Nancy Gertner

Women have made great strides in the workplace over the last several decades. But one doesn’t have to look much further than these pages to see that despite all the progress, significant hurdles remain. Maybe those hurdles could be overcome if women would just listen to their firm Women’s Committees.

Or maybe women have it better off than we think. A major newspaper assembled a crack team of men and asked them if women still face discrimination in the workplace.

According to a Biglaw managing partner, women have no problems in the workplace anymore.

Maybe he forgot about those pesky sex discrimination suits his firm got slapped with….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Partner Declares Discrimination Over, Forgets Those Pesky Lawsuits”

* BarMax has launched its new app, BarMax NY for iPad — and it’s giving away one BarMax NY to a lucky law student at each law school in New York. [Yahoo Finance]

* Nancy Gertner and Stephen Shay have been named Professors of Practice at Harvard Law School. Lat wonders if Judge Gertner will wear peep-toe shoes to class. I wonder how it came to pass that I know what a peep-toe shoe is. [Harvard Law School]

* Speaking of the Crimson diploma factory, the Harvard Law Review elected its first “openly” gay president. You see where I put the scare quotes? Yeah, you know it, baby. [Harvard Crimson]

* Professor Larry Ribstein explains why Malcolm Gladwell’s an idiot so I don’t have to. [Truth on the Market]

* The latest on American Needle, from Professor Marc Edelman. [Social Science Research Network]

Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, Amy Chua's 'Tiger Cub'

* Once again, ABA president Stephen Zack seems to get why law school transparency is important. But we’re still waiting for him to actually do something to force law schools to divulge complete and accurate information. [Law School Transparency]

* A “Tiger Cub” talks about how annoying it is to live with “Tiger Mothers” like Amy Chua. You know, if some Western mother went to China extolling the benefits of a laid-back upbringing, wouldn’t the Chinese government just ban her book and get back to lending us money? I think American parents need to put Chua’s book down and go back to letting the television and nanny do their jobs. [Cornell Daily Sun]

* Confession? There’s an app for that (kinda). So, for those keeping score at home, you can pray to God via an iPhone, but you better not be texting about a CONDOM because that still pisses Him off. [Time / NewsFeed]

Disclosure: BarMax is an ATL advertiser.

Federal judges are people too — and I have proof. Earlier this week, one federal appellate judge accepted my friend request on Facebook. Another circuit judge emailed me — from a Gmail account (although we didn’t Gchat; that would have been too cool for words).

Judges are real people — with opinions, not just of the judicial kind, and with personalities. They have interesting lives — off the bench, and before they’re appointed to the bench. Judges are not grown in petri dishes, and donning the robes cannot and does not erase their personal or professional histories.

So I’m not quite sure why everyone is getting their proverbial undergarments [FN1] in a wad over a forthcoming memoir by Judge Nancy Gertner (D. Mass.). The pot was first stirred by the Boston Globe, which began its article as follows: “US District Court Judge Nancy Gertner has a memoir coming out in April, and it bears a very unjudicial title: In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate.”

“[A] very unjudicial title.” Really? Is this the Boston Globe, or the Boston Herald?

Let’s delve into the controversy….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In Defense of A Woman: Some Thoughts on the Judge Gertner Book Controversy”


Earlier today, on the Senate floor, debate took place on whether to confirm Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the nation’s 112th Supreme Court justice. The Kagan nomination is not very controversial, due to the nominee’s impeccable credentials and the Democrats’ 59 votes in the Senate.

In the legal blogosphere, a far more divisive debate is raging, over a subject just as important as confirming the fourth woman ever to the Supreme Court: Are peep-toe shoes appropriate professional footwear? Can female attorneys wear them to the office? What about to court?

The debate was ignited over at The Careerist, by Vivia Chen (no style slouch herself — not many legal journalists own floor-length mink coats). Chen recounted this anecdote:

Waiting in line in the ladies room at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel recently, I heard this discussion: “In my day, I always wore pumps to court,” said in a woman in her fifties. “Can you believe this associate went to court with open-toe shoes?” Her companion shook her head, then asked: “How did she do?” The first woman replied, “Her work was good, but her shoes weren’t right.”

Chen then surveyed a number of lawyers, from around the country, and they could not reach a consensus on the appropriateness of peep-toe shoes. The debate continued over at the ABA Journal, where a post by Debra Cassens Weiss generated a flurry of comments.

Given that so many law firms are business casual nowadays, it is probably safe to wear peep-toe shoes to the office. The fashion guidelines issued by the New York office of Weil Gotshal, for example, officially bless “open toe or open heel shoes.” (Still unacceptable: “Athletic shoes, clogs, beach shoes, flip flops, beach shoes.”)

But what about wearing peep-toe shoes to court? On this subject, we decided to turn to the experts: namely, a panel of fabulous female federal judges….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wearing Peep-Toe Shoes to Court? Women Judges Weigh In”

stephen breyer contemplative.jpgIt’s another amazingly beautiful day here in New York, and we’re blogging from Bryant Park. The temperature is in the low 70′s, there’s not a cloud in the sky, and a slight breeze is blowing. Life is good.

We don’t have much time — we’re about to run off to another New Yorker Festival event — but after sleeping on it, and reviewing our notes (’cause that’s what they’re for), we’d like to revise our earlier assessment of Justice Breyer’s interview with Jeffrey Toobin yesterday.

Although it could have been more fun, if Justice Breyer had been more forthcoming, there were actually quite a number of interesting stories and humorous moments — more than we remembered. Yesterday’s take may have been influenced by the fact that the interview’s highlights were clustered toward the beginning of the talk, and more of the bland civics-lecture material was near the end. So immediately after leaving the talk, it was the dry stuff that stuck in our mind. We’ll have more to say later about the best parts of the interview.

In the meantime, check out Ann Althouse’s great question:

David Lat gets antsy when an interview with Justice Breyer is insufficiently confessional. Why can’t he be more like Justice Scalia (or Judge Posner or Judge Kozinski)? Is there some reason the conservative judicial stars are more fun? Do liberals always have to demonstrate their circumspection?

It’s a fascinating inquiry, and one that we’ve entertained often ourselves. Do you have thoughts on why today’s leading judicial “rock stars” tend to be conservative? If so, please place them in the comments. (We’d like to see more robust debates in the comments here at ATL, like at other blogs.)

Three thoughts that we’d like to offer, before you accuse us (and Professor Althouse) of being biased in favor of conservatives:

1. There are a number of charismatic, colorful, outspoken federal judges who are quite liberal. Four examples, off the top of our head: Judge Stephen Reinhardt (9th Cir.), Judge Guido Calabresi (2d Cir.), Judge Jack Weinstein (E.D.N.Y.), and Judge Nancy Gertner (D. Mass.). So, in fairness to the left wing, let’s admit that they too have their icons.

2. Today the top judicial celebrities tend to be conservative. Is this just because the Republicans have been in power for quite some time — and because the most recent Supreme Court nominees, as well as any SCOTUS nominees in the near future, will probably be conservatives?

(Or maybe not. Judge Kozinski or Judge Posner are both brilliant, but they are unlikely Supreme Court nominees, perhaps because they are so outspoken and larger-than-life.)

3. It wasn’t always like this. Two of the most enjoyable and entertaining Supreme Court justices of the twentieth century were Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan — and they don’t come more liberal than that. (So don’t accuse us of refusing to recognize fascinating figures of the judicial left. We just feel that the best ones aren’t around today.)

Okay, gotta run. Apologies for typos or sloppy (or sloppier than usual) writing; we haven’t proofread this. Hasta luego.

“If you’ve sat through one of Justice Breyer’s civics lectures on C-SPAN… you’ve heard this all before.” [Althouse]