The Republican-controlled Missouri House of Representatives used its session’s opening day Wednesday to tighten the dress code for female legislators, while leaving the men’s dress code alone.
Friday, May 26, 2023
The Feminist-Neutrality Paradox of Women Judges
Alissa Rubin Gomez, The Feminist-Neutrality Paradox, 127 Dick. L. Rev. 101 (2023)
Female judges are vital to a well-functioning third branch of government given the long-documented link between diversity and judicial legitimacy. Beyond appearances, however, the article explores the reasons why so many empirical studies have shown that judges do not decide cases differently on account of their gender. This article describes how women must act like men to gain acceptance into the male-dominated judicial sphere and then are expected to apply precedent that has been overwhelmingly decided by men. In other words, the decisions of female (and feminist) judges are largely the same as those of their male counterparts because of systemic pressures on female judges to conform to the unstated male norm under the guise of neutrality and the rule of law. These observations are not new. But in the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the case that erased the constitutional right to abortion with little concern for the appearance of judicial neutrality or stare decisis – this article asks whether feminists should stop playing by the rules as well.
May 26, 2023 in Abortion, Courts, Gender, Judges, Theory, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, May 22, 2023
Gender Inequality in Pharmaceutical Patent Law
Sean Tu and and Tess Hardesty have published "Gender Inequality in Pharmaceutical Patent Law" on April 3 in Volume 15 of Landslide by the American Bar Association. The article concludes:
A recent study by professors found that women represent only one-third of the top pharmaceutical patent litigators and one-quarter of lawyers who help inventors obtain these valuable pharmaceutical patents. This lack of representation in the pharmaceutical patent field is surprising because women represent the majority of law school students who have natural sciences degrees. Despite conventional wisdom, which alleges that this lack of representation is due to the absence of women within technical fields (the “pipeline” theory), this study rebuts the pipeline theory. Specifically, the study shows that women law students with natural sciences degrees outnumber their male counterparts and yet women are underrepresented when it comes to pharmaceutical patent prosecution and litigation.
May 22, 2023 in Science, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, April 13, 2023
Study Shows Dramatic Decrease in Domestic Violence Restraining Orders from Remote Procedures Used During the Pandemic
Andrea Kupfer Schneider, Heather Hlavka, Sameena Mulla, Erin Schubert & Aleksandra Snowden, Remote Justice & Domestic Violence: Process Pluralism Lessons From the Pandemic, 52 Stetson L. Rev. 231 (2022)
Domestic violence procedures, like so many court processes around the world, were forced to go online and remote during the pandemic. The impact was dramatic—there were fewer restraining order petitions filed in the first place and an even lower amount granted. In short, domestic violence survivors, among the most vulnerable in our court system, were even more challenged in the last two years. Like many court systems, Milwaukee will never go back to being fully in-person for all procedures in conjunction with domestic violence. The evolving hybrid choices could provide additional access to justice, or these processes could create additional barriers to successful filing of restraining orders in court and accessing needed social services for survivors.
Interestingly, the shift to remote and online processes has been successful and effective in other contexts. How can we explain the difference? Using the lens of process pluralism, this Article addresses four key factors: (1) context—recognizing that domestic violence survivors are a unique set of court clients and present specific challenges; (2) process plurality—the use of different and hybrid technological options considering party access to technology and advocate support, synchronous versus asynchronous modes, efficiency, and benefits versus costs of video/face to face interactions; (3) imagination—the need to evolve and create new process options to meet the concerns of particular contexts and courts; and (4) justice—ensuring that processes are both procedurally and substantively just, providing voice, legitimacy and fair outcomes to participants. In conjunction with empirical research conducted on survivors and service providers in the Milwaukee County area during the pandemic, this Article will review each of these principles and outline crucial next steps for the court to protect the most vulnerable.
April 13, 2023 in Courts, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, March 31, 2023
New Women Law Deans 2023
Updated April 7, 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
Elaine Gagliardi (Interim Dean Montana), Montana
Sophia Lee (Prof. Penn), Penn
Stacy Leeds (Prof. Arizona State), Arizona State
Beth McCormack (Interim Dean Vermont), Vermont
Overall, 6/12 or 50% of new deans this year are women. 2/12 or 16% are women of color.
For background and prior years, see:
Karen Sloan, Northwestern Dean Pick Means Women will Run Half of the T-14 Law Schools Come Fall (2021)
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.")
2022 New Women Law Deans, Gender & the Law Blog
2021 New Women Law Deans, Gender & the Law Blog
2018 New Women Law Deans, Gender & the Law Blog
2017 New Women Law Deans, Gender & the Law Blog
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.
March 31, 2023 in Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Dorothy Kenyon and Pauli Murray: Their Quest for Sex Equality in Jury Service
Jennifer Brinkley, Dorothy Kenyon and Pauli Murray: Their Quest for Sex Equality in Jury Service,
Tennessee Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice, Forthcoming
This article will look at the history of women and jury service, focusing on the work both Kenyon and Murray did to persuade courts that sex discrimination, like race discrimination, was unconstitutional. Jury service was an issue that advocates of equality could agree upon and Kenyon and Murray would use every resource at their disposal to obtain compulsory service for women. Part II gives a brief history of how women were excluded from juries in the United States. It provides popular culture references of the time, along with public opinion about whether women should serve. This clarifies the history surrounding jury service. Part III provides context on the lives of Dorothy Kenyon and Pauli Murray before they became a team. Their litigation strategy was strongly influenced by division in the women’s equality movement over how best to proceed to seek relief from sex discrimination. Some thought legislative change would be best, while others believed judicial reinterpretation was the proper pathway. The division, and its impact, is discussed. Part IV begins with a history of jury service litigation before various courts. In 1966, Kenyon and Murray co-authored the ACLU’s brief for a federal court case, White v. Crook, where they successfully challenged an Alabama statute restricting jury service only to white males. Prior to White, all sex-based discrimination challenges arguing a Fourteenth Amendment violation had failed. White wanted to successfully link the civil rights and women’s rights movements by showing the inferior status both groups experienced. This section gives details about the White case — the facts, arguments made, and ultimate victory. Following their work on White, Kenyon and Murray encouraged the creation of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, which would place Professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the helm. In her brief for Reed v. Reed, where the United States Supreme Court unanimously struck down an Idaho law preferring males over females in administrating estate matters, Ginsburg gave credit to both Kenyon and Murray by listing them as co-authors. The Reed decision marks the first time the Supreme Court declared a statute unconstitutional based on sex-based differentials using the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. A discussion of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and subsequent cases drawing on the strategies put forth in White provides evidentiary support of the important work Kenyon and Murray did to effect change. They built, step by step, a foundation on which Ginsburg, on behalf of the Women’s Rights Project, could be successful in arguing sex discrimination cases. Part V concludes with a summary of their friendship, outside of Kenyon and Murray’s activism.
March 29, 2023 in Courts, Legal History, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, March 17, 2023
Gendered Interruptions at Supreme Court Oral Argument and the Role of the Chief Judge
Tonja Jacobi & Matthew Sag, Supreme Court Interruptions and Interventions: The Changing Role of the Chief Justice, 103 Boston U. Law Review (2023)
Interruptions at Supreme Court oral argument have received much attention in recent years, particularly the disproportionate number of interruptions directed at the female Justices. The Supreme Court changed the structure of oral argument to try to address this problem. This Article assesses whether the frequency and gender disparity of interruptions of Justices has improved in recent years, and whether the structural change in argument has helped. It shows that interruptions went down during the pandemic but have resurged to near-record highs, as has the gender disparity in Justice-to-Justice interruptions. However, although the rate of advocate interruptions of Justices also remains historically high, for the first time in years it no longer shows any gender disparity. Thus, the structural change to oral argument has had mixed results.
The problem of gendered interruptions at Supreme Court oral argument has led to calls for the Chief Justice to take a more active role at oral argument. This Article also addresses whether and how Chief Justice Roberts has responded to this call. It shows that the Chief has been intervening more, not in response to the increasing number of interruptions, but in response to the gender disparity growing more severe. Further, he has directed his interventions at supporting those most interrupted, disrupting those making the most interruptions, and, significantly, using his interventions to recognize and combat interruptions of the female Justices. When it comes to interruptions at the Court, the Chief Justice is no longer simply the first among equals but has a new role, as a referee, attempting to address a social and institutional problem.
March 17, 2023 in Courts, Gender, Judges, SCOTUS, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
New Book Her Honor: Stories of Challenge and Triumph from Women Judges
Lauren Stiller Rikleen ed., Her Honor: Stories of Challenge & Triumph from Women Judges (2023)
At a time when surveys reveal declining trust in our courts, this book offers reasons for hope and even pride. Her Honor features a collection of personal stories by and about some of the country's most respected female judges. Each chapter author openly shares nuanced stories of challenges and successes, including the inequality, bias, and other barriers they faced and overcame in their lives.
The 25 judges featured in Her Honor are from all levels of the state and federal courts, including Chief Judges and two Supreme Court Justices. Their moving stories will be all too recognizable by women who may currently be experiencing similar challenges and biases in their own careers.
Her Honor also demonstrates how the best of our judges share a passion for ensuring an accessible and fair system of justice, without a political agenda. They reveal a deep compassion for humanity along with an abiding respect for the law, respecting precedent but acting with courage if the law offers a way forward.
All the judges in this book have lived lives of deep influence. The stories shared will extend that influence further and inspire future generations to persevere in their careers during even the most difficult time
March 14, 2023 in Courts, Judges, Legal History, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
New Book First Woman Judge: Florence Allen, Feminism and the Transformation of US Courts
My new book, First Woman Judge: Florence Allen, Feminism & the Transformation of US Courts, will be published by the University of California Press in 2025. The book examines the jurisprudence of Judge Allen's forty years on the courts through the lens of progressive law, feminism, and social justice.
Judge Florence Allen was the "first" woman judge many times over. She was the first woman in the country elected to a general jurisdiction trial court, the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas (Cleveland) in 1920 immediately following ratification of the 19th Amendment. Before that there had been a few women magistrates in the country: two women justices of the peace (WY and IL), two women juvenile court judges (IL and DC), and one woman probate judge (KS). Allen was then the first woman elected to a state supreme court, joining the Ohio Supreme Court in 1922. She was then the first woman appointed to a federal appellate court, nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1934. And she was the first woman shortlisted to the U.S. Supreme Court--considered ten times by four presidents from two parties.
I've written a basic account of Allen's life and jurisprudence here: The Jurisprudence of the First Woman Judge, Florence Allen: Challenging the Myth of Women Judging Differently, 27 William & Mary J. Race, Gender & Social Justice 293 (2021). The book will delve more into Allen's progressive roots, theories of the expansive governmental power, liberal and social feminisms, and work for women's rights and suffrage.
March 8, 2023 in Books, Courts, Judges, Legal History, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, January 20, 2023
Legal Study Measures Impact of Social Structures of Old Boys Networks in Corporate Law
Afra Afsharipour & Matthew Jennejohn, "Gender and the Social Structure of Exclusion in U.S. Corporate Law"
University of Chicago Law Review, Forthcoming
Law develops through collective effort. A single judge may write a judicial opinion, but only after an (often large) group of lawyers choose litigation strategies, craft arguments, and present their positions. Despite their important role in the legal process, these networks of lawyers are almost uniformly overlooked in legal scholarship—a black box in a discipline otherwise obsessed with institutional detail.
This Article focuses upon a particularly crucial way that the structure of professional networks may shape the path of the law. Prior qualitative research suggests that networks are a crucial source of information, mentoring, and opportunity, and that those social resources are often withheld from lawyers who do not mirror the characteristics of the typically male, wealthy, straight, and white incumbents in the field. We have a common nickname for the networks that result, which are ostensibly open but often closed in practice: “Old boys’ networks.”
For the first time in legal scholarship, this Article quantitatively analyzes gender representation within a comprehensive network of judges and litigators over a significant period of time. The network studied is derived from cases before the Delaware Court of Chancery, a systemically important trial court that adjudicates the most—and the most important—corporate law disputes in the United States. Seventeen years of docket entries across more than 15,000 matters and 2,700 attorneys were collected as the basis for a massive network.
Analyzing the Chancery Litigation Network produces a number of important findings. First, we find a dramatic and persistent gender gap in the network. Women are not only outnumbered in the network but also more peripheral within it compared to men. Second, we find that law firm membership and geographical location interacts with gender—women’s positions within the network differs by membership in certain firms or residence in particular geographies. Finally, as we drill down into the personal networks of individual women, we find arresting evidence of the social barriers female Chancery litigators regularly confront: From working overwhelmingly—sometimes exclusively—with men in the early years of their careers to still being shut out of male-dominated cliques as their careers mature.
The Article’s findings set the stage for subsequent research to test the connection between gender representation in litigation networks and discrete outcomes, such as the incidence of bias in judicial opinions. It also demonstrates how subsequent research can incorporate network structure into quantitative and qualitative studies of not only gender bias but also other forms of inequality in law. With respect to policy, it provides the necessary first step to crafting normative interventions that improve equitable access to social resources by making networks more empirically concrete. With that added clarity, the network approach then allows us to calibrate remedial options available to bar associations, law firms, and individual attorneys, leaving no level of the institutional setting untouched.
January 20, 2023 in Business, Courts, Equal Employment, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Missouri House Republications Adopted Stricter Dress Code for Women, Arms Must be Concealed
Missouri House Republicans Adopted Stricter Dress Code -- Just for Women
January 17, 2023 in Equal Employment, Legislation, Women lawyers, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, January 16, 2023
NALP Publishes its Annual Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms
The National Association of Law Placement has published its 2022 data on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms.
The introduction outlines the findings and conclusions of this important annual report:
Overall, women and people of color continued to make measured progress in representation at major U.S. law firms in 2022 as compared with 2021, according to the latest demographic findings from the analyses of the 2022 NALP Directory of Legal Employers (NDLE) — the annual compendium of legal employer data published by NALP. At the associate level, women now make up almost half of all associates — and will soon likely become the majority based on the summer associate demographics — where women have surpassed the 50% threshold for the past 5 years.
By race/ethnicity, Black associates saw the biggest year-over-year increase in representation, up by more than half of a percentage point to 5.77% of all associates. Likewise, Black summer associates saw large gains this year, increasing by 0.7 percentage points to 11.85% of all summer associates. The share of summer associates who are women and/or people of color continues to exceed that of associates by 6-15 percentage points, suggesting that the associate ranks will persist in their diversification over the next few years.
Progress at the partnership level has moved at a more sluggish pace, particularly for women of color. Black and Latinx women each continued to account for less than 1% of all partners in 2022. The percentage of Black partners overall increased by just 0.1 percentage points, from 2.22% of all partners in 2021 to 2.32%. Latinx partners experienced a similar increase, growing from 2.86% of all partners in 2021 to 2.97% in 2022.
January 16, 2023 in Law schools, Race, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, December 12, 2022
Susan Saab Fortney on "Taking Courthouse Discrimination Seriously: The Role of Judges as Ethical Leaders"
Susan Saab Fortney has published Taking Courthouse Discrimination Seriously: The Role of Judges as Ethical Leaders in volume 70 of the Kansas Law Review (2022). The abstract provides:
Sexual misconduct allegations against Alex Kozinski, a once powerful judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, spotlighted concerns related to sexual harassment in the judiciary. Following news reports related to the alleged misconduct, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. charged a working group with examining safeguards to deal with inappropriate conduct in the judicial workplace. Based on recommendations made in the Report of the Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group, the Judicial Conference approved a number of reforms and improvements related to workplace conduct in the federal judiciary. The reforms included revising the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. As amended, the Code of Judicial Conduct for U.S. Judges now clearly states that judges should neither engage in, nor tolerate, workplace conduct that is reasonably interpreted as harassment, abusive behavior, or retaliation for reporting such conduct. Under this provision, judges should not turn a blind eye to others’ misconduct, but should accept their responsibilities as ethical leaders committed to a diverse, inclusive, and respectful workplace where harassment is not tolerated. Drawing on the Report of the Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group, related studies, and a survey of state codes, this article examines areas where state Codes of Judicial Conduct and related procedural rules should be revised to address more effectively the serious problems of harassment and other workplace misconduct at the courthouse.
December 12, 2022 in Courts, Equal Employment, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Study Shows Women Lawyers Rarely Litigate Patent Cases
Paul Gugliuzza & Rachel Rebouche, Gender Inequality in Patent Litigation, 100 N.C. L. Rev. 1683 (2022)
This Article presents an empirical study of gender diversity—or, more accurately, the lack thereof—among the lawyers who handle patent cases in the federal courts, focusing on appellate litigation at the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court. Drawing on two original datasets, the Article finds that, over the past decade, 87.4% of oral arguments in patent appeals at the Federal Circuit have been presented by men. The numbers are similar at the Supreme Court: over the past thirty years, more than 90% of arguments in patent cases have been delivered by male attorneys.
The typical explanation for these sorts of gender gaps is that men are disproportionality represented in the science and technology fields that underlie patent practice. But a closer look at the numbers shows that gender parity exists in specific areas of patent litigation. Until a recent retirement, half of the Federal Circuit’s twelve active judges were women, and the women on the court tend to have more pre-appointment experience in patent law than their male counterparts. In addition, the data collected for this study demonstrate that, when the government becomes involved in patent litigation (usually because a case involves the Patent and Trademark Office), women present oral argument at the Federal Circuit 48.5% of the time—more than five times as frequently as the rate for private-sector litigants.
The story this Article tells—of women being largely absent from high-level patent litigation—is actually a story about gender inequality among the lawyers hired by large corporations, particularly the Federal Circuit’s most frequent litigants, including Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung, all of which have been represented by women in less than 15% of their arguments over the past decade.
Figuring out why women rarely litigate patent appeals for private-sector clients is challenging, but the disparity between law firms and the government parallels inequalities in law practice more generally. To that end, this Article suggests both small steps that would increase gender balance among the lawyers arguing patent cases as well as broader structural reforms that would improve diversity across the bar.
December 1, 2022 in Business, Courts, Gender, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, November 11, 2022
Different Facets of Feminist Lawyering in India
Shalu Nigam, Different Facets of Feminist Lawyering in India
Much is being written about feminist lawyering in the West, but what is the purpose of feminist lawyering in the patriarchal context in third-world nations? While reflecting on case laws and activism in India, this essay argues that feminist lawyering in a profoundly hierarchical society is a much broader concept than that of traditional lawyering where a lawyer works not to `win the case’ but aims at the larger goals of eliminating inequalities, eradicating oppression, challenging sexist stereotypes, abolishing fascism and addressing conditions that perpetuate domination. In a society, where citizenship rights are denied to specific groups based on social parameters such as gender, race, caste, class or religion, feminist lawyering in such a context has to be understood broadly as a practice that supports those on the margins while holding the state accountable. It is about questioning the androcentric norms within and outside the courtrooms, asking the law, courts and society to be sensitive about gender concerns and to recognize and enforce the citizenship rights of half of humanity. This essay concludes that the purpose of feminist lawyering is to negotiate and contest the rights at various levels where feminist lawyers strive to transform the androcentric law and the layered, hierarchical society with the aim to enforce constitutional provisions of equality, liberty and social justice in reality.
November 11, 2022 in International, Theory, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, October 24, 2022
Gender Disparities in Law Firm Partner Pay
The ABA Journal reports on ongoing disparities in law firm partner pay with some movement toward lessening the gap.
The average male law firm partner earns 34% more than the average female partner, which is less of a differential than in prior years, according to a survey by recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa in association with Law360.
Average compensation for male partners in midsize and large law firms is $1,212,000 for male partners and $905,000 for female partners, according to the 2022 Partner Compensation Survey. A summary and a link to download the survey is here.
The pay differential was 53% in 2018 and 44% in 2020.
Average partner compensation overall was $1,119,000, up 15% from 2020. Median compensation was $675,000.
October 24, 2022 in Women lawyers, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, October 10, 2022
Bloomberg Law on "Women's Big Law Exodus"
Ayanna Alexander published an article for Bloomberg Law titled, Women's Big Law Exodus Picks Up Pace in Blow to Diversity Hunt. The article summarizes data published by Leopard Solutions.
Veteran women attorneys are jettisoning Big Law in favor of in-house jobs at a higher rate, an accelerating trend that hits top law firms at a time when they’re fighting to improve their diversity.
In 2021, only 35% of women who left one of the top 200 law firms in the US joined another Big Law firm . . . . Through the first nine months of 2022, that number has shrunk to 28%. Moving to in-house positions remains the most popular second choice for women who say that gives them more control over their careers.
* * *
Big Law firms intending to improve their diversity need to consider the factors driving women away from their ranks, which may mean taking a harder look at how firms are structured and operate, said Sonya Olds Som, the global managing partner for the Legal, Risk, Compliance & Government Affairs practice group at executive search firm Diversified Search Group, which also places in-house attorneys.
October 10, 2022 in Women lawyers, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, September 16, 2022
Study Tracks the Progress of Women's Representation and Achievement in Law Schools 1948 to 2021
Elizabeth Katz, Kyle Rozema & Sarath Sanga, Women in U.S. Law Schools, 1948-2021
We study the progress of women’s representation and achievement in law schools. To do this, we assemble a new dataset on the number of women and men students, faculty, and deans at all ABA-approved U.S. law schools from 1948 to the present. These data enable us to study many unexplored features of women’s progress in law schools for the first time, including the process by which women initially gained access to each law school, the variance in women’s experiences across law schools, the relationship between women’s representation and student achievement, and the extent to which women occupy lower status faculty and deanship positions. We contextualize our findings by situating them within the vast qualitative literature on women’s experiences in law schools and the legal profession.
See also ABA J, Law School Achievement Gap by Gender for Faculty and Deans Examined in New Paper
September 16, 2022 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
New Book Lady Justice Tells the Stories of Women Lawyer Heroes from the Last Few Years
New Book, Dahlia Lithwick, Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America
September 16, 2022 in Books, Courts, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, September 12, 2022
ABA Survey on the Impact of Raising Children on Legal Careers
The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession is conducting its first-ever survey studying how raising children impacts legal careers.
The American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, joined by many other national affinity bars and regional bar associations, seeks your help in this first-ever national survey for understanding the impact of raising children on legal careers. We are seeking participation by men and women, both with and without children.Your participation will contribute to understanding how different policies and practices can help lawyers with children navigate their careers, and how employers can create better workplace cultures that benefit all lawyers.Please complete the Survey by September 28 at 11 p.m. Eastern/10 p.m. Central/9 p.m. Mountain/8 p.m. Pacific time.
September 12, 2022 in Women lawyers, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, July 7, 2022
Misattribution of Authorship in Legal Work Masks Women's Efforts and Contributes to Gender Gap in Legal Profession
Jordana Goodman, Ms. Attribution: How Authorship Credit Contributes to the Gender Gap, Yale J. Law & Tech. (forthcoming)
Misattribution plagues the practice of law in the United States. Seasoned practitioners and legislators alike will often claim full credit for joint work and, in some cases, for the entirety of a junior associate’s writing. The powerful over-credit themselves on legislation, opinions, and other legal works to the detriment of junior staff and associates. The ingrained and expected practice of leveraging junior attorneys as ghost-writers is, to many, unethical. But it presents a distinct concern that others have yet to interrogate: misattribution disparately impacts underrepresented members of the legal profession.
This Article fills that space by offering a quantitative analysis of gendered disparate impact of normative authorship omissions in law. Using patent practitioner signatures from patent applications and office action responses, which include a national identification number correlated to the time of patent bar admission, this work demonstrates how women’s names are disproportionately concealed from the record when the senior-most legal team member signs on behalf of the team. This work illustrates that, when women reach equivalent levels of seniority, they do not overexert their power to claim credit to the same extent as their male peers. This parallels sociological findings that competence-based perception, accent bias, and perceived status differentiation between male and female colleagues can manifest in adverse and disparate attribution for women. The gender gap in the legal profession is exacerbated through this practice by falsely implying that women do less work, are more junior, and do not deserve as much credit as their male colleagues.
Addressing the failure of current practices requires cultural changes and regulatory action to ensure proper and equitable attribution in scholarship, doctrine, and industry. Legal obligations to maintain the integrity of the legal profession must include these affirmative steps to remedy de facto and de jure discrimination.
July 7, 2022 in Equal Employment, Legislation, Technology, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)