Registration is Open: Ensuring Equality in Legal Academia: Strategies to Dismantle Caste (webinar, May 10, 2021)

Co-produced by the Sections on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research and Academic Support

The AALS Section on Academic Support and the Diversity Committee of the Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research are co-hosting a panel presentation webinar titled “Ensuring Equality in Legal Academia: Strategies to Dismantle Caste” on Monday, May 10, 2021 from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST exploring the caste system in legal education recently highlighted by Dean Darby Dickerson (UIC John Marshall School of Law) during her tenure as AALS President and memorialized in her article, “Abolish the Academic Caste System.” 

The caste system is a pernicious, but largely neglected, dynamic in legal academia.  As Dean Dickerson noted in her article, most, if not all, law schools maintain a caste system, with legal skills, academic support, and clinical faculty on the bottom rungs.  Exacerbating the problem is that these faculty members are largely women and persons of color, who do the lion’s share of work involving student interaction but are provided the least in terms of pay, job security, and respect.  The caste system in legal academia, like all caste systems, assigns value to certain members of the profession while devaluing others.  Thus, many legal skills, academic support, and other non-tenure track faculty do not get proper recognition or fair compensation for their many contributions, which inflicts harm on academic programs and law schools as a whole. 

Deans Michael Barry (South Texas College of Law Houston), Danielle Conway (Penn State Dickinson Law), Larry Cunningham (Charleston School of Law), Susan Duncan (Mississippi School of Law), and Michael Hunter Schwartz (McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific) will join moderator Dean Dickerson to discuss the detrimental impacts of such a caste system and potential solutions to the problem, with a particular focus on legal writing and academic support professors.  The panel will address how law schools and others can mobilize institutional support for skills professors, capture the value-add that skills professors bring to legal education, open up pathways to tenure, and minimize inequities.  As members of a profession that is dedicated to serving justice, eliminating the caste system is more than a matter of expedience.  It is a moral imperative. 

To register for this exciting webinar, click here.  Advanced registration is required.  Registration is free and open to anyone in the legal education community, including students, faculty, and staff.  For more information, including the presenters’ biographies and program objectives, go to AALS’ Events webpage. 

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