Law firms, the ideology of hypercompetitiveness, and gender, PLUS Jotwell.com

Well, this is a link to a link.   I wanted to highlight Jotwell – The Journal of Things We Like (Lots), and this way I can cram two good things into one short post.

First, Jotwell – a really neat (if highly US-centric) idea for a blog. Here is the Jotwell Mission Statement,but in a nutshell, Jotwell offers pithy and smart arguments about what you should read and why (well, part of why is that someone liked it “lots”).

Second, an article recommended by Carole Silver on Jotwell:

Eli Wald, Glass Ceilings and Dead Ends: Professional Ideologies, Gender Stereotypes, and the Future of Women Lawyers at Large Law Firms, 78 Fordham L. Rev. 2245 (2010) (part of a symposium, The Economic Downturn at the Legal Profession).

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Canadian Lawyer Mag lists the top 25 most influential lawyers: department of predictability

So, Canadian Lawyer has provided law geeks across the country with something to argue about.  Anything to increase readership, right? On that front, at least, we agree.

Here’s my take (there are also regional takes, of course, including a sharply worded critique from a Quebec lawyer who was on the judging panel): The list includes 4 women (the Chief Justice, at the top of the list, Justice Abella, Sheila Block and Marlys Edwardh), one person of colour (Julian Falconer), as far as my knowledge goes, and (again, as far as I know) no Indigenous lawyers.  lawyers with disabilities. (i skipped a page, it seems, and as a lawyer i have trouble with counting). However, David Lepofsky, who is blind and works ceaselessly as an advocate for people with disabilities, is included.

Click the picture to see the article, or click here. The panel that chose the list is noted on the last page.

Why don’t we open up the comments on this one – any thoughts?

  • On the one hand, given the Ornstein report, is this just an accurate description of a profession in which racialized lawyers and women are usually relegated to positions which lack influence, not to mention high pay?
  • What about the methodology of measuring influence (something I’m struggling with in thinking about teaching/mentoring) – what counts? I’ve included the criteria below. In making their list, Canadian Lawyer said it was about both power and influence. What about innovative and inspirational practitioners?
  • What is the meaning of lists like these in constructing the profession? Do lists like these make an already closed profession more so? Or is the list just a meaningless marketing device?
  • What about an alternative list? Who would you nominate? Leaving academics out of it (i’m making a safe assumption about readership here), can we put together a list of people who could/will/should be the most influential in 10 years?

In general, we thought we’d avoid opening comments on this blog, for reasons that perhaps I’ll blog about later this week.  But let’s try one baby step here. If you can correct any of my errors, please do.  Otherwise, let’s think about metrics and alternatives. Maybe we can do a monthly feature on people who SHOULD be influential, but won’t make it past most of CL’s criteria:

Who are behind cutting-edge advocacy and getting the ear of government? The judiciary obviously wields power but who hold positions that really have an impact? It’s about respect, ability to influence public opinion, and help shape the laws of this country; contribution to the strength and quality of legal services; and social and political influence and involvement. It can include politicians and regulators, but only if they are lawyers and are still in the legal field. (from Canadian Lawyer Magazine)

[Call for Papers] Indigenous-African relations across the Americas

This conference is happening at York in 2011, the Centre for Feminist Research is involved and the main organizer is York Indigenous Studies Professor Bonita Lawrence.

Our Legacy: Indigenous-African Relations Across the Americas
April 29, 30 and May 1, 2011  York University, Toronto, Canada

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