How Money for Legal Scholarship Disadvantages Feminism

42 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2013


A dramatic infusion of outside money has shaped legal theory over the last several decades, largely to the detriment of feminist theory. Nonetheless, the pervasive influence of this funding is largely ignored in scholarly discussions of legal theory. This denial helps reinforce the marginal position of feminist scholarship and of women in legal theory. Conservative activists and funders have understood the central role of developing community culture and institutions, and have helped shift the prevailing framework for discussion of many questions of theory and policy through substantial investments in law-and-economics centers and in the Federalist Society. Comparing the institutional resources and structures of support for feminist or gender scholarship to those developed for economic analysis of law focused on free-market or neoliberal policy and business interests reveals substantial differences. Further, much of this conservative institution building has been dominated by men and has served to promote legal scholarship by white men in particular. I conclude by considering how feminist legal scholarship might better develop institutional support despite access to much less money.

Keywords: legal theory, jurisprudence, law and economics, Olin foundation, feminism, feminist legal theory, Federalist Society, critical legal studies, critical race theory, Cass Sunstein, Richard Posner, gender, law schools, transparency, ethics, disclosure, conflicts of interest

Suggested Citation

McCluskey, Martha T., How Money for Legal Scholarship Disadvantages Feminism. SUNY Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-014. Available at SSRN:

Martha T. McCluskey (Contact Author)

University at Buffalo Law School ( email )

O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716-645-2326 (Phone)
716-645-2064 (Fax)

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