In this episode, Professor of Law Minna J. Kotkin discusses her recent article Of Authorship and Audacity: An Empirical Study of Gender Disparity and Privilege in the Top Ten Law Reviews available at SSRN. In the article, Professor Kotkin addresses the results of a study that she conducted with the help of BLS law students to determine the extent of gender bias in the leading law reviews in the US. The article points out that law schools look to article placement as a significant consideration in hiring, promotion, tenure, and lateral mobility. The statistical study demonstrates significant gender disparity. Published women faculty authors were at 20% compared to their percentage in the national tenured/tenure-track professoriate of 31%.
Professor Kotkin offers some possible explanations for the gender disparity, including: years and subject matter of teaching; affirmative action; institutional and family commitments; and social science theories. But none fully explains the disparity. She concludes by suggesting that editorial boards examine their selection processes for unconscious bias with regard to gender and conscious bias with regard to privilege and that they consider adopting true anonymous submissions. Prof. Kotkin also considers that women academics do not pursue “audacity” techniques, such as aggressive expediting and soliciting endorsements to further article placement in elite journals.
Minna J. Kotkin has been a Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School since 1984. She is a 1975 magna cum laude graduate of Rutgers University School of Law and was Editor in Chief of the Rutgers Law Journal. She has written and lectured extensively on issues of employment discrimination and clinical legal education. A list of her many contributions to legal scholarship are available on her Selected Works page.