Reason Not to Go to Law School #39

Posted in Reasons Not to Go to Law School on March 29th, 2010 by bl1y

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 (djohnson@okcu.edu) 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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