated the panels.
The first topic was reproductive rights and the profound legal and medical changes since the U.S. Supreme Court’s invalidation of the long-recognized fundamental right to reproductive choice. Maya Manian, director of the Health Law and Policy Program at American University, recommended a new theoretical approach grounded in health justice. Dr. Allison Kreiner, medical analyst with Plakas Mannos, revealed the stark detriment of the invalidation to patients in practice. Legal scholars Naomi Cahn from the University of Virginia, Tiffany Graham from Touro Law and Sonja Sutter from George Washington University discussed applications in the contexts of minors’ rights and assisted reproduction.
The second panel turned to the topic of gender identity. Panelists spoke about recent bans on gender-affirming care, the history and meaning of gender identity, and new laws prohibiting transgender girls from participating in sports. Noted national legal scholars speaking on gender identity included Deborah Brake from the University of Pittsburgh, Noa Ben-Asher from St. John’s University, Jennifer Bard from the University of Cincinnati, Susan Keller from Western State University and Dara Purvis from Penn State University.
The next panel discussion focused on bias in medical science and the ways in which medical science excludes women in research, resulting in significant negative physical effects. Panelists diagnosed existing problems and suggested preventive measures. These legal experts on medical science included former Akron Law Professor Jane Moriarty, now at Duquesne University; Jennifer Oliva from Indiana University; and Aziza Ahmed from Boston University. Dr. Rachel Bracken from Northeast Ohio Medical University also presented.
The final panel of the day focused on the broader meanings and implications of medical autonomy. Professor Thomas discussed Ohio’s unique health care freedom constitutional amendment and how it might apply to reproductive freedom. Abby Moncrieff, co-director of the Health Law Center at Cleveland State University, considered the theoretical neutrality bases of medical autonomy and how they applied to several of the emerging legal issues discussed at the conference, including gender-affirming care and reproductive rights. Attorneys Marie Curry from Legal Aid and Megan Franz Oldham ’05, partner at Plakas Mannos, discussed how these issues from daily medical practice. Oldham addressed how medical malpractice claims arise when physicians discount women patient’s reported symptoms. Curry shared information about racial impacts and discrimination in pregnancy care, and alternative patient-centered approaches to redress these concerns.
Many papers presented at the conference will be published in the Spring symposium of ConLawNOW.
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
Lauren Gilbert, To Procreate or not to Procreate: A Right to Self-Determination, Human Flourishing: The End of Law, Forthcoming
Real stories of pregnant women, past and present, shed light on how our laws have evolved to ensure greater recognition of a woman’s fundamental right to reproductive and family autonomy. Today, these rights are in jeopardy. The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center overturning the abortion right frames the issue in terms of the states’ interest in protecting human life; yet the implications for women’s health and human dignity are ignored. I look at several case studies implicating reproductive rights from 1924 to now. I then address Dobbs, concluding that the decision, by focusing on 1868 when women were excluded from the political process, disregards developments in women’s rights in the 20th century, defines fundamental rights too narrowly and ignores evidence of animus towards women seeking to control their reproductive destinies.
In Part I, I briefly review the common law history and treatment of unwed motherhood. In Part II, I recount some less well-known but illuminating details of the family history of Carrie Buck, who was forcibly sterilized in Virginia after the Supreme Court’s 1927 decision in Buck v. Bell. In Part III, I discuss the case of Anna Buck, who, to preserve her place in her community, hid her pregnancy and gave her baby, the bastard daughter of my great-grandfather, up for adoption. In Part IV, I tell my own story of single motherhood and the choices I made, including my own decision to have an abortion while I was living in Costa Rica, where abortions were illegal. In Part V, I discuss the Dobbs decision, and how its formalistic due process and equal protection analyses are compartmentalized so as to read out of existence any potential violations of a pregnant woman’s rights.
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Deborah Zalesne, Gender Inequality in Contracts Casebooks: Representations of Women in the Contracts Curriculum, 17 FIU Law Rev. 139 (2023).
Gender has always explicitly or implicitly played a critical role in contracting and in contracts opinions—from the early nineteenth century, when married women lacked the legal capacity altogether to contract, through the next century, when women gained the right to contract but continued to lack bargaining power and to be disadvantaged in the bargaining process in many cases, to today, when women are present in greater numbers in business and commerce, but face continued, yet less overt, obstacles. Typical casebooks provide ample offerings for discussions of the ways in which parties can be and have been disadvantaged because of their gender and gender identity. At the core, gender inequity often stems from long-held stereotypes about women in contracting, which are often on full display in the cases. The vast majority of cases in the typical Contracts casebook are drawn primarily from the commercial context; sales, franchise, employment, and transfer of property cases predominate most Contracts casebooks, with many fewer cases in the family context. In the commercial cases, women and other people who do not identify as men, rarely seen as the businessperson, seller, or landowner, are sorely underrepresented, and the “non-male” perspective tends to be obscured. Casebook offerings involving non-male parties still tend to be clustered in certain areas—namely contract defenses, promissory estoppel, and family cases. The result is a Contracts curriculum that typically confines women to certain traditional roles and relegates women’s issues to a secondary status, privileging rational, arms-length market promises at the expense of family-based promises. The overall gender allocation in cases may or may not be reflective of the actual presence of women in the universe of American contracts cases. But either way, it raises some issues regarding how the typical casebook presents women in the realm of contracts cases, and overall, the role of women in contracting. There is, of course, a diversity of viewpoints and a multiplicity of voices among women and feminists, who are divided by age, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, and class, among other things. There are divisions among feminists over the nature and source of gender injustice, as well as over solutions.2 Feminists differ, for example, over the roles of men and women (such as biological differences and cultural frameworks that land women as the primary caretakers most of the time), and whether and how the law should account for those differences.3 When it comes to contract law, some feminists embrace contracting as a means of empowerment,4 while others express concern over whether most women have the bargaining power necessary to protect themselves in the bargaining process. 5 The goal of the Article is not to set out in any detail the contours and fine points of feminist legal theory. Rather, the Article will simply highlight gender-based deficiencies in the ways in which women are portrayed in traditional contracts cases and casebooks, often as either victims, overly-aggressive commercial actors, or in other specific gendered roles such as bride, princess, nurturer, mother, spouse, or mistress. In doing so, the Article will highlight feminist themes and conflicts in contract law and the ways in which reliance on gender-based stereotypes can negatively affect legal analysis in Contracts cases.
Monday, July 3, 2023
Aliza Shatzman has published The Clerkship Whisper Network: What it is, Why it's Broken, and How to Fix it" in Volume 123 of the Columbia Law Review Forum. The abstract provides:
Judicial clerkships are typically described in the rosiest of terms—as fostering lifelong mentor-mentee relationships between judges and clerks and conferring only professional benefits. The downsides of clerking are rarely discussed. The clerkship application process is opaque. Little information exists to help law students identify positive work environments and avoid judges who mistreat their clerks. The secretive, fear-infused method of information-sharing is known as the clerkships “whisper network.” Information about judges who mistreat their clerks is often not shared by those who possess it, including law school professors, deans, clerkship directors, and former clerks, with those who need it— students and recent alumni.
This Piece argues for democratizing information about judges and clerkship experiences in order to correct the lack of transparency in the clerkship application process that causes too many new attorneys each year to enter unsafe work environments. Through a Centralized Clerkships Database, where law clerk alumni from every law school can share their experiences with students considering clerkships, law students will have as much information as possible before making important career decisions. This initiative empowers historically marginalized groups to pursue judicial clerkships, thereby diversifying not just judicial chambers but also the upper echelons of the legal profession. Transparency benefits law students, law clerks, law schools, judges—and in this way, the entire profession.
With regard to the mistreatment of clerks, Shatzman writes:
Mistreatment covers everything from rude, sexist, or racist comments; to yelling or throwing things in chambers; to otherwise legally actionable gender discrimination and harassment, were the judiciary not exempt from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Anecdotally, these problematic behaviors are pervasive and unaddressed in both the state and federal courts. The dearth of data in this space allows judges to get away with misconduct and enables judiciary leadership to disclaim responsibility for problematic behaviors within their ranks. Until recently, the federal judiciary had been unwilling to even conduct a workplace culture assessment to survey judiciary employees about workplace climate. Even now, judiciary leadership, including the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and the Judicial Conference of the United States, have not committed to publicly reporting the results of their planned workplace assessment—an enormous red flag.
Friday, June 23, 2023
The AALS Section on Women in Legal Education is pleased to announce a call for proposals for the 2024 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. (January 3-6, 2024).
The ABA Council on Legal Education has recently promulgated the revised accreditation Standard 303(b), focusing on the development of professional identity. The Section on Women in Legal Education invites proposals that explore the revised Standard by examining the relationship between professional identity formation and feminism, especially those which take an intersectional perspective and engage with the manner in which Standards 303(b) and 303(c) are in conversation with each other.
We encourage proposals that cover a range of issues related to this topic, including but not limited to the following: (1) the manner in which such concerns are infused through doctrinal and experiential curricula; (2) efforts to map key pedagogical goals across the entire curriculum; (3) the training that faculties are receiving (or should be receiving) to improve student learning as it relates to gender equity and professional identity formation; (4) how institutional choices regarding curricular delivery and the potential for cross-institutional collaboration can have an impact on the effectiveness of student learning; (5) the challenges presented by the effort to shape students' professional identities in the midst of controversial political settings; and crucially, (6) how "values, guiding principles, and well-being practices" – as referenced in Interpretation 303-5 – shape this conversation, especially as they relate to the commitment of the profession to gender equity and equality. What is the toolkit that institutions need during this moment of change? The ultimate goal of the Standard is to prepare students as well as possible to meet the challenges of the current and future moments, and this panel will use the lens provided by feminist concerns to engage the possibilities for achieving that objective.
Full-time faculty members of AALS member and fee-paid law schools are eligible to submit proposals. Visiting faculty (not full-time on a different faculty) and fellows are also eligible to apply to present at this session.
Proposals should be no more than 500 words in length.
To be considered, proposals should be emailed to Professor Tiffany C. Graham at [email protected] no later than Friday, August 4, 2023. Selected presenters will be announced by Friday, September 8, 2023. The panelists who are chosen will be responsible for paying their own AALS registration fee, hotel, and travel expenses. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Tiffany Graham at your convenience
Thursday, June 15, 2023
Call for Proposals for 2024 AALS Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues Pedagogy Program: "The Challenges of Teaching in a Time of Rising LGBTQ Hostility"
Over the past couple of years, states throughout the country have passed a series of increasingly extreme restrictions on LGBTQ people, from prohibiting gender-affirming care for transgender people to attempting to prohibit discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. Institutions of higher education are also the subject of legislation claiming to eliminate critical race theory, queer theory, and other points of view demonized as "woke" or harmful.
Many AALS schools are located in states passing such laws, and professors at those schools are called upon to teach about issues relating to discrimination facing the LGBTQ community when that community is directly under attack. Professors may feel personally threatened or professionally threatened by limits on their academic freedom. The Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues of the Association of American Law Schools will hold a program on pedagogy, "The Challenges of Teaching in a Time of Rising LGBTQ Hostility," to provide space to discuss the challenges arising from these current political changes.
We welcome submissions from law faculty, staff, and administrators at all stages of their careers. Submissions of abstracts of not more than 500 words are due on or before Monday August 7, 2023, and should be sent to Michael Higdon at [email protected]. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Higdon
Call for Proposals for 2024 AALS Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues Main Program: "Legislative Attacks on LGBTQ Equality"
Throughout the United States, members of the LGBTQ community are increasingly threatened by legislation aimed at erasing their identity at best and denying them essential civil rights and protections at worst. Accordingly, the Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues of the Association of American Law Schools is pleased to announce its main program, "Legislative Attacks on LGBTQ Equality" panel, which will be held in person in Washington D.C. in January 2024. We welcome presentations in any stage that examine and consider issues broadly related to these issues. Topics may include bans of gender-affirming care for transgender children and adults, curriculum laws restricting coverage of LGBTQ issues in public schools, access to PrEP and other HIV prevention medications, criminalization of drag performances, etc.
We welcome submissions from law faculty, staff, and administrators at all stages of their careers. Submissions of abstracts of not more than 500 words are due on or before Monday August 7, 2023, and should be sent to Michael Higdon at [email protected]. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Higdon.
Thursday, June 8, 2023
2023 VIRTUAL SUMMER FEMINIST LEGAL THEORY SERIES
Looking Back/Looking Forward: The Significance of Feminist Legal Theory
June 28, 2023 and August 2, 2023
Pre-registration (here) required
Zoom link to be provided 1 day prior to event
This summer, the U.S. Feminist Judgments Project is pleased to host the Summer Feminist Legal Theory Series on June 28, 2023 and August 2, 2023 from 2:00pm-3:45 Eastern/11am-12:45pm Pacific.
Attendees from all parts of the academy with a verified academic email address are welcome to attend with pre-registration. There is no charge to attend. All sessions are held via Zoom.
Session 1 – June 28, 2023, 2:00pm-3:45 Eastern/11am-12:45pm Pacific
Reflecting Back on 40 Years of the Feminism and Legal Theory (FLT) Project: Innovation and Assimilation
This workshop will consider the historic and contemporary significance of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, launched at the University of Wisconsin in 1984.
Chair: Bridget J. Crawford (Pace)
Moderator: Martha Albertson Fineman (Emory)
Panelists: Samuel Burry (Oxford), Deborah Dinner (Cornell), Martha Albertson Fineman (Emory), Risa Lieberwitz (Cornell), Linda McClain (Boston University), Martha McCluskey (Buffalo), Laura Spitz (New Mexico)
Session 2 – August 2, 2023, 2:00pm-3:45 Eastern/11am-12:45pm Pacific
How Feminist Legal Theory Can Make a Difference
In this second session we will look at the Feminist Judgments Project, considering its approach to integrating feminist theory into law by rewriting (and thus critiquing) judicial opinions to reflect feminist principles and methods in major areas of law.
Chair: Kathryn M. Stanchi (UNLV)
Preregistration for all participants (speakers and attendees) is required via this link: https://pace.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYpce2trzojH9yR8jjH3Jjie9yJJxlb9Kow
Zoom log-in information will be sent one day prior to the event. An academic email address is required to pre-register. Anyone without an academic email address who wishes to be added should contact Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) to be added to the registration list: bcrawford at law dot pace dot edu.
All attendees including speakers must register. Attendees need to register only once and then can attend either or both of the sessions in the summer series.
The Summer Feminist Legal Theory Series is co-sponsored by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, together with The Feminism and Legal Theory Project, The Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode, the Family Law Center at the University of Virginia School of Law, and the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education. The series is coordinated by Bridget J. Crawford (Pace), bcrawford at law dot pace dot edu, and Kathy Stanchi (UNLV), kathryn dot stanchi at unlv dot edu.
Friday, June 2, 2023
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Andrea Kupfer Schneider, Carrie Menkel-Meadow: Dispute Resolution in a Feminist Voice, 10 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 151 (Fall 2022)
The presence of women in the law has changed the law’s substance, practice, and process. Carrie Menkel-Meadow, whose scholarship centers on this theme, is one such revolutionary woman.
Professor Menkel-Meadow, who I am proud to call my colleague, co-author, and friend (hereinafter referred to as Carrie), began her career in 1977 with a series of simple questions that sparked a breathtaking body of work. Carrie probed the depth of male domination in the realm of law and wondered what changes female representation might engender. In particular, she focused her inquiry on the value orientation each respective gender might bring to the law: "To what extent are the legal institutions we deal with male-dominated, both in the values they reflect and the manner or means used to express those values? To what extent might the expression of feminine or female values, principles and qualities both in the ends desired and the means used to express those ends alter our legal institutions? How does the increased participation of women in these legal institutions move us toward or away from the realization of feminine values in the law?"
Over 40 years, Carrie elaborated on these questions to develop a thorough and wide-ranging feminist jurisprudence. This Essay attempts to do justice to her work. Part II recapitulates her account of the feminization of the law: the way that feminine values affect the substance of the law; the way that we practice and learn law; and the process of law, especially in the area of Carrie’s other love—dispute resolution. In particular, Carrie used a key narrative to illustrate competing approaches to problem-solving. Spurred by Carol Gilligan’s reanalysis of psychology studies, Carrie dove into the moral dilemmas used in psychology and recast the story of Amy and Jake (where they wrestle over the dilemma of whether to steal drugs to save a life) as a lesson in problem-solving. Throughout her writings, Carrie advocated for a feminine ethic of care to have equal footing with the more traditional (masculine) ethic of justice that has been hallowed in law.
Part III of this Essay uses a different narrative from Carrie’s scholarship to illustrate the application of the feminization of the law. In the case of Ziba—a hypothetical mediation between an underage bride and her controlling husband, Ahmed—we see how Carrie’s own passions for feminism and dispute resolution collide in the mediation process she typically champions. Ultimately, Carrie’s treatment of the case puts into practice the ethic of care developed within her feminist jurisprudence.
Thursday, May 11, 2023
Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
Women, Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award: Call for Submissions
The Elisabeth Haub School of Law is pleased to announce the competition for its annual Women, Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award. This paper competition is open to all having with five (5) or fewer years of full-time law teaching experience as of July 1, 2023. The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2023.
The purpose of the award is to encourage and recognize excellent legal scholarship related to gender and the law. The work chosen for the Women, Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award should make a substantial contribution to legal literature and reflect original research and/or major developments in previously reported research.
Papers will be reviewed on a blind basis by a committee comprised of members of the Haub Law faculty with expertise in this area. The winner of the competition will be invited to present the paper to selected students and faculty at Haub Law (located in White Plains, NY) during the 2023-2024 academic year, with reasonable travel expenses from within the continental U.S. paid, or via Zoom, as circumstances permit and by mutual agreement.
· All persons who have held full-time teaching positions for five (5) or fewer full academic years as of July 1, 2023 are eligible for consideration. One does not have to be on the tenure-track or tenured to be eligible. Time as a VAP or Fellow does not "count against" the five (5) year clock.
· There is no subject-matter limitation for submissions, as long as the paper relates in some way to gender and the law.
· Jointly authored papers are accepted as long as each author independently meets the eligibility requirements.
· There is no publication commitment associated with the competition.
· Papers are eligible regardless of whether they were published prior to submission date, are scheduled to be published after the submission date, or are not yet under submission.
· Each applicant is limited to one (1) entry.
· Papers considered in prior years' competitions are eligible for resubmission.
· There are no page-length or word-count limitations.
· All publications (including scholarly articles, book chapters, legal briefs and other writings) are eligible for consideration.
· We will accept submissions for the Emerging Scholar Award from May 10, 2023, through July 1, 2023. The winner will be announced by August 30, 2023.
· To participate, please email your work, redacted as necessary to preserve anonymity (for the blind judging process), as a portable data file (PDF) to Judy Jaeger, Senior Staff Associate, at [email protected] with the subject line "Emerging Scholar Award."
· Please include in the body of the email your name, institutional affiliation and confirmation that you meet the eligibility requirements.
· Unredacted or late papers will not be considered.
Information on Emerging Scholar Award and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law
The Elisabeth Haub School of Law is pleased to host an annual paper competition for its Women, Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award. The law school at Pace University is one of a small number of schools in the United States named after a woman, and we are proud of our school's long-standing commitment to gender justice.
Since the establishment of the Women's Justice Center in 1991, Haub Law has made gender justice a priority. Students have the ability to pursue a path to practice in Women, Gender & the Law, through which they develop skills and strategies for effective representation and advocacy for women and gender justice, regardless of what career they pursue. The Haub Law faculty includes nationally recognized academic experts and advocates for women and gender justice. Our faculty teach, research and write about gender equality and justice as it relates to constitutional law, corporate law, criminal law, education, environmental law, estate planning, juvenile justice, legal theory, poverty, public health, social media, and taxation, to name just a few areas. An important hallmark of Haub Law is that in addition to our specialty classes that focus on gender, issues involving gender are also integrated into a wide range of other courses.
2020 – Greer Donley, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Contraceptive Equity: Curing the Sex Discrimination in the ACA's Mandate, 71 Ala. L. Rev. 499 (2019).
2021 – Marie Amélie George, Exploring Identity, 54 Fam. L.Q. 1 (2021)
Thursday, May 4, 2023
The panel will be held during the AALS Annual Meeting in early January 2024 in Washington, DC. The goal of the session is to discuss and share our ideas about teaching reproductive justice, both in regards to the Dobbs decision and related developments as well as how to create a separate course on reproductive justice. The panel will show how family and juvenile law professors are integrating these teaching methods into their courses and the overall family and juvenile law curriculum. Presenters will be asked to share relevant materials in advance of the Annual Meeting.
If you are interested in participating, please send a 400-600 word description of what you'd like to discuss. Submissions should be sent to Naomi Cahn, [email protected] and Jeffrey Dodge, [email protected]. The due date for submissions is June 23, 2023. We will notify the selected presenters by July 1, 2023.
Friday, March 31, 2023
Updated June 22, 2023
It's that time of year again for Gender & Law-Prof Blog's annual list of women law deans. Updates as new announcements are made.
Alena Allen (Prof. Arkansas, Dep. Dir. AALS), LSU
Johanna Bond, (Assoc. Dean Washington & Lee), Rutgers
Cinnamon Pinon Carlarne (Assoc. Dean Ohio State), Albany
Maisa Cianciarulo (Interim Dean, Chapman), Western State
Elaine Gagliardi (Interim Dean Montana), Montana
Zelda Harris (Prof. Loyola Chicago), Western New England
Sophia Lee (Prof. Penn), Penn
Stacy Leeds (Prof. Arizona State), Arizona State
Beth McCormack (Interim Dean Vermont), Vermont
Karen Sneddon (Interim Dean Mercer), Mercer
Patricia Timmons-Goodson (Judge, NC Supreme Court, retired), NC Central
Franita Tolson (Vice Dean USC), USC
Overall, 12/22 or 45% of new deans this year are women, and 5/22 or 22% are women of color.
For background and prior years, see:
Karen Sloan, It's the Moment for This: An e for This: An Unprecedented Number of Black Women are Leading Law Schools ("By fall, 14% of law schools will have Black women in the Dean's suite.")
Karen Sloane, Meet the Record-Setting Number of Incoming Women Law Deans (2019)
National Law Journal, Incoming Batch of Law Deans Is More Diverse Than Ever (2019)
Michelle Benedetto Neitz, Pulling Back the Curtain: Implicit Bias in the Law School Dean Search Process, Seton Hall L. Rev.
Monday, March 13, 2023
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.
Monday, March 6, 2023
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.
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.
Monday, February 27, 2023
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.
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.
Monday, January 16, 2023
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.