Gender and the Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Challenging the Idea of Women Judging Differently: The Jurisprudence of the First Woman Judge, Florence Allen

I've just posted my recent research on Judge Florence Allen, a law review article previewing the book in progress.

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Tracy A. Thomas, The Jurisprudence of the First Woman Judge, Florence Allen: Challenging the Myth of Women Judging Differently (posted July 2, 2020)

A key question for legal scholars and political scientists is whether women jurists judge differently than men. Some studies have suggested that women judges are more likely to support plaintiffs in sexual harassment, employment, and immigration cases. Other studies conclude that women are more likely to vote liberally in death penalty and obscenity cases, and more likely to convince their male colleagues to join a liberal opinion. Yet other studies have found little evidence that women judge differently from men.

This article explores the jurisprudence of the first woman judge, Judge Florence Allen, to test these claims of gender difference in judging. Judge Allen was the first woman judge many times over: the first woman elected to a general trial court (Cuyahoga County Common Pleas in 1920), the first woman elected to a state supreme court (Ohio 1922), the first woman appointed to a federal appellate court (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1932), and the first woman shortlisted for the U.S. Supreme Court. Her forty years on the bench included cases of constitutional law, administrative power, criminal process, labor rights, and patent cases. Using original archival research, this Article shows that Allen's judicial record supports the conclusion that women judge no differently from men. However, Allen worked hard to cultivate this conclusion, seeking to distance herself from claims of women’s difference and inferiority, and instead seeking to establish that women could “think like a man.” Her deliberate effort was to judge in a moderate, neutral, and objective manner, distancing the work from her feminist activism. Overall the historical record reveals the jurisprudence of the first woman judge as one of moderation, fitted to the male-centric norms of the profession and rejecting any promise of women’s advocacy on the bench.

July 2, 2020 in Courts, Judges, Legal History, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

In Disciplinary Proceeding Against Judge, Lawyer Argues Use of the C-Word for Woman Attorney was not Gender Bias, but Indirect Compliment

Judge's Use of the C-word Could be Seen as "Left-handed Compliment," Lawyer Argues

A part-time judge's use of the C-word doesn’t amount to obvious gender bias, his lawyer argued before New York's top court Tuesday.

 

Lawyer Michael Blakey told the New York Court of Appeals that a censure would be sufficient punishment for his client, Judge Paul Senzer of the Northport Village Court of Suffolk County, Law360 reports.

 

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct had recommended removal of Senzer for language in nine emails he sent while representing two clients seeking the right to visit their grandchild.

 

According to the commission, Senzer used the B-word to describe the client’s daughter, and the C-word to describe the daughter’s lawyer.

 

In one email, he referred to the daughter’s lawyer as a “c- - - on wheels.” In another, he referred to the lawyer as “eyelashes.” Senzer also referred to a court’s attorney referee as an “asshole” and the daughter and her ex-husband as “scumbags.”

 

Law360 covered Blakey’s argument, made in-person before the court judges, with the exception of one judge who participated remotely.

 

“We don’t think the gender bias is obvious and we don’t concede it. We could go into multiple interpretations of the words used, but I don’t think that’s necessary. I can just point out the worst one—the C-word,” Blakey said.

 

“It’s not a C-word by itself. It’s a term of art: ‘C on wheels.’ Which, obviously, refers to the aggressiveness of that attorney. It’s a left-handed compliment is one way to look at it,” Blakey said.

 

Blakey added that the language is “obviously inappropriate” but argued that its use didn’t merit removal.

 

Senzer was referring to lawyer Karen McGuire in the C-word email. She offered a sarcastic reaction when contacted by Law360.

 

“Isn’t it every female attorney’s dream to be called a c- - - on wheels? Right?” she said, spelling out the letters for the word. “Don’t we swear our oath and say, ‘This is what I want my legacy to be’?”

June 10, 2020 in Judges, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 29, 2020

New Study Shows Gender Impacts Scholarly Influence and Citation in Law

Caroline Osborne & Stephanie Miller, The Scholarly Impact Matrix: An Empirical Study of How Multiple Metrics Create an Informed Story of a Scholar's Work

Does gender impact citation and exposure?

a. Does gender impact citation?

Another important observation is that men are more likely to be in the frequently and significantly cited intervals than women. At the significantly cited level men are fourteen percent, on average, more likely to be cited. At the frequently cited interval men are eight percent, on average, more likely to be cited. This suggests that men have a citation advantage at both frequently and significantly cited intervals. These results are in contrast to another recent study that finds there is no gender citation advantage in legal scholarship. Christopher A. Cotropia and Lee Petherbridge, Gender Disparity in Law Review Citation Rates, 59 WM. & MARY L. REV. 771 (2018) (study exploring gender disparity in scholarly influence).

b. Does Gender impact exposure in an IR or on SSRN?

Gender provides an advantage in exposure to men at the frequently and significantly downloaded intervals with a twelve percent advantage to men in the frequently downloaded interval on SSRN. That advantage evaporates at the significantly downloaded interval on SSRN with men and women enjoying parity. The twelve percent advantage at the frequently downloaded interval is significant when recalling that the frequently downloaded interval is the interval with the greatest number of downloads and thus, arguably, the interval demonstrating the greatest impact. The absence of a difference in downloads between men and women on SSRN at the significantly downloaded interval was the anticipated result. As noted in the discussion on gender and citation, a 2018 study suggests that there is no gender bias in citations to legal scholarship. Id.

May 29, 2020 in Gender, Scholarship, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Podcast: Feminist Prosecutors and their Feminist Detractors

Podcast, Feminist Prosecutors and their Feminist Detractors

One prosecutor in rural Maine is trying to change the norms of evidence around prosecutions for domestic violence and sexual assault—she wins, even when she loses. In the era of progressive prosecution, two different historical injustices are pulling prosecutors in opposite directions. Patriarchy has kept too many men from being prosecuted for gender-based crimes, while tough-on-crime policing has resulted in too many men being prosecuted for other crimes. This week we look at what it means to be a feminist prosecutor, and whether advocacy for more policing and prosecution on behalf of women can backfire for progressive causes. Guest voices include Maine District Attorney Natasha Irving, Villanova law professor Michelle Madden Dempsey, University of Colorado law professor Aya Gruber, and University of Maryland law professor Lawrence Sherman.

In Slate Plus, Sarah Lustbader, senior legal counsel at the Justice Collaborative and contributor at the Appeal, and Barry talk about whether the adversarial system of prosecution and defense makes the criminal justice system a bad way to pursue improvements in gender relations and reduce gender-based crime.

May 27, 2020 in Courts, Theory, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How the Gender Pay Gap Affects Black Women in Law

LaCrisha McAllister, "Quarters in the Court: How the Gender Pay Gap Affects Black Women in Law" 

Women constitute almost half of the national workforce. For half of American families, they are the sole source of income or they are a co-breadwinner. They earn more degrees than men. They work in a broad spectrum of professions and industries and they serve in a multitude of capacities, from administrators to upper management to laborers and everything between. Despite these things, women are paid significantly less than their male counterparts. Efforts to address this have been fodder for discussion for some time. Currently, less than 1% of elected prosecutors are Black women, less than 8% of judges are Black Women in State Trial Courts and State Appellate courts respectively, and a report from the National Association for Law Placement found that Black Women make up about 1.73% of all attorneys included in their survey. This paper seeks to address the ways that the Gender Pay Gap affects Black women in the legal field and how the legal profession can place equity in pay at the base of its mission.

May 26, 2020 in Equal Employment, Race, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

CFP Legal and Judicial Ethics in the Post-#MeToo World, AALS Section on Professional Responsibility

Call for Papers

AALS Section on Professional Responsibility 2021

Co-Sponsored by AALS Sections on Civil Rights,

Employment Discrimination Law, Leadership, and Minority Groups

 

Legal and Judicial Ethics in the Post-#MeToo World

The Section on Professional Responsibility seeks papers addressing the role of legal and judicial ethics in the Post-#MeToo world. This program calls for scholars to confront big questions facing the profession about sexual discrimination, harassment and other misconduct. In 2016, the American Bar Association amended Model Rule 8.4(g)  to say that it is professional misconduct to “engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socio-economic status in conduct related to the practice of law.” Few jurisdictions have adopted this change, and some explicitly rejected it on First Amendment grounds. In 2019, the federal judiciary amended the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges to make clear that misconduct includes engaging in unwanted, offensive, or abusive sexual conduct and to protect those who report misconduct, but some argue the reforms do not go far enough and they do not apply to state judges or to the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress held hearings on sexual misconduct in the federal judiciary in early 2020. Lawyers and members of the judiciary have avoided investigations into credible allegations of sexual assault, discrimination, and harassment by resigning their positions, only to move on in other positions in the legal profession and, in some instances, repeating the same misconduct. Headlines regularly feature attorneys and their involvement in sexual misconduct in the workplace and beyond, whether as bystanders, facilitators, or perpetrators. This program seeks contributions to address these complex and controversial issues. Panelists will discuss the role of lawyer and judicial ethics as a means to remedy the enduring sexual misconduct in the legal profession and beyond.  Jaime Santos, founder of Law Clerks for Workplace Accountability and commentator for the acclaimed podcast Strict Scrutiny, is confirmed as a presenter. At least two additional presenters will be competitively selected from this call for papers.

Topics discussed at the program might include:

  • Does ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) addressing sexual harassment run afoul of the First Amendment? 
  • Is ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) merely a values statement or is it a source for discipline?
  • What obligations, if any, do disciplinary authorities have to investigate credible, public information about alleged sexual misconduct by the lawyers licensed to practice in their jurisdictions?
  • Should regulators adopt new rules or policies to address sexual misconduct, including the ability of lawyers and judges to avoid investigations by resigning their positions?
  • If other areas of law (criminal, civil) do not cover aspects of sexual misconduct, is there a role for professional conduct rules to do so because of the lawyer’s special role in society?
  • What reporting obligations do law schools have as they certify students’ fitness in bar admission applications? How does this fit within the Title IX framework?
  • Should ethical rules on sexual misconduct that apply to the federal judiciary also apply to the U.S Supreme Court?
  • How should reporting systems be improved?

To be considered, please email your paper to Renee Knake, Chair of the Section on Professional Responsibility, no later than August 1, 2020 at rknake@uh.edu Preference will be given to completed papers, though works-in-progress are eligible for selection.  The Call for Paper presenters will be responsible for paying their registration fee and hotel and travel expenses.  Please note that AALS anticipates that the Annual Meeting will go forward (https://am.aals.org/), and the theme is The Power of Words.

May 12, 2020 in Call for Papers, Equal Employment, Judges, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Recovering the Story of New York's First Woman Judge, Judge Jean Norris

Mae C. Quinn, Fallen Women Further (Re)Framed: Jewels and Travels, Tragedies and Secrets, Judge Jean Hortense Norris

Until recently, few knew the story of Jean Hortense Norris, her life, lawyering, and judicial role adjudicating  cases of alleged “fallen women.”

 

[I]hus, it may have seemed unlikely when about a decade later Mrs. Jean Hortense Norris—who continued using her married name—managed to graduate from New York University Law School to become one of the city’s first women lawyers and a leader in feminist legal activities, including representing defendants accused of prostitution in New York City’s Women’s Court.  It may have been even more astonishing that ten years after joining the bar she was named New York’s first woman judge, appointed to serve in the same Women’s Court where she previously defended alleged wayward women. And they may have become most shocked of all when, a decade after that, she was the focus of a high-profile investigation for unfair treatment of the accused sex workers before her, leading to what has been described as another downfall—her public removal from the bench in 1931 for being “unfit.” Or, perhaps these things did not surprise those closest to her at all.

 

Previous scholarship largely focused on her alleged misconduct as a jurist and official fall from grace. My prior Kansas Law Review article, Fallen Woman (Re)Framed, sought to surface and document more about Jean Hortense Norris—including details about her work as one of this country’s first practicing women attorneys and actions as a feminist legal activist even from the bench.

 

This said, as noted in that work, its more holistic telling was not intended to absolutely absolve Norris as a jurist. Rather, it promised future presentation of at least some additional facts about the judge and her life—including evidence that Seabury and his staff apparently did not investigate or introduce. This essay offers that expanded record. Exploring two different avenues of investigation that were overlooked by Seabury’s formal proceedings—or any other it seems—as postscript, this additional account may raise more questions than it answers.

May 5, 2020 in Judges, Legal History, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Historic First SCOTUS Phone Arguments Involve Two Women Attorneys, Bringing Brief Gender Equality to the Judicial Forum

Called to Order: Supreme Court Holds 1st Arguments by Phone

And with that, the Supreme Court made history Monday, hearing arguments by telephone and allowing the world to listen in live, both for the first time.

 

The arguments were essentially a high-profile phone discussion with the nine justices and two arguing lawyers. The session went remarkably smoothly, notable for a high court that prizes tradition and only reluctantly changes the way it operates.***

 

The court chose a somewhat obscure case about whether the travel website Booking.com can trademark its name for its first foray into remote arguments. The more high-profile arguments come next week.***

 

 Roberts asked the first questions of government attorney Erica Ross, who was arguing that Booking.com should not be allowed to trademark its name because it is a generic term followed by “.com.” The justices then asked questions in order of seniority instead of the usual free-for-all, rapid-fire style that questions are asked in the courtroom. That meant Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who joined the court in 2018, went last.

 

One mild surprise came early in the arguments when Roberts passed the questioning to Justice Clarence Thomas, who once went 10 years between questions and has said he thinks his colleagues pepper lawyers with too many. But in this format, Thomas spoke up, asking questions of both lawyers. It was the first time in more than a year that he had asked a question.*** 

 

Several justices said “good morning” to the lawyers, a telephone nicety not often heard in the courtroom. And Roberts occasionally interjected to keep things moving, saying, “Thank you, counsel,” when he wanted Ross or Booking.com’s lawyer Lisa Blatt to stop talking so he could move to the next justice.

 

“It is a fundamental principle of trademark law that no party can obtain a trademark for a generic term like ‘wine,’ ‘cotton,’ or ‘grain,’” Ross told the justices, pointing them to an 1888 Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled that adding a word like ”Company” or “Inc.” to a generic term doesn’t make it eligible to be trademarked.

 

Some of the exchanges were playful, as happens from time to time in the courtroom. Breyer used pizza.com and cookies.com as examples of websites and discussed with Blatt searching on the internet for toilet paper.

See also For a Rare Moment at the Supreme Court, the Genders Were on Equal Footing (Oct. 2016)

The first oral argument of the Supreme Court’s new term this month delivered something so rare as to be practically nonexistent: g ender equality.

 

Debating an obscure question about the constitutional principle of double jeopardy were five men, all justices of the Supreme Court, and five women: the three female justices and the two female lawyers who took turns at the lectern for their respective clients.

May 5, 2020 in Courts, SCOTUS, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 17, 2020

New Series "Mrs. America" Showcases Feminist Leaders and the 1970 Fight for the ERA, While Featuring Staunch Opponent, Phyllis Schlafly

NYT, "Mrs. America Review: The Voice of an ERA"

FX on Hulu’s breathtaking “Mrs. America,” from the “Mad Men” writer Dahvi Waller, picks up in 1971. . . . The story of the fight for and against the Equal Rights Amendment, it’s not a sequel, either literally or in format: It’s a nine-part series following real historical figures.***

 

Like “Mad Men,” “Mrs. America” finds a fresh angle on a much-observed age of revolution by focusing, first, on a counterrevolutionary: Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett), the cold warrior who, in Waller’s telling, seized on the culture war over women’s rights to raise her political profile and advance a broader conservative agenda.***

 

The insight of “Mrs. America,” in the punchy words of Representative Bella Abzug (Margo Martindale), is that Schlafly “is a goddamn feminist. She may be the most liberated woman in America.” She just chooses not to see herself that way.***

 

Parallel to Schlafly’s story is an ensemble series about the 1970s feminist movement. Its principals aren’t introduced until the end of the first episode: among them, Abzug, Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne), Representative Shirley Chisholm (Uzo Aduba), Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman) and some less-celebrated E.R.A. warriors, including the G.O.P. activist Jill Ruckelshaus (Elizabeth Banks).***

 

The decade-long fight that unfolds is epic and swaggering, bubbling with cultural ferment and bouncing along on a soul-laced soundtrack. There is an “Avengers Assemble” feeling here, both in the gathering of historical figures — a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg even appears, briefly — and the bumper crop of acting talent. Waller is producing feminism’s most ambitious crossover event, and she relishes it.***

 

While Schlafly is the driving force of the series — it is not, after all, called “Ms. America” — the show spotlights one character at a time. The third episode, about Chisholm’s 1972 run for the presidency, rings familiar not just in the story of an outsider fighting what she calls a “rigged” party machine, but in the intra-movement clashes over whether race and gender are equal priorities. (Chisholm, whom Aduba gives a fierce magnetism, gets this from black politicians, too, who see her more as a “women’s” candidate. “I don’t look black to you?” she asks.)

April 17, 2020 in Constitutional, Legal History, Pop Culture, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Navajo Nation Supreme Court Now All Women with New Appointment

Navajo Nation Council Confirms Tina Tsinigine to Tribe's Supreme Court

The Navajo Nation Council confirmed Tina Tsinigine as an associate justice for the tribe's Supreme Court.

 

Tsinigine will serve alongside Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne and Associate Justice Eleanor Shirley, marking the first time three women will serve simultaneously on the three-member court.

 

It is an outcome that Delegate Mark Freeland noted before casting a vote in favor of Tsinigine's appointment.

 

"That is a testament for Navajo women. … Our women are strong," Freeland said.

 

The confirmation ends nearly a decade-long vacancy on the high court and Tsinigine will serve a probationary period of two years then undergo the process for permanent appointment.

 

The council considered the legislation for Tsinigine's appointment during the winter session on Jan. 28 in Window Rock, Arizona.

 

Tsinigine spoke to delegates about her career, which started as a mathematics instructor for the Tuba City Unified School District in Arizona before she earned a master's degree in Indigenous Nations Studies from the University of Kansas in 2003 followed by a Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2007.

From left, Navajo Nation Supreme Court Associate Justice Eleanor Shirley, Associate Justice Tina Tsinigine and Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne stand for photos after Tsinigine took the oath of office on Jan. 28 in Window Rock, Arizona.

March 5, 2020 in Courts, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 13, 2019

Professor Linda Mullenix Files Equal Pay Lawsuit Against University of Texas Law School

 

Linda S Mullenix

From the complaint in Mullenix v. University of Texas (W.D. Tex. filed 12/12/19)

Plaintiff Linda Susan Mullenix files Plaintiff’s Original Complaint & Jury Demand, and sues the University of Texas for violations of the Equal Pay Act, as well as for sex discrimination and retaliation. Over the past three years, Professor Linda Mullenix, one of UT Law’s most distinguished professors, has been paid $134,449 less than male professor Robert Bone. Professor Bone has the same above-average teacher evaluation rating as
Professor Mullenix, but almost a decade less overall teaching experience, fewer than a third of Professor Mullenix’s overall publications, and fewer professional honors. This pay gap is sex discrimination.

 

Moreover, UT Law has retaliated against Professor Mullenix for opposing the law school’s unequal pay practices. For the last several years, Professor Mullenix has received among the lowest raises of any tenured faculty. For example, Professor Mullenix received a $1,500 raise for the 2018-2019 academic year, which was the lowest raise given to any faculty member. That same year Professor Bone, and many other professors less accomplished than Professor Mullenix, received $10,000 raises, some of the highest raises given. Dean Farnsworth also retaliated against Professor Mullenix and attempted to chill reports of discrimination by telling Professor Mullenix that he would pay her the same as Professor Bone only if she agreed to resign in two years. At that time and at present, Professor Mullenix has no plans to resign.

 

Another example of retaliation is that despite Professor Mullenix’s repeated requests to be appointed Associate Dean for Research or to be put on the prestigious Budget Committee, she has been relegated to “do-nothing” committees that have little impact on the governance of the law school. Most disturbingly, because of Professor
Mullenix’s opposition to UT Law’s unequal pay practices, she has been made a pariah by the administration. New professors are told to stay away from her and that she is “poison.” Professor Mullenix’s marginalization is also held out as a warning to other professors who might speak out.

 

UT Law has reason to be worried about others speaking out about unequal pay and sex discrimination. For at least the last three years, UT Law has, on average, paid tenured female professors over $20,000 less than tenured male professors. By paying Professor Mullenix less than a similarly-situated male professor and retaliating against her for opposing unequal pay based on gender, UT Law has violated Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, and the Texas Labor Code.

December 13, 2019 in Equal Employment, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 9, 2019

Holiday Card Features SCOTUS Women Justices

SCOTUS Ladies Holiday Card  (Really?  Ladies?!?)

 

December 9, 2019 in Pop Culture, SCOTUS, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Using the Model Rules to Redress Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession

Wendy Hess, Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession: The Opportunity to Use Model Rule 8.4(G) to Protect Women From Harassment, 94 Univ. Detroit Mercy L. Rev.579  (2019)  

This Article explores options available to legal professionals in order to become more aware of and address sexual harassment within the profession. The potential avenues of redress for sexual harassment by those in the legal profession vary. The applicable remedy depends on factors such as: jurisdiction, nature of the harassment, context of the harassment (site of conduct, identity of harasser, and identity of target), and relief sought. This Article discusses two primary avenues: antidiscrimination and anti-harassment protections under Title VII and disciplinary proceedings pursuant to attorney ethics rules. In Part I, the Article explores the ways in which Title VII has not adequately protected women from sexual harassment. Part II of the Article explores potential redress from attorney ethics rules, focusing specifically on Model Rule 8.4(g). The Article discusses advantages of state adoption of Rule 8.4(g) and adds a new perspective to the scholarship about Rule 8.4(g) by addressing the potential disadvantage of reliance on anti-discrimination laws to interpret the rule.

November 27, 2019 in Equal Employment, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Only 17% of US Supreme Court Advocates Were Women

At the Supreme Court, Where are the Women Advocates?

Even as the legal profession pledges to bolster diversity in its workforce, the number of female lawyers who argue before the U.S. Supreme Court is still bafflingly low.

At a recent Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia panel discussion titled “Supreme Court Advocacy: Where are the Women?” Williams & Connolly partner Sarah Harris reported that in the last Supreme Court term, 31 of the 184 appearances were women. That amounts to 17%, lower than some other recent terms, as tallied by SCOTUSBlog.

The numbers are even worse for female lawyers in private practice, Harris noted. Only seven of the 90 appearances by private practitioners were by women, “which is not very great,” she said. And among the 31 lawyers who argued on behalf of corporations, only three were women. Harris clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas in 2015 and 2016.

The number of female advocates of color is also dismal, though that data point is more difficult to tally, said Kelsi Corkran, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and a former clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “When I talk to my friends who are women of color about their clerkships, they can’t point to a single person who looks like them who has done this before. I think we’re losing talent before the court.”

Numerous reasons but few solutions for the low numbers were advanced during the discussion. At the end of the event, moderator Amy Howe, a reporter for SCOTUSblog, said, “I wish we could stop having to have these discussions.”

One reason discussed for the dearth of women is the client’s preference for experienced Supreme Court advocates, which often, in self-fulfilling fashion, can rule out women. “Clients aren’t, especially in the big corporations, that keen to take a chance on a more junior advocate,” said Loren AliKhan, solicitor general for the District of Columbia and formerly a lawyer at O’Melveny & Myers. 

October 8, 2019 in SCOTUS, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Conference "Gender Equity In Law Schools"

Conference, Villanova Law School, Gender Equity in Law Schools

Friday, October 25, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Arthur M. Goldberg '66 Commons Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Despite the significant demographic change in the gender composition of law faculty during the last 25 years, persistent questions of unequal treatment and unconscious bias continue to hamper the ability of female faculty to achieve full equality in law schools.

  • The symposium will examine a broad variety of issues relating to gender equity in law schools, such as:
  • Teaching issues — whether excellent teaching is valued in law schools, whether women faculty have a disproportionate teaching load, whether women are disproportionately present/absent in particular substantive courses, whether women are evaluated differently by students
  • Scholarly issues — whether areas of particular interest to women are undervalued, whether the work of women is given equal weight by law reviews, and whether female faculty bring a different voice to legal scholarship
  • Service issues — whether non-scholarly tasks performed by female faculty disproportionately disadvantage them with respect to status and compensation
  • The gender disparity in legal writing and in clinical education, which also produces substantial pay disparities that fall disproportionately on women in legal education
  • Intersections with issues of race, class, gender, and sexual identity

The symposium will also examine recent pay discrimination litigation at Denver Law School and focus on best practices for law schools that want to avoid similar litigation in the future.

This event takes place on Friday, October 25 from 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in the Arthur M. Goldberg '66 Commons at the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. The program is approved for 7 substantive CLE credits.

October 2, 2019 in Conferences, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Examining Effective Negotiation Skills Through a Gender Lens

Andrea Kupfer Schneider, "What's Sex Got to Do With it: Questioning Research on Gender & Negotiation" 
Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 19, No. 3, 2019


Negotiation scholars and teachers often talk about negotiation skills through the metaphor of tools in the toolbox. This article focuses on the fact that negotiation scholarship primarily studies the hammer, the skill of assertiveness in negotiation. In fact, the majority of empirical negotiation studies take this even further—studying only the hammer and imagining only a single opportunity to hit the nail on the head. Based on those studies, we make conclusions that if one chooses not to use the hammer at all or does not hold it as well as another, one is not a good builder. And negotiation scholars’ advice is also too often focused only on this hammer—how to swing it harder, how to position your hands, the angle of the swing, and so forth. We see this as well in the study of gender differences in negotiation where the vast majority of articles examining gender and negotiation focus on assertiveness—the hammer—and how women need to pick it up, swing harder, or hold it differently. Women’s supposed lack of assertiveness has been used to explain the pay gap between the salaries of women and men along with a whole host of other inequities. This story falls short primarily because our research falls short. And when our research falls short—when we are only researching and emphasizing a part of the skills that are needed to be effective—this does a disservice to all negotiators.

First, researchers focus on assertiveness, a typically masculine trait, and only one of several important negotiation skills. Therefore, we assume that both men and women need only to master that skill to the detriment of the mastery of any other negotiation skills. Second, assertiveness has become the only regularly tested negotiation skill as it is easily quantified. By failing to study the impact of any other skills—including skills that women might be better at than men—the practice to theory to practice cycle is hijacked by this narrow focus. Third, we tend to study negotiation in one-shot interactions with distributive outcomes. Far less often do we study the possibility of integrative outcomes. Even when we set up studies that focus on repeated interactions, they are often limited to prisoner’s dilemma or dictator game scenarios—highly stylized and unrealistic structures. What this means is that while women are not recognized for the skills at which they might be inherently better, it also means that we are failing men by not highlighting opportunities for growth and improvement.

This article attempts to fill in the picture of the skills necessary for effective negotiation by examining the existing negotiation and gender literature discussing traits and skills related to negotiation and the gender literature of those traits outside of the negotiation context. Importantly, this article outlines what we know—and what is still missing—in terms of research on negotiation skills and research on gender differences in these skills. Understanding this gap is the first step toward recognizing what we should be studying and testing in the future.

This article will examine five negotiation skills—social intuition, empathy, ethicality, flexibility, and assertiveness—each of which has been shown to make negotiators more effective and add importantly to each negotiator’s toolbox. Each section will outline how the skill is generally defined in negotiation literature, what gender differences exist or research has been done under each category, and then where future research might be needed. Particularly, this article will note how much more research is needed in all of these other skills to help negotiators learn the specific behaviors that can increase effectiveness. Finally, the article will circle back to assess what we have learned about using a gender lens to study negotiation and the importance of broadening the skill base for all negotiators.

October 1, 2019 in Gender, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 30, 2019

Podcast: Law Professor Discusses Gender and US Asylum Law and the Difference Feminist Legal Thought Made

Signs, Ask a Feminist: Deborah Anker Discusses Gender and US Asylum Law

Aziza Ahmed: Hi, this is Aziza Ahmed. I’m a law professor at Northeastern University’s School of Law, and I’m so happy to be talking to Deborah Anker today as part of the Signs “Ask a Feminist” series.  Deborah, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us on this podcast today.

Deborah Anker: My pleasure.

AA: Your work has been so instrumental in helping advocates and lawyers acknowledge the complexity that gender brings to immigration and asylum law.

***

AA: I was curious to hear from you about when you felt like feminism really came to immigrants’ rights work. I’m sure in communities themselves it was there…

DA: I really thank the women’s movement for challenging the public-private distinction. That was key. And we learned that from the women’s movement—that so-called “private acts of violence” were of public concern and of human-rights concern, or were human rights violations. That was incredibly important.

AA: And became foundational to the types of gender-based asylum claims…

DA: It became very, very foundational for the cases that we brought. It was really the women’s movement that made us start thinking about it. People would come in and we would interview the man and find out what his problems were. We never thought that what happened to women would rise to the level of persecution or would be considered persecution by the adjudicators and by the authorities. That was incredibly important. That rape could constitute prosecution, that “private acts of violence” could constitute prosecution. I think we now understand that being forced to leave your child as a form of persecution.

September 30, 2019 in Family, Gender, International, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Trump Bump Sees More Women Going to Law School

Trump is Driving Women Into Law School

A few short years ago, law schools were falling out of favor with young Americans looking for a route to affluence, influence, or both. Business schools, on the other hand, were attracting more students than ever. ***

This year, the number of applicants to U.S. law schools is up an estimated 3.2%, after rising 8.1% last year.
 
Still, a law degree is rightly no longer seen as quite the path to a secure and remunerative career that it used to be, and a lot of today’s law school applicants seem less interested in their future earnings profiles than in using their legal skills to fight the power, or something like that. In one survey conducted by test-prep provider Kaplan, 87% of law-school admissions officers said “the current domestic political climate” was a significant factor in 2018’s applications increase. In another, 45% of students taking Kaplan LSAT prep courses this February said the political climate affected their decision to apply for law school, up from 32% a year earlier.

 

In legal circles this phenomenon has come to be called the “Trump bump,” which sounds about right. More precisely, with young people and college graduates both tending to give the president low approval ratings, it seems likely that most of these political-climate-inspired applicants are inspired by opposition to Trump and his policies. Also, all of this year’s and most of last year’s applicant gains were driven by women, who as a rule like the current president a lot less than men do. As recently as 2013, women were still a minority among applicants to U.S. law schools. This year they accounted for 55%. So U.S. law schools will for at least the next few years be churning out more smart, politically engaged, probably left-leaning lawyers, most of them women.

September 17, 2019 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Rediscovering the First Woman Judge, Florence Allen

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has some recent articles highlighting Judge Florence Allen and calling for her recognition.  Allen is colloquially known as "the first woman judge" as she was the first woman elected to a trial court of general jurisdiction (Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Cleveland), the first woman elected to a state supreme court (Ohio 1922), the first woman appointed to a federal appellate court (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 1932), and the first woman shortlisted for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Andrea Simakis, Before RBG, A Cleveland Judge Made History

Andrea Simakis, Women Lawyers, Judges of Ohio "On Fire" to Honor Judge Florence Allen

Allen is the subject of my current book project, "'A Manly Mind': Judge Florence Allen, The First Woman Judge."  The book is an intellectual biography of this famous first, seeking to exploring her ideas, motivations, and jurisprudence.  I've spent two years reviewing the historical and legal archives, and now am writing in earnest.  A shorter journal article summarizing some of the findings from the research and on Allen's life will be forthcoming in the journal of the new Ohio Legal History Project, an initiative of the Ohio State Bar Foundation.  

Florence Allen was an icon of the woman's suffrage movement as both an activist and an advocate.  Her suffrage work led to her inclusion as one of the inaugural members of the Social Justice ParkSocial Justice Park, in Columbus, Ohio.  Allen was a moderate, believing strongly in the nonpartisan nature of the judiciary, tempering her decisions with logic and reason, and searching within the system for a practical solution.  She prided herself on hard work, logic and intellect, and rejected society's limited role for women.  

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July 29, 2019 in Books, Courts, Judges, Legal History, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Why the ABA's New Rule Addressing Harassment and Discrimination is So Important for Women Working in the Legal Profession Today

Kristy D'Angelo-Corker,  Don't Call me Sweetheart!:Why the ABA's New Rule Addressing Harassment and Discrimination is so Important for Women Working in the Legal Profession Today, 23 Hofstra L. Rev. 263 (2019)

Popular culture has recently shone a spotlight on the inequality and discrimination faced by women in many professions. With the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” campaigns in full swing, it is clear that women are ready to fight to be respected and receive equal treatment. Although there are a plethora of news stories highlighting the issues that women are facing today, this Article will focus specifically on the effect of bias, prejudice, harassment, and discrimination against women in the legal profession. This discrimination and marginalization of women finds its way into law firms, courtrooms, and the corporate arena generally, and impacts not only the female attorneys and judges themselves, but also the clients and litigants that these women are serving. The American Bar Association (“ABA”), long committed to diversity and leading the professional legal community regarding “appropriate” conduct, has finally put an anti-discrimination, anti-harassment provision into effect to combat
discriminatory behavior on a national level.


This Article argues that although the ABA’s adoption of Resolution 109 to amend Rule 8.4 is a necessary first step to remedy the issues that women in the legal profession are currently facing, education and training initiatives must also be established. This training should take the form of Bias Training in law schools (as part of the Professional Responsibility requirements), in law firms, and as mandatory CLE requirements for practicing attorneys.

June 13, 2019 in Equal Employment, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)