Friday, May 24, 2024

The Life and Work of the First Woman Elected Justice of the Peace, Catharine Waugh McCullough

Sandra Ryder, Clearing the Bar: Catharine Waugh McCullough and Illinois Legal Reform

Catharine Waugh McCulloch was one of the first women admitted to practice law in Illinois, and the 18th woman admitted to practice in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. After graduating from law school and passing the bar, she experienced difficulty finding a legal position in Chicago, so she opened an office in Rockford, Illinois, where she often took on destitute women clients. She initiated the shared writing among women attorneys, which became the Equity Club. She ran for Attorney General in 1888 and was active in many women's groups. After marrying a classmate from law school, the two formed a partnership in law and marriage; they wrote briefs, tried cases and published legal documents together.
McCulloch drafted a bill which changed guardianship laws, and another which raised the age of consent for girls from 14 to 16, both of which were passed into law. After an Illinois case gave women the right to vote in school elections, McCulloch recognized the significance of this ruling. Together with the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association, she and other suffragists toured the state by auto, speaking and handing out flyers and pamphlets. She drafted a bill by which Illinois women could vote in municipal and presidential elections, and every year, for 20 years, she and others went to Springfield to testify and lobby for her bill; it passed in 1913, and this Illinois suffrage law was instrumental in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. Not satisfied, McCulloch worked with the Chicago charter revision committee to have women's suffrage included; she fought to have the Illinois Constitution revised to include women's suffrage; she was successful in both efforts.
Meanwhile, in 1907, McCulloch was the first woman elected to a judicial position, Justice of the Peace, in Evanston, Illinois, and by all men. She was appointed Master in Chancery of the Cook County Superior Court for four, two-year terms. She was selected the first woman elector to the State Democratic Convention in 1916. While practicing with McCulloch & McCulloch, she had one case which used contract law to set public policy regarding wholesomeness of food; this case later was incorporated into one portion of today's Uniform Commercial Code. Since much of their practice dealt with probate and estates, the McCulloch's co-authored A Manual of the Law of Will Contests in Illinois.
With the National League of Women Voters, McCulloch fought for years, again using print media, speeches and women's groups, to have women on juries, and to make the laws concerning women uniform throughout the U.S. *3 Always committed to utilizing law to reform the legal status of women and children, McCulloch wrote plays, essays, legislative bills, speeches, pamphlets, and used the power of print media to convince the public; her plays were still being produced in the 1990s.
After their many years of legal practice and innovation, in 1940 both McCulloch and her husband were named “Senior Counselors” of the Illinois Bar Association. But her legacy is far more reaching; when any woman votes, retains custody of children or property in a divorce, or serves on a jury, it is because of the vision and relentless legal work of Catharine Waugh McCulloch and her peers.
In track and field, clearing the bar indicates that the person has exceeded expectations and is ready to face even more difficult ones. McCulloch did not just pass the bar; because women entering the legal profession was in its infancy, and due to the bulk and import of her legal contributions, McCulloch cleared the bar with room to spare.

May 24, 2024 in Judges, Law schools, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 22, 2024

Priya Baskaran on Critical Legal Research in Law Clinics

Priya Baskaran has published "Searching for Justice: Incorporating Critical Legal Research into Clinic Seminar" in Volume 30 of the Clinical Law Review. The article concludes:   

The progenitors of CLR — Delgado and Stefancic — reiterate the importance of “reinventing, modifying, flipping, and radically transforming legal doctrines and theories imaginatively” to pursue justice and law reform. Law is a profession that recreates hierarchy and predictability; thus, law reform and justice require “mulling over what an ideal legal world would look like from the client’s perspective.”


This type of contextual critical thinking is exactly what clinical legal education seeks to develop. When lawyers focus on the rule and only the rule, they place a specific box around the problem. The problem and potential resolutions, when so narrowly categorized, are limited to the universe of “settled law” and stifle innovative solutions. Such restrictions are in direct opposition to the best interest of the client —who is expecting the lawyer to help engage in creative problem solving and advocacy, rather than simply upholding the status quo and perpetuating harm and injustice. From a metacognition perspective, restrictive and limited construction also harms the students’ intellectual development and capacity. Strict adherence to the rule prevents effective learning for transfer by reinforcing subject matter silos. Students make only surface level connections rather than understanding the underlying structural issues and engaging in applied critical thinking. In contrast, “a conceptual advance that sees old material in a new light” can lead to the type of creative lawyering that is necessary to champion justice. Our current moment desperately calls for wide-ranging, transformative social change. Communities face increasing economic precarity as decades of divestment continue to erode social infrastructure and safety nets. In the wake of this draconian and shameful legal regression that entrenches harmful hegemonies, we cannot train students to merely accept precedent or the myth of a neutral judiciary. Advocating for vulnerable clients will require far more creative and strategic attorneys who are able not only to conceptualize creative arguments, but also to work collaboratively with grassroots groups pushing for greater change through concerted organizing and political mobilization.


Training students in CLR equips them with the critical thinking skills and research strategies to navigate the deeply flawed legal systems and imperfect research resources. Despite the challenges, we should find a way to incorporate CLR into clinical pedagogy as an important step in the continued fight against injustice.

April 22, 2024 in Education, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judy Stinson Lecture on "Reclaiming the Singular They"

Robert Anderson presented the Judy Stinson Lecture at Arizona State University on the topic of "Reclaiming the Singular They in Legal Writing." A recording of the presentation is available here.  It gives background on the grammatical prohibition on the singular they.  It describes a historic tension between grammar guides and dictionaries on this issue. The underlying article that was the basis for the lecture is available here

April 22, 2024 in Conferences, Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

New Women Law Deans

Once again, Gender & the Law Blog's annual list of New Women Law Deans. We will update as announcements are made.

Women are 10 of 22 (45%) new law deans in 2024. 

Marcilynn Burke, Tulane (previously Dean, Oregon)

Brietta Clark, Loyola LA (Interim Dean, Loyola LA)

Camille Davidson, Mitchell Hamline, President & Dean (Dean, Southern Illinois)

Jelani Jefferson Exum, St. John's (Dean, Detroit Mercy)

Julia Hill, Wyoming (Vice Dean, Alabama)

Johanna Kalb, U San Francisco (Dean, Idaho)

Leslie Kendrick, Virginia (Prof., Virginia)

Stephanie Lindquist, Washington U, St. Louis (Prof., Arizona State)

LaVonda Reed, Baltimore (Dean, Georgia State).

Franita Tolson, USC (Interim Dean, USC)


Marcilynnburke_600    Lavonda.reed_-4117056254-e1711371849757    USC_GSL_Dean_Franita_Tolson_Headshot_20230503_132-350x500-1    Camille M. Davidson    JohannaHill-web    Jelani Jefferson    Stefanie Lindquist    Brietta Clark    Kendrick_leslie

April 2, 2024 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Women Law Deans

Once again, Gender & the Law Blog's annual list of New Women Law Deans.

LaVonda Reed, Baltimore (previously Dean at Georgia State).

April 2, 2024 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Learning the Law Through Taylor Swift Cases

Taylor Swift in a graduation gown

ABA J., Swift Justice: Students Learn About the Law Through Taylor Swift Cases

As anyone who pays attention to current events knows all too well, Taylor Swift has become ubiquitous.

She’s touring the world, playing to sold out stadiums on her record-breaking “The Eras Tour.” She’s in movie theaters, showing a version of said tour to enchanted Swifties who either couldn’t see her in person or did and want to relive their best day.

She’s at NFL games, trying to bring good karma for her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, and his team, the Kansas City Chiefs. She’s talked about on cable news and social media, as the political world waits to see if she’ll speak now about who she’s endorsing in the 2024 presidential election.

And in at least two law schools, she’s the subject of a class available to students wanting to gain practical knowledge about the law by studying her various legal entanglements and how she emerged stronger.

At the University of Miami School of Law, there was “Intellectual Property Law Through the Lens of Taylor Swift,” a seven-week course taught by Vivek Jayaram, founder of Jayaram Law and co-director of the Arts Law Track in Miami Law’s Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law LL.M program.

Jayaram, who has practiced intellectual property and corporate law for over 20 years, came up with the idea for the class at lunch one day with Gregory Levy, associate dean of Miami Law. Jayaram had just read an article about Swift’s lawsuit with Evermore Park, a theme park in Utah that sued her for trademark infringement after she released an album titled “Evermore” in December 2020.

There were some other lawsuits and legal disputes he had read about involving Swift, including a well-publicized fight starting in 2019 over ownership of her old master recordings that led to her re-recording her back catalogue. There also was a 2014 battle with Spotify over streaming royalties and 2015 deals with and Alibaba to combat Chinese counterfeiting of her merchandise.

“I said to Greg: ‘I bet Swifties know more about IP law than a lot of lawyers,’” recalls Jayaram, whose favorite Swift album is 1989. “That initiated a bit of a conversation about centering an IP class around her.”

The inaugural class, which met in the spring of 2023, had about 25-30 students. Jayaram says his end game was to use Swift as a means of exploring interesting issues in IP law. He adds that while she was hardly the first artist to experience copyright and trademark issues, she has dealt with them in interesting, innovative ways that have allowed her to experience greater success.

“She’s not the first one who has re-recorded her old songs, but she’s really the only one who has been really successful at it,” says Jayaram, pointing out artists as diverse as The Everly Brothers, Journey and Def Leppard have tried it, with significantly less commercially successful results. “It’s very unusual to do this and have it shoot up to the top of the charts.”

Another law professor had a similar epiphany—this time, after speaking with some of his students who were excited about going to various shows on her recent “The Eras Tour.” “I thought that she could work as a class,” says Sean Kammer, an environmental and torts law professor at University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law. “I got to work and started from the point of view of what are the ways we can use Taylor Swift and her music to learn about the law?”

Kammer’s class, called “The Taylor Swift Effect,” does not just focus on IP law—instead, it looks at various issues, including how Swift’s songwriting and storytelling can help lawyers become better advocates.

“We look at questions that are more theoretical, like how we experience music and how we derive very deep meanings from these pieces,” says Kammer, whose favorite Swift song is “All Too Well” (10 Minute Version). “At the end of the class, we look at what we can learn as creators of legal arguments, to tell the stories we need to tell, by taking lessons from how a songwriter writes a song in terms of organization, style and narrative.”

Other undergraduate and graduate schools have opened their course catalogs to the multi-Grammy winner and recently certified billionaire. Stanford University, Arizona State, Rice University, the University of California at Berkeley and others have introduced classes examining a range of issues, including her lyrical and musical style, the psychology of her music and relationships, and business-oriented courses examining her as an entrepreneur.

March 20, 2024 in Education, Law schools, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Paula Monopoli to Speak on Women as Constitution Makers: Revisiting the 19th Amendment After Dobbs

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Feminist Pedagogy in Legal Education

Jamie Abrams, Feminist Pedagogy in Legal Education, Oxford Handbook of Feminism & the Law in the U.S. (Deborah Brake, Martha Chamallas & Verna Williams, eds. 2023).

This chapter . . .  traces and evaluates the influences of feminism in legal education. It explores how feminist critiques challenged the substance of legal rules, the methods of law teaching, and the culture of legal education. Following decades of advocacy, feminist pedagogical reforms have generated new fields, new courses, new laws, new leaders, and new feminist spaces. This chapter captures many reasons to celebrate the accomplishments of our feminist pioneers and champions. It also serves as a critical call to action to modern faculty, administrators, and students to carry the work forward with a vigilant purpose and determination.

February 21, 2024 in Education, Law schools, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Book: Inclusive Socratic Teaching

New book from my co-editor on the Gender & Law Blog. 

Inclusive Socratic Teaching by Jamie R. Abrams

Jamie Abrams, Inclusive Socrative Teaching: Why Law Schools Need it and How to Achieve It (U.C. Press June 2024)

For more than fifty years, scholars have documented and critiqued the marginalizing effects of the Socratic teaching techniques that dominate law school classrooms. In spite of this, law school budgets, staffing models, and course requirements still center Socratic classrooms as the curricular core of legal education. In this clear-eyed book, law professor Jamie R. Abrams catalogs both the harms of the Socratic method and the deteriorating well-being of modern law students and lawyers, concluding that there is nothing to lose and so much to gain by reimagining Socratic teaching. Recognizing that these traditional classrooms are still necessary sites to fortify and catalyze other innovations and values in legal education, Inclusive Socratic Teaching provides concrete tips and strategies to dismantle the autocratic power and inequality that so often characterize these classrooms. A galvanizing call to action, this hands-on guide equips educators and administrators with an inclusive teaching model that reframes the Socratic classroom around teaching techniques that are student centered, skills centered, client centered, and community centered


February 21, 2024 in Books, Education, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 6, 2023

New Report Examines the Experiences of Native American Women in the Law

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: 

  1. Do not relegate Native American women to meaningless footnotes in research studies. * * *
  2. Continue to support and expand pre-law programs to encourage Native Americans to consider and get admitted into law school. * * *  
  3. 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. * * *  
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

November 6, 2023 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Gender, Health and the Constitution Conference at the Center for Con Law at Akron



Con Law Conference Focuses on Gender, Health & the Constitution

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 GenetinMike GentithesDr. 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.

October 25, 2023 in Abortion, Conferences, Constitutional, Family, Gender, Healthcare, Law schools, LGBT, Pregnancy, Race, Reproductive Rights, Science, SCOTUS, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

To Procreate or Not to Procreate--The Real Stories of Unwed Mothers

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.

August 2, 2023 in Abortion, Constitutional, Law schools, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Gender Inequality and Representations of Women in the Contracts Curriculum

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.

July 19, 2023 in Books, Business, Education, Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 3, 2023

Shatzman on "The Clerkship Whisper Network: What it is, Why it's Broken, and How to Fix it"

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.

You can follow more of Shatzman's work at The Legal Accountability Project

July 3, 2023 in Courts, Law schools, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 23, 2023

CFP AALS Feminism, The Development of Professional Identity, and Implementing ABA Standard 303(b)

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

June 23, 2023 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Gender, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 15, 2023

CFP 2024 AALS Annual Meeting The Challenges of Teaching in a Time of Rising LGBTQ Hostility

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

June 15, 2023 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Law schools, LGBT, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

CFP 2024 AALS Annual Meeting Legislative Attacks on LGBTQ Equality

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.

June 15, 2023 in Call for Papers, Law schools, Legislation, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 8, 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)

Speakers TBD



Preregistration for all participants (speakers and attendees) is required via this link:

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.

June 8, 2023 in Conferences, Law schools, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 2, 2023

CFP 2024 AALS Obstacles to Gender Equality in the Legal Academy

Call for Proposals for 2024 AALS WILE Main Program:   

"Obstacles to Gender Equality in the Legal Academy"  

Panel Description:  


Despite the progress made in recent years, gender inequality remains a pervasive issue in the legal profession, particularly in academia. Women remain underrepresented in influential positions, and face systemic bias, discrimination, harassment, and other obstacles that limit their advancement and overall success. Law schools place a premium on statuses that have largely been defined by and through patriarchies. Visible and invisible status lines and distinctions are perpetuated by a legal academy that voices an often-empty commitment to equity. 

We invite proposals for the 2024 AALS WILE Main Program, dedicated to exploring the obstacles that face a diversity of women in the legal academy. We welcome proposals that address, but are not limited to, the following themes: 

  • The impact of implicit bias and gender stereotypes on hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions in law schools.  
  • The impact on career advancement and earning potential (or "motherhood tax") for professional women due to parenting and/or caretaking responsibilities.  
  • The role of institutional policies and practices in perpetuating inequality, such as implicit curricula, exclusionary practices, and lack of support for work-life balance. 
  • The experiences of women of color, LGBTQ2S+ women, women with disabilities, and other marginalized groups in the legal academy. 
  • The effect of gender disparities on teaching, research, and service activities. 
  • The potential of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to foster a more equitable academic environment. 
  • The implications of gender inequality for legal education, scholarship, and the legal profession at large. 
  • The ways in which laws attacking tenure and prohibiting DEI trainings/offices will perpetuate gender inequality.   

We welcome submissions from law faculty, staff, and administrators at all stages of their careers. Submissions are due on or before Monday July 31, 2023, and should be sent to [email protected]. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Victoria Haneman.   

June 2, 2023 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Equal Employment, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Dispute Resolution in a Feminist Voice

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.

May 16, 2023 in Courts, Gender, Law schools, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)