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Tracy Walsh

Why I joined the DePaul student chapter of the Women’s Bar Association

This past semester I took jurisprudence. I felt that was the first time in law school that women were acknowledged in the curriculum. We studied feminist jurisprudence for two weeks, and how women's rights were reflected in Irish Brehon law. I had taken women's studies and sociology courses in college. But upon entering law school, I was just immersed in the maze that was the first year and forgot what it felt like to reflect on women in an academic setting. So this year, it was very rewarding to take jurisprudence and see women's issues and ideological movements at the…

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Meghan Corman

My law school class is 60% female, but we still need a women’s student group.

I am fortunate to attend a law school where women are the majority. At Boalt Hall, approximately 60% of the students are women. Because of these numbers, I escaped many of the law school stereotypes, such as men speaking more often in class, or getting more face time with the professors. Perhaps these things do occur, however it is my perception that such gender stereotypes are not pervasive at Boalt Hall. In fact, some of my male classmates have complained that women are smarter, work harder, and get better grades, thus hurting their chances of performing well when graded on…

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CurlieTea

Hearing Voices

I grew up as the second of three daughters born to "working-class" parents. When I was younger, it was rare to see either of my parents come home from work unexhausted. Growing up, most girls my age weren't expected to contribute the type of chores my sisters and I were; my father had no sons and, as children, we did all we could to help, regardless of gender roles. Consequently, as time went on, I became quite an "atypical" young woman. I was often outspoken in the classroom. When policies or discussions concerning gender, class or ethnicity seemed illogical or…

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Tiffany Bartz

Opting out?

A feminist law student transfers from Boalt Hall to the University of Arizona, and she couldn't be happier.My law school career began at the University of California, Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. My experience there as a woman was both positive and disappointing. Although sixty percent of my incoming class was female, only about ten percent of the students who spoke in class were female. I was encouraged that so many women were entering the legal profession, but discouraged that the gender disparity, at least in regard to verbosity during class, continued.I transferred to the University of Arizona at…

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bethb

Law: A Trade or a Profession?

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, two female professors from Boston University Law School addressed this issue. Apparently, in a prior article, Cameron Stracher, publisher of New York Law School Law Review and co-director of the program in Law & Journalism, berated legal education and the qualification of law students. He argued that practicing law does not require intellectual work, that it is a skill acquirable by mere practice and repetition. Stracher discussed a paralegal who practiced law without a license, summarizing his view: “He blustered, bluffed, threatened and cajoled with the best of them. He knew the law…

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Wallflower

Getting A Real Education From Law School

(Part two of a two-part post. The first part of this post can be found here). No thinking person would believe it reasonable to train doctors to treat disease by scrupulously avoiding contact with actual human bodies that have actual diseases, disfigurements, and injuries. Doctors hold human lives in their hands, and a mistaken diagnosis or incorrect treatment can have devastating consequences. This is why we require medical students to spend hundreds of hours studying physiology and anatomy, and why we require new doctors to complete internships designed to hone skills of diagnosis, treatment, and patient care: we recognize that…

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Wallflower

Learning to be a Lawyer?

(Part one of a two-part post. The second post can be found here.) Think back to the first days of your second year of law school. In your first year, you covered the basics of civil procedure, property, torts, and contracts; in your second year, you’re ready to buckle down and learn how to practice in areas of interest to you. You know how to brief a case; you know how to spot issues. Now that you know how to discern legal problems from fact patterns, isn’t it time to learn how to deal with such problems, how to file…

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Anonymous

Gender and Study Groups

In the tumultuous life of a 1L, masking a sense of fashion and femininity should be the last thing on a woman’s mind. If women were equal to men, and their ideas held in the same esteem, perhaps it would be. It seems that despite a nation-wide effort to trump the pestilence of a patriarchal society, women are scrutinized more frequently than their male counterparts. Although during the first semester, I tried to hold onto my belief in the existence of gender equality, I could not keep the sexist reality at bay for too long. Like all 1Ls, I spent…

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Bernadette Meyler

Enfranchising the Classroom

“Why speak more than absolutely necessary in class?,” a law student might wonder with some justification. First-year exams are blind graded, and ill-phrased comments could result in embarrassment in class, or, worse, expose a student to subsequent derision among his or her peers. Women appear to take the potentially negative consequences of volunteering in class more seriously than men though. Several prominent studies have demonstrated that women speak less in law school classes, and word of mouth indicates that that tendency continues at least at some institutions. But why should this matter? The most important reason, I would contend, is…

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Callie M. Vivion-Matthews

Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

The following is the text of the graduation speech given by Callie M. Vivion-Matthews in December of 2006 at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. Her speech can be watched at http://smith4.net/Callie_0002.wmv Introduction Many of my fellow graduates told me that they voted for me to speak today because they think I am funny, and in fact, have demanded that I be so today. No pressure, right?! They want to laugh – laugh away all the anxiety and stress and craziness that has consumed so much of these last three and half years as a law students. They want me,…

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