Looking Forward to Diversity in Legal Academia

38 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2014

See all articles by Meera E. Deo

Meera E. Deo

Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE); Southwestern Law School; American Bar Foundation

Date Written: June 12, 2014


The landmark book, "Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia" (Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. Gonzalez & Angela P. Harris eds., Utah State University Press, 2012), lays a politically deep and structurally solid foundation for further investigation into faculty diversity. Looking across disciplines and encompassing women of color from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, the book collects vignettes, personal narratives, empirical analysis, and theoretical ruminations on the current state of academia, with an interdisciplinary lens focused on women of color. In the past decade, emerging scholarship has reported on diversity in the natural sciences, engineering, and the social sciences. Yet, few empirical studies have investigated diversity among law faculty, and none have focused on women of color as the primary subjects of study.

Drawing from "Presumed Incompetent" and the few existing studies of law faculty diversity, this Article proposes a new direction for future research. The Diversity in Legal Academia (DLA) study will empirically investigate faculty diversity using mixed methods and an intersectional perspective. The central research questions focus on the unique benefits and challenges facing female law professors of color, including concerns about promotion and tenure, work-life balance, and leadership opportunities. This Article also discusses the analytical approach best suited to test the specific hypotheses proposed for future study.

Keywords: legal education, legal profession, law faculty, intersectionality, law and society, gender studies, empirical methods

JEL Classification: K19, K31

Suggested Citation

Deo, Meera E., Looking Forward to Diversity in Legal Academia (June 12, 2014). Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, Vol. 29, No. 2, p. 352, 2014, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 2449850, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2449850

Meera E. Deo (Contact Author)

Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) ( email )

1900 E. Tenth Street Eigenmann Hall
Suite 419
Bloomington, IN 47406-7512
United States

Southwestern Law School ( email )

3050 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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