Reason Not to Go to Law School #39

Women want you incompetent.

Specifically, the Association of American Law Schools Section on Women in Legal Education thinks you should be learning less law and lawyering skills while in law school.

The AALS Section on Women in Legal Education will hold a program during the AALS 2011 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, with panelists who will share methods of teaching gender in “core courses” such as legal writing, torts, contracts, corporations, federal income tax, civil procedure, contracts, or criminal law, among others not traditionally understood to include gender.  The panel will also include a paper presentation by the winner of “Teaching Gender as a Core Value” competition.

The 2011 AALS conference theme is “Core Values.”  The Section on Women in Legal Education will be focusing on teaching gender issues as a “core value.”  This includes both teaching gender across the curriculum and best practices for incorporating gender issues in the classroom.  While many in the academy are in agreement that gender issues impact a range of legal issues, what is less clear is how law faculty can successfully implement the pervasive teaching of gender in their classrooms and schools.  This program will include a variety of perspectives and will explore ways gender issues can be successfully incorporated into law school teaching.

Class time in law school is limited, so the addition of a new part of the curriculum will necessarily come at the cost of something else.  Law schools are already notoriously bad at teaching the law, and don’t do a particularly good job of teaching lawyering skills either.  The last thing they need is another completely impractical topic wedged into classes that already fail to accomplish their basic functions.

If students are interested in studying gender, they could have majored in gender studies, or can take one of the classes on gender or feminism now offered at virtually every American law school.  Note however, that while you can easily find a class covering gender, only a handful of law schools have classes that teach advanced writing skills, or how to draft a contract or a will (even if you take a wills class, you might not even see a complete will the entire semester.)

People seeking to submit papers for the program (only fully time professors are allowed) are invited to contact Professor Danne Johnson at Oklahoma City University School of law ( about this opportunity.  However, I suggest sending her a (politely worded) letter explaining that before we establish the “pervasive” teaching of gender in law school, we should first figure out how to have a pervasive teaching of law in law school.

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3 Responses to “Reason Not to Go to Law School #39”

  1. Resabed Says:

    It may come at the expense of something else, but does it matter? When discussing an unimportant footnote ad nauseum during class, I was looking at blogs like this. They want to change one footnote for another.

    Law school should only be two years, and a lot of filler is crammed in to the current model. If there is a zero sum reality where gender issues come at the expense of other issues that will not help anyone land a job, then there is nothing to worry about.

  2. Linda B Says:

    When I was a law student, I always tried to be knowledgeable about things that the professor focused on. Then, I figured it out. I married the professor, so I do not have to worry about working. He continues to go to classes, but I watch TV at home and tend to our 3 year old. He seems happy and I am too, though sometimes I wished I knew what it was to practice law.

  3. bl1y Says:

    Resabed: I agree that the current model is a lot of fluff and could be cut to two years without really losing anything. (I would argue that there be a higher number of required substantive law hours in exchange for lower total hours.)

    And yes, while this fluff might replace some other fluff, the current fluff would be desirable to “pervasive gender studies.”

    Linda: You are my idol.

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