Podia and Pens: Dismantling the Two-Track System for Legal Research and Writing Faculty
Columbia Journal of Gender & Law, Vol. 31, Issue 1, p. 47-64, 2015
Posted: 10 May 2017 Last revised: 26 Jan 2020
Date Written: 2015
At the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting, a panel was convened under this title to discuss whether separate tracks and lower status for legal research and writing (LRW) faculty make sense given the current demand for legal educators to better train students for practice. The participants included law professors, an associate dean, and a federal judge. Each panelist was asked to respond to questions about the “two-track” system — a shorthand phrase for the two tracks of employment at many law schools whereby full-time LRW faculty are treated differently than tenured and tenure-track faculty. The panelists represented differing views on the topic. This article grows out of the conversation, information, and ideas that emerged.
Under increasing economic pressure to attract law students, law schools have begun to market their “practice ready” programs aggressively. Legal research and writing, as well as other skills programs, are typically featured in marketing materials and on websites. However, even as they are prominently represented in marketing efforts, LRW faculty continue to be underrepresented as full faculty members and suffer as a result, in terms of lesser job status and lower salary. The vast majority of legal research and writing faculty are women, many with similar credentials, practical experience, and teaching loads as male faculty. However, female law faculty compensation, as a whole, is significantly less than males, and their status is usually less secure.
Keywords: Legal Writing, Status, Legal Research, ABA, Gender
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