Dan Subotnik


How much fire, if any, is there to charges, first leveled more than fifteen years ago and continuing today, that a harsh law school culture oppresses women faculty? As Martha Chamallas, a well-known feminist law critic, writes,—and perhaps professes in class as well—“[f]or both new and senior women law professors, gender bias is still a major fact of life.”... After evaluating the complaints against law schools, which I spell out below—and renouncing any presumption in my favor—I conclude, unindignantly, that the charges are almost entirely unproven...The principal charges leveled against the male establishment in terms of hiring, retention and promotion are: (1) that women faculty are discriminated against in initial appointments, judging by the rank they are assigned; (2) they have been “steered” into non-prestigious fields such as trusts and estates instead of constitutional law, and this undermines their careers and the educational process; (3) they have been steered into and kept in second-class legal writing positions, largely because they are women; (4) they are penalized by an undue emphasis on scholarship, stemming from its abstract male nature, rather than on teaching on account of its hands-on, caretaking female nature; (5) they get weaker evaluations from students; (6) for this reason and others, women are not promoted and tenured at the same rate as men; (7) they are not being moved up into deanships fast enough; and (8) they are assigned a disproportionate amount of service work, which also undermines their careers.