April 8, 2013

A hostile environment toward women at Harvard Law School?

Women "just can't do as well" because of "the way the school is structured"?

Is it the way the school is structured or the way women are structured? Consider this analogy:
So I think what I would say to you is probably captured by the miners' canary metaphor — that the women in law school are the canary in the coal mines. So they're more vulnerable when the atmosphere in the coal mines gets toxic. The canary, because of its different respiratory system, is more likely to start gasping for air, and that's a sign that the atmosphere is toxic not just for the canary but for the miners as well. So it's a signal to evacuate.
Wouldn't it be a kick in the head if what's toxic about the structure is the demand that students grapple with analogies? A woman at Harvard is like a canary in the coal mine, a different and much more delicate species than the coal miners, but useful because the miners can see when the canaries keel over and get the hell out before they die too.

That might be sexist, saying women are far more fragile than men, structurally sensitive to the stressful environment. But that's said — watch the video at the link at 1:55 — by female lawprof Lani Guinier, so modify your understanding of the analogy accordingly.

You might have thought something like this: Harvard Law School is very competitive, and women can get in and compete equally with men, and whatever the outcome is is the way it should be. It was a tough contest, but — as Guinier conceded — men are much tougher, so more men did well, and women had their fair shot, and if the top of the class is 20% (rather than 50%) female, there's nothing at all wrong.

But maybe an excessively competitive and stressful environment is bad for everyone, and maybe women do help us all by noticing and complaining. The men, advantaged in the competition, could say keep it like this because we like winning, and it's our love for winning that drives us to win as the game becomes more and more competitive, but our culture, our civilization, is built on combining males and females. Think about the way opponents of same-sex marriage keep going back to the idea that the marriage of a man and a woman is the fundamental building block of society. Though I support same-sex marriage — individuals should be able to choose their life partner in accordance with their sexual orientation — I can see the good that flows from males and females figuring out how to live together.

I'm just trying to open up a conversation here. I'll come back to this later.

82 comments:

virgil xenophon said...

If you can't stand the heat, go back to the kitchen... (chortle)

Paddy O said...

Seems that the key question is what is the goal of law school? What is the goal of being a lawyer? What do people want from lawyers?

Brings to mind the recent discussion about women in combat. What is the goal of combat training? What is considered the key outcomes that men, or women, have to accomplish in order for the training to be successful?

Sometimes hostile environments are the precise point of the training. It's forming and highlighting the people who will be considered successful in the practice of their chosen vocation.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Not just a kick in the head but also a hole in the boat.

Alex said...

Seems the goal of leftism to create a hostile environment for non-favored groups.

Scott M said...

Can't we just have one ivy league locker room? Just one?

jr565 said...

Think about the way opponents of same-sex marriage keep going back to the idea that the marriage of a man and a woman is the fundamental building block of society. Though I support same-sex marriage — individuals should be able to choose their life partner in accordance with their sexual orientation — I can see the good that flows from males and females figuring out how to live together.

absent gay marriage, gays can't choose their life partners? When did that happen?
Somehow, because gays can't marry they are suddenly denied the right to have a long term gay relationship? Marriage does not equal choose life partner.
You can be straight and never get married and still choose your life partner.

Vet66 said...

DIscussions and dialogue are important for both sexes. Whether in a courtroom or boardroom there comes a time when someone needs to make a decision-discussion is over. Dancing around political correctness, feelings, and other social interaction requirements ignores the responsibility to make a decision. It is called leadership. Do you have the ability to lead? Otherwise, stalling makes the problem worse. Truth does not care a whit what your sex is. Poison enough canaries and you will find one that adapts and survives.

virgil xenophon said...

A friend of mine once made what I believe to be a valid point by observing that, unfair or not, women are often derided as lawyers because any attempt at intense advocacy is regarded by most potential jurors as being seen as being "shrill."

Douglas B. Levene said...

At the law school I attended, (1) final exams were blind graded, and (2) in most classes, all or most of the grade came from the final exam. If that's true at HLS, what is the precise mechanism by which the patriarchy ensures its perpetuation? How do the professors manage to give better grades to the male students if they don't know who is writing which exam? Is Prof. Guinier suggesting that female law students get psyched out by law school generally and so fall apart on the exams? In other words, what the hell is she talking about?

Renee said...

Is the goal of law to scorch the Earth to beat and humiliate opposing counsel, or to find a solution that both parties can agree upon as just? How does one value to role of the (future) lawyer?

What are the clients and society's expectations of lawyers? Does the client want revenge or closure to a particular problem?

MadisonMan said...

I'm talking to a lawyer today, a male. I didn't choose to talk to a male lawyer, but it just happened that way.

He's not a graduate of Harvard Law. I think that's a point in his favor.

Martha said...

wow

so women are like flighty birds and men do the heavy lifting
capably

this whining explanation for why women do not succeed in a traditionally male environment is not a winning strategy

and I comment as one of only 24 women students in the class of '74 at Harvard Medical School

Harvard Law School is almost 50% female but because women do not reap 50% of the awards women complain that the system is rigged against them.

David said...

Interesting that this comes up on the day Margaret Thatcher died.

Much of world is a hostile environment. Lots of competition. So Harvard is doing these women a favor. Either they will learn to toughen up and thrive in that environment (like Mrs. Thatcher did), or they will learn to seek areas where this toughness is less necessary.

If they do the latter, they can do it with gratitude that they learned enough about the world and themselves to be able to make such a choice. Or they can do it with resentment and blame the world for not being ordered to their liking.

Unfortunately many will do it with resentment, which will create a needless burden in their lives.

In any event, Harvard should not change, because the world it is preparing these ladies for will not be changing to suit (some of) their delicate preferences.

jr565 said...

Harvard Law School is very competitive, and women can get in and compete equally with men, and whatever the outcome is is the way it should be. It was a tough contest, but — as Guinier conceded — men are much tougher, so more men did well, and women had their fair shot, and if the top of the class is 20% (rather than 50%) female, there's nothing at all wrong.
Now tue this into the idea that women must be equally represented in all avenues or that there is even a glass ceiling.
You can never have parity of race and sex the way the left wants it without favoring one class over the other. In this case the women.
Lets say 10,000 people go to Harvard law split equally amongst men and women. If more men than women graduate with degrees or do better on tests they will probably then that will be how the workforce make up plays itself out. If there are simply more capable lawyers who are male than female there is nothing inherently wrong with that even though women are half the population. That's simply the way the cookie crumbles.
And expecting there to be that parity that falls along racial or sexual lines is simply stupid. I.e. expecting that if black people are 10% of the population that 10% of CEO's should be black makes little sense.
It would only make sense if every person took the exact same career path, did exactly the same on the tests and had the exact same opportunities. Otherwise people will simply pursue their interests and the statistics will simply be what they are.

You can't expect a party of outcomes.

David said...

Renee said...
Is the goal of law to scorch the Earth to beat and humiliate opposing counsel, or to find a solution that both parties can agree upon as just? How does one value to role of the (future) lawyer?


The goal varies with the situation, Renee. A great lawyer can do both.

Darrell said...

Should they just open the doors and windows and just let them fly away?

jr565 said...

So then, if women can't hack it as well at Harvard law, what does that mean? To me it means that those women that can hack it will survive and those that can't will go on to different professions, and that's ok. Because you will never get parity along sexual lines.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

God. I am so sick of women whining that life isn't FAIR and everything in the world should be scaled down or changed to suit them. They think that WORLD should cater to them, these whining disgusting women.

Instead of being a canary in the coal mine.....I suggest if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen/law school or whatever. The competition, the harsh conditions are MEANT to cull the weak from the herd. Bunch of mooing cows.

cubanbob said...

I see a disparate outcomes lawsuit in the works.

Darrell said...

Men are well known for puttinh women in harm's way just to protect their own asses. Witness Bill Clinton sending Hillary to dodge sniper fire on the runway in Sarajevo. Even Hillary--one who is known for not piling it on thick said--"We used to say in the White House that if a place is too dangerous, too small or too poor, send the First Lady." Poor women!

Bob Boyd said...

Is the environment of the Marine Infantry Officer School toxic for men and women?
50% is an arbitrary standard. I doubt she'd be calling for evacuation of the lawyer mines if more than 50% of the grads were female.

edutcher said...

They actually expect women to think at Haavahd?

These babes need to go back to barefoot and pregnant.

And no drive and no vote. If they don't want to think, let the men make the decisions.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...but our culture, our civilization, is built on combining males and females.

...I can see the good that flows from males and females figuring out how to live together.


We have figured out how to live together, and even work together in very high-stress, high-pressure fields.

AMC has a very popular show, called Mad Men, that explains it all quite nicely.

jr565 said...

But maybe an excessively competitive and stressful environment is bad for everyone, and maybe women do help us all by noticing and complaining. The men, advantaged in the competition, could say keep it like this because we like winning, and it's our love for winning that drives us to win as the game becomes more and more competitive, but our culture, our civilization, is built on combining males and females


Again, that seems so be suggesting that society wants parity of the sexes. 50/50 men/women working together in the workplace. I would certainly not argue that women shouldn't be able to work in a workplace. But you want competency not political correctness in its place.

So, if your workplace has 75% men and only 25% women, so what. Or the other way around.
How much combining must be done? What is the objective that society is hoping to achieve by that combining.
And an excessively competitive environment is not bad for the people who can compete in that environment. Some women can compete at that level. So why should they be penalized because others can't.

Darrell said...

Should any female academic who comes up with a "canary in the coal mine" analogy to women being educated or being in the workplace be shown the door? The hard bigotry of low expectations.

Darrell said...

I bet Marines will put women on point for every combat patrol.

carrie said...

Why does every co-ed outcome need to be 50/50? What's wrong with men and women being different? Can't men be better at somethings and women better at others?

Shouting Thomas said...

Only tangentially related, but since you brought up the idea of gay marriage...

I'm been studying a number of black gospel singers, and one thing jumps out at me.

The black Baptist and Pentecostal churches are adamantly opposed to gay marriage and continue to regard homosexuality according to the old biblical notions.

The way gaydom and femaleness have been linked to the black civil rights movement of the 60s has always been phony and contrived.

Please stop trying to make this link. You're lying when you try to advance it. Yes, you're lying.

Renee said...

But there are ways to achieve justice within the legal process without humiliation. It takes patience though. When a lawyer takes this move, it means the facts for the argument are not there and being an obnoxious jerk is a distraction.

Presentation matters, but a lawyer can only with with facts and the law. If you have a case, there is no need be an @ss. Being an @ss is what the client wants to see at times. They are paying good money, for you to 'fight for them'. Lawyers are trained in persuasive writing and speaking, not threatening people like the mob.

How many legal disputes just seem like one nasty pissing contest.

The Drill SGT said...

But maybe an excessively competitive and stressful environment is bad for everyone, and maybe women do help us all by noticing and complaining

Which environment resembles more closely the 6-8 years of associate hell in Big Law?

- The Harvard pressure cooker of today?

- The warmer, friendly, less stressful environment at HLS after the Feminist Lawsuit and the cave by Harvard?

If I were today's Big Law Hiring Partner, I'd want some tough as nails female (high class ranked) Harvard grads. After the suit? Not so much...

Shouting Thomas said...

Excuse me, but I have to elaborate on this, Althouse.

Since the black community, as represented by the black Baptist and Pentecostal churches, simply rejects your notion that feminism and gay activism are extensions of the black civil rights movement...

What are you doing? How do you have the cheek to keep advancing this connection as if it had some merit?

Anonymous said...

I thinks a lot of torts are simply icky. Shouldn't there be some credit for expressing how one feels about rule of civil procedure? And who is the misogynist who brought law and economics into it because there isn't supposed to be any math-type stuff? And why is so much law just mean with bad people winning like most of the time? It's all just so hostile.

Chip Ahoy said...

Building blocks is another analogy. Lame. It is not a single structure under construction.

It's more like a fabric. But it's the patchiest damn fabric, and the thread themselves are intertwined, silk spun with wool, cotton with rayon, in patches, with seams and darts and hems and quilting and rips tears and holes even while new bolts of pure and blended threads are fed into the loom weaving new patchworks.

No, wait, wait, wait, it's more like Tinker Toys, where you take these colored sticks     and jab them in the wooden circles    with holes and     make a big spindly

Seeing Red said...

After all the yammering for 60 years and "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar," one would think they would have learned to speak up in class by now. Just what are those WYMEN classes teaching?

Dumbing down Harvard, SWEET!

David said...

"How many legal disputes just seem like one nasty pissing contest."

Quite a few. That's why once in a while it's useful to chop opposing counsel into little pieces and feed the dogs with the meat. It keeps some of the other pissers from aiming at your leg.

And you don't have to be nasty to do that. Though remorselessness helps.

Zach said...

I can easily believe that the environment at HLS is toxic, and that it is more toxic than it has to be. Competitive people like to finish in first place, and often throw a few elbows along the way.

But are the goals of this movement to decrease the toxic atmosphere, or to make it more toxic in the interest of getting a result more to their liking? A few phrases from the manifesto:

Do You Accept the Status Quo?

Shatter the Ceiling

I became outraged

I had often felt unwelcome as a woman

patent injustice


Notably absent is a desire to increase female achievement (rather than grades) by existing standards or to change standards in a way which will benefit everybody.

The Drill SGT said...

Mickey Morrissey: [Mickey is trying to convince Frank not to take the case to trial] Do you know who the attorney for the Archdiocese is? Ed Concannon!

Frank Galvin: He's a good man...

Mickey Morrissey: He's a good man? Heh, heh, he's the Prince of fucking Darkness! He'll have people testifying they saw her waterskiing in Marblehead last summer. Now look, Frank, don't *fuck with this case!

Illuninati said...

Althouse said:
"Though I support same-sex marriage —"

Oxymoron anyone?

I suppose you also support dehydrated water. It isn't fair for backpackers that they can't have dehydrated water to carry with them.

Seeing Red said...

had often felt unwelcome as a woman


I thought the goal was to be one of the guys, getting past that female thingy? Seeing people as individuals.

OTOH, does she celebrate her vagina?

David said...

I was an "exchange" student at Sarah Lawrence as part of a coeducation experiment in the 1960's. In my summing up speech, I said that my biggest surprise was how little the students challenged each other and the professors, compared to my all male school.

I got a few yelps from the audience (and one very funny and effective takedown by one girl who actually had balls, brains and a sense of humor.) I also got a letter several days later from the (male) President of the school saying in polite terms that he completely agreed with my diagnosis of endemic passivity.

I'm not sure this proves anything about Harvard or women, but it's interesting.

Certainly I knew plenty of female lawyers who had no difficulty managing conflict or competition. Maybe it's just Harvard women who have this issue? Nah.

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...

Good.

You... runaway bride you... missing at the Obamacare feast and, so far, missing at the SSM feast.

jr565 said...

Why are there no CEO's who run oil companies who are black, is an argument I've heard before. But that is such a silly argument on its face. As if its somehow reasonable to expect that the number of CEO's of companies will conform to the population of that group. Its not reasonable.

Or, society is 50% women why are they so underrepresented in politics? As if that were a real question. As if the number of politicians in office must conform to the population numbers.
In the case of women not being represented, are the same number of women running as men? No. And of those running, how many are winning their election? In the interst of parity must we say that women must win elections 50%of the time? That's ludicrous.
So, it will play out the way it plays out, and the numbers will be the numbers.
Suppose we could get the same number of women to run as men. Lets say there were 100 people running for 50 seats and 50 were men and 50 were women. What parity are you expecting there? how will the numbers play out? What is fair?
Well fair would be whoever wins wins. And then you look at the makeup of who won and make statistical judgement about it. Whether the candidate is male or female a be interesting statistically, but for those trying to suggest that there is some social inequity because more men are in office than women is poppycock.

Why are there more blacks playing basketball than whites? Shouldn't whites have more people in the NBA than blacks simply because they are the majority?

Well, no. The world doesn't work that way. So, if we don't expect it to play out along quota lines in sports, why would we expect it anywhere else.

Renee said...

David, But wouldn't rathe see the Judge humiliate opposing counsel? It's their call, if someone is out of line.

Bruce Hayden said...

Don't have any compassion for women whining about law school or the practice of law. Lawyers are hired guns, and part of their job is to represent their clients vigorously. And sure, there are non-confrontational jobs in the field, most will have to face confrontation on occasion throughout their careers.

This isn't new. Back 25 or so years ago when I was in LS, couldn't figure out why a lot of the women were there. Figured that if they couldn't survived being called in class w/o breaking down or hiding, they didn't belong in a field where judges rule as absolute authorities and opposing counsel use intimidation as a standard weapon.

My best LS story though was in Con law, where the prof required some women to support the dissent in Roe v Wade. How dare him. Most of the women and even some of the guys marched on the dean, demanding retribution. He asked what remedy did they want? A regrade of their final? A new final? Well, no, said their spokeswoman, who had the highest grade in the class. They wanted blood, but the prof had tenure, and that was it. Turns out that he was quite liberal, but was able to put that aside in class. The feminazis in the class couldn't, which is why I was ostracized after refusing to sign their silly petition.

Bruce Hayden said...

Don't have any compassion for women whining about law school or the practice of law. Lawyers are hired guns, and part of their job is to represent their clients vigorously. And sure, there are non-confrontational jobs in the field, most will have to face confrontation on occasion throughout their careers.

This isn't new. Back 25 or so years ago when I was in LS, couldn't figure out why a lot of the women were there. Figured that if they couldn't survived being called in class w/o breaking down or hiding, they didn't belong in a field where judges rule as absolute authorities and opposing counsel use intimidation as a standard weapon.

My best LS story though was in Con law, where the prof required some women to support the dissent in Roe v Wade. How dare him. Most of the women and even some of the guys marched on the dean, demanding retribution. He asked what remedy did they want? A regrade of their final? A new final? Well, no, said their spokeswoman, who had the highest grade in the class. They wanted blood, but the prof had tenure, and that was it. Turns out that he was quite liberal, but was able to put that aside in class. The feminazis in the class couldn't, which is why I was ostracized after refusing to sign their silly petition.

Darrell said...

Women forged in the Easy Bake Ovens of Ivy League academia. The LED models.

jr565 said...

Therefore, I'm all for women and men working together. But the same way that I'm all for blacks and whites working together on a basketball team. What is the racial makeup of that team? Whatever the racial makeup of the team is, no more no less.
If a team can only seem to field white people or black people they probably aren't doing a very good job hiring. But I can't even say that for sure.

Renee said...

"My best LS story though was in Con law, where the prof required some women to support the dissent in Roe v Wade. "

I don't get it, isn't that the professor's duty for students to understand both sides of the argument?

Shouldn't the female law students be grateful that the professor was challenging them in an academic exercise?

Over at iCivics, they even have an interactive educational game in which a 7th grade middle students learns that there are arguments on both sides with weigh.

How can you fully understand a case, if you willfully play blind to the strengths of the opposing side?

How can you write a legal memo, analyzing the law when your ideology holds you back?

jr565 said...

Why are certain teams so white?like the Hoosiers. Is that automatically racist? Well, how many blacks live in the state? Of those blacks living in the state how many are trying out for basketball? Of those blacks applying for as pot how many are good enough to play.
So if your town just happens to be mostly white, odds are your basketball team will be white too. How many whites are on the inner city basketball team from Harlem?
How many Jamaicans are bobsledders? racism!

jr565 said...

"My best LS story though was in Con law, where the prof required some women to support the dissent in Roe v Wade. "

who wrote the dissenting opinion, and why should we care. Its not as if they serve on the Supreme Court or anything. Oh wait...

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Lani Guinier "lost" the competition to be the first minority woman law professor at Harvard Law School to Elizabeth Warren, so maybe she knows more on this subject of unfair competition at Harvard than she is saying.

Freeman Hunt said...

If I'm hiring a lawyer, I want one who can stand up to extreme pressure, who can weather a toxic environment and thrown elbows. I am certainly not the only one.

Sofa King said...

You know where else there's a toxic environment with an extreme underrepresentation of women? Actual coal mines. Get on that, ladies.

pdug said...

the law review is where the competition seems the fiercest.

Almost seems like the ladies just want some kind of proportional representation at the law review. I guess it would have to be appointed by an authority (how does it work now?)

Ann:

our culture IS based on combining male and female: but that refers to marriage partnership and child-rearing. It doesn't have reference so much to career.

Soldiers defend the civilization of men and women combining. Women are that which is protected, so that there may be combination later.

ISTM if all careers are equal combinations of men and women, you end up, just mathematically, with less functional marriage.

[wasn't there some business a bit ago of how "unfair" it was that married male professors sometimes had wives that were supporting their careers and success, but professional women, marrying hypergamously, had husbands who focused on their own career success. The male profs had a competitive advantage, see.]

God made woman a "helper" for man and woman to glorify God together.

Roger J. said...

on this sad day when Dame Thatcher died, this post seems to be woefully out of place.

Mark O said...

Just let everyone in. Draw names from a hat. Then, make it pass/fail with no fails. Finally, assign to Cravath based on a combination of height and eye color.

How can a majority become an insular minority?

Bruce Hayden said...

Renee - but a lot of judges figure that we are all big boys and girls now, and so don't bother.

My father being a lawyer, grew up around a lot of them, and thus a lot of judges too. My mother's Thurs. hiking club had the wives of two felony level trial judges in it (and I got stuck right after graduation with both of them in a rainstorm, with both of them whining about how many lawyers there were, how badly prepared they were, etc.). They have seen everything, and are some of the biggest cynics around.

Do almost no litigation, but did do a week long jury trial a decade ago. All by myself. Great fun. The trial went like this - opposing counsel would be the epitome of nice before the jury, then on occasion, would object. Jury would be led out, the door would close, and he would explode. I was apparently the lowest of low. Judge should immediately find me in contempt and lock me up. Etc. taken a bit aback the first time, but by the 3rd noticed the judge rolling his eyes at these antics. Then I got even, asking for a directed verdict after he rested his case. Seems that he hadn't been looking at the jury instructions, which are a checklist of what he needed to show. Got my revenge when the judge dismissed most of his claims and then told him that regardless of how well I did in my counterclaim, plaintiffs were not going to be the prevailing party and thus weren't getting legal fees. Saw him a bit later in his car crying. It is a small county, this attorney is in front of this judge a lot, and his firm had a reputation about gouging on their fees.

I am sure that a lot of the attorneys here have much better stories, but my takeaway was that the judge expected me to "man up" and take care of myself, that he was going to ignore most of the antics of the attorneys in front of him, and do his job, but if he could put one of the more egregious attorneys in his place while doing so, he would.

chickelit said...

@roger: Just look at it as a last harrumph.

Anonymous said...

Women want to be treated equal, but whine 'oh I'm so vulnerable, please change the standards for me' when the going gets tough.
Either do what men have to do, or STFU and make me a sammich.

Bruce Hayden said...

the law review is where the competition seems the fiercest.

Summer between 1L and 2L started the write-on process for law review (for those of us not in the top 10%). First assignment was Bluebooking something (making sure the form and content of the cites were correct). Didn't get the results for the longest time. Turns out there was a bit of collaboration going on, which translates to cheating. Remember thinking at the time that they should have told the perps that they were going to report it to the bar authorities, which meant likely wouldn't pass the character requirement for admission. Don't think they did though, but the perps also didn't make it onto law review. This was really the only cheating I experienced there, excluding the occasional case razored out of a case book.

Peter said...

'Dust Bunny Queen' said, "The competition, the harsh conditions are MEANT to cull the weak from the herd."

Well, that's one reason. After all, it's a competitive world and it always will be. If you can't handle competition in school, how are you going to handle competition when you get out of school?

But, the other reason is, we compete because competition makes us better.

People just don't push themselves quite as hard when they're not competing; honest competition brings out higher levels of effort and performance than are possible without it. And greater effort and performance lead to greater achievement.

And, yes, competition also creates losers. Losers can either lose permanently by quitting, or they can use the loss to figure out how to do better next time.

Competition is desirable as well as necessary because competition makes us better.

Nomennovum said...

"But maybe an excessively competitive and stressful environment is bad for everyone, and maybe women do help us all by noticing and complaining. The men, advantaged in the competition, could say keep it like this because we like winning, and it's our love for winning that drives us to win as the game becomes more and more competitive, but our culture, our civilization, is built on combining males and females."

Gosh! Another problem with feminism. You know what? Saying that men are competitive and that women are not is complete bullshit. It's bullshit on stilts. Women are very competitive. It can be seen daily by even the most blind. They problem is, women generally can't compete with men on a level playing field and win. So, they must bring out the bulldozers, whine and complain about how competitive men are*, and tilt the playing field to their advantage.


______________
* The ol' shame tactic. Even tough feminists use it. Real men give women a break.

Michael said...

Roger J has a great point but one that should be exploited in honor of Dame Thatcher. She competed and won in a hugely competitive game and then took the game to the world stage and won again. She did not spend much time whinging about the difficulty in getting to where she got and would be appalled at the notion that women admitted to Harvard law would find reason to complain about their outcomes. Apparently the ladies at Harvard law are made of stuff other than iron.

Michael said...

My wife traded bonds for years. There is no more rowdy, misogynistic, loud, stressful and competitive place in the world than a bond desk. She survived it. I wouldn't say she thrived but she survived and did well. She admits that she was not as good at the game as the men for reasons that she couldn't exactly pin down. I think it was mainly a matter of risk. Men are more inclined toward taking it and weighing it rapidly.

David said...

No matter what Liz Warren says, Lani Grunier was a "first" minority at Harvard. This wonderful sentence is the second sentence on her Wikipedia page:

The first Jewish/African-American woman tenured professor at Harvard Law School, Guinier's work includes professional responsibilities of public lawyers, the relationship between democracy and the law, the role of race and gender in the political process, equity in college admissions, and affirmative action.

Her mother was a highly educated Jewish woman from New York. Her black father was Jamacian, and at one time a professor at Harvard himself. She went to Radcliffe and Yale Law School.

In short she has no family or life experience connection with average American blacks, or even above average ones. She's the perfect Harvard minority admit and hire. (An astonishingly large percent of Harvard black students are of mixed race parentage, the sons or daughters on non-American blacks or first generation black immigrants from elsewhere.)

She's made a great career of this without ever having been oppressed in her life. Did she get some racial insults? Sadly, probably so. But this woman has no idea of what oppression is or what it's like to come from an underclass.

With hustler role models like Liz and Lani, no wonder Harvard women are confused.

Rob said...

Ann has drifted into apostasy by ignoring the articles of faith. Let me state them simply. There are numerous qualities in which women are superior to men. They're more nurturing, more in touch with their feelings, more intuitive, etc. We can openly discuss and celebrate these differences between the sexes; in fact, we can lament men's deficiencies.

There are, however, no qualities in which men are superior to women. Women are every bit as tough, as logical, as competitive. In fact, it's verboten even to talk about the possibility that there may be desirable traits which men on average possess in greater measure than women.

Once we have these articles of faith firmly moored in our belief systems, we can proceed to practical applications of gender differences, such as why it's desirable for a woman to have some money set aside that she doesn't tell her husband about but outrageous if the husband has some money set aside that he doesn't tell his wife about.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great. I don't like Harvard in any event, so if they wish to cripple their law school, I'm all in favor of it.

Alex said...

Rob - more intuitive on what? Men are almost 100% behind the technological innovations which require great intuition.

David said...

Renee, it's not out of line to humiliate opposing counsel, as long as you are not abusive. The humiliation comes in having the weaknesses in your case, or your self, exposed.

I once had an opposing counsel from a supposedly top tier law firm falsely claim (twice) an illness to avoid a hearing on a motion for summary judgment on a case counsel had brought with great bombast and publicity. We did nothing to humiliate him other than amass evidence that destroyed his case. It was a case that never should have been brought, and it cost my client many hundreds of thousands of dollars to win it.

That lawyer was humiliated. He soon had (or claimed) a nervous breakdown and eventually left his firm. I did not feel sorry for him, nor did I ever act disrespectfully towards him, though he merited very little respect.

This case had special meaning to me because the matter involved was a transaction that I had negotiated and documented. (The opposing lawyer had tried and failed to have us disqualified as trial counsel on that basis.)

My trial counsel in the matter was a tiny and quite young woman in our firm. She had been a elementary school teacher before going to law school. She handled everything without bombast or exaggeration, but always effectively. She went on to a greatly successful career using this same approach.

Anonymous said...

Women "just can't do as well" because of "the way the school is structured"?

Women "just can't do as well" because of "the way Obama's White House is structured".

Palladian said...

The world would be better off if everyone at Harvard Law School failed.

Jon Burack said...

It is little short of astounding to me that a woman at Harvard Law School can with a straight face consider herself a victim of injustice because she feels insecure about her standing or performance. Do these women have any sense of how this appears to the ordinary working grunt with little hope of ever seeing his kids, boys or girls, get into an Ivy League school or even close? I guess I am suggesting that if ever the advice "suck it up and deal" were in order it is in order here.

Secondly, as to Socratic method. I will defer to Ann. Except it seems to me our legal system is an adversarial one. So I find it fairly reasonable, Lani Guinier notwithstanding, to have students model adversarial arguing via the Socratic method. Or perhaps the complaint is this is too Western Civ and Eurocentric for our sensitive global ears now.

Sigivald said...

But maybe an excessively competitive and stressful environment is bad for everyone, and maybe women do help us all by noticing and complaining.

Possibly.

On the other hand, as far as I know, the actual practice of law at the high level (I assume Harvard grads aren't intending to be making form-letter wills all day?) is also competitive and stressful.

If that is so, it seems like law school should reflect that, or it's doing eventual graduates a disservice by not preparing them for it - or not giving them an early signal to get out of the gig.

(Or, "what Paddy said".)

ed said...

Thank goodness we are all made aware of how disadvantaged women are yet again.

Bruce Hayden said...

What must be remembered is that the two sexes have their respective strengths and weaknesses. Yes, women are, on average, probably more collaborative. But, men are more aggressive, and despite all the feminist rhetoric and wishful thinking to the contrary, this isn't going to change. We are just wired differently. Different hormones and different brain structures. Males have historically needed aggression in order to gain breeding opportunities. Females just have to spread their legs (at least at peak breeding age), and some guy will oblige. Maybe not the best, but some guy. But because of this, males are better at handling the stress of aggression, and turning it on and off. Again, much of this is wiring - something that males have needed much more than females.

So, why not just go full collaborative mode, and ignore males' drive for symbolic competition? Because nothing would get done. Or, more realistically, get done quickly enough. Imagine a platoon in combat. Either they can take and execute the orders of their officer and sergeants, or they can put everything to a vote, after giving every member a chance to be heard. As is obvious, the platoon that obeys and executes their orders is almost invariably going to do much better than the one mired in collaboration.

And, this is part of the reason that most big company CEOs, bond traders, etc. are male - aggression leads to decisiveness, while collaboration leads to dawdling, which is good for the UN, and bad for combat. A related issue is that males used to engage in combat to gain breeding opportunities. Now, the combat is now mostly symbolic, but aggression and skill are still key to winning, and, thus, winning those breeding opportunities. Being single minded wins, and is one of the reasons that males are far more willing to spend 80 hours a week for decades in their careers.

Back to aggression. Males are better at handling aggression aimed at them. They have to be, because it is part of being male - aggression from other males. It mostly isn't directed at them personally, but rather, at their place in the hierarchy, and so males can figuratively go from trying to kill each other to best friends in a heartbeat.

Why do we need to deal with aggression in today's modern society? Because it works. Know an extremely successful litigation attorney who routinely gets opposing counsel alone, for example, in an elevator, and threatens to rip off their balls. It works - the amount of money that he has made is truly scary. Good old boy in court or in public, and completely vicious in private. Not that women can't do this, because I know female attorneys whom I wouldn't want to meet in a back alley, but this comes a lot easier to males. BTW - this isn't just in law - was in-house IP attorney to a billion or so dollar business unit, and the VP running it used to use his anger as a weapon. If he wasn't getting his way, you could watch him turn red, getting ready to explode. Which he sometimes did. Not surprisingly, he usually got his way. But, he delivered, making the company a lot of money, and that is what mattered in the long run.

Bender said...

Well of course they are more vulnerable. They are all little girls. Why else would they need to have daddy and brother and every other man pay for their birth control?

A grown-up woman takes charge of her own sexuality - her body, her life. But today's little girls cannot be expected to take that responsibility on for themselves. They need to make their private business the business of everyone else - for them, in their perpetual state of infancy, it takes a village for them to play at being "women."

n.n said...

A law school is a sanctuary where the mettle of students is proven. If they fail in that "rigorous" environment, then they cannot be entrusted with the life or property of a client in the real world.

Sam L. said...

I'm betting it's hostile to students--to toughen them up and motivate the quitters.

Freeman Hunt said...

What does anyone want in a lawyer more than his ability to win?

Anonymous said...

This is so dumb that even our liberal trolls won't jump in to change the subject.

But still not so dumb that it won't get support from Harvard Law students and a prominent Harvard Law professor.

Renee said...

I love how the male attorneys are bragging in seeing others humiliated.

Nothing wrong with winning, but professional coutersy matters as well long term.

Tari said...

I'm going to print this out and give it to my 76 year old mother in law to read in front of me. I want to be there when Ms. "1 of 5 women in my B school class of 1958" and "ranked first in said B school class" sticks a pencil in her eye and starts to cry about these whiny, worthless, modern women.