Toolkit for Law Schools in Preparing Law Students for Gender Bias in Practice

Katie Ahern, J.D. LL.M, Past Board Member of the NCWBA and Associate Clinical Professor of Law at the Roger Williams University School of Law presents a toolkit for law schools that are committed to addressing gender bias in our profession.  This toolkit serves as a best practice guide in addressing the lack of diversity in the legal profession caused by discrimination. Ahern’s toolkit focuses specifically on gender bias in the practice of law.  

The issue presented is that women make up approximately half of the lawyers entering the profession, however the number of women partners and leaders in the legal industry does not reflect this, at all.  Many women attorneys can attest to facing the challenges of gender bias and/or harassment in the workplace.  Being a woman in the legal profession is simply not the same as being a man — we must overcome different hurdles in trying to prove our competence and equality. 

This toolkit poses that law schools can play a major role in tackling gender bias in the legal profession in mainly two ways.  First, law schools can build awareness of the lack of gender equity in the law amongst its female students as preparation to enter the workforce.  Secondly, law schools can build awareness of the specific challenges women face in he practice of law in their male students.  The ultimate goal is to better equip the next generation with the tools necessary to overcome gender bias in the legal profession. 

This toolkit reflects the collective experience and wisdom of many attorneys and gender equity thought leaders throughout the United States and Canada.  Additionally, this toolkit provides numerous resources for law schools to aid in putting together programming for their schools to address gender bias. 

Click here to read the entire Toolkit.