Mallika Balachandran (J.D. 2018, Chicago; Sidley, New York), Roisin Duffy-Gideon (J.D. 2018, Chicago; Law Clerk, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois) & Hannah Gelbort (J.D. 2018, Chicago; Law Clerk, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), Speak Now: Results of a One-Year Study of Women’s Experiences at the University of Chicago Law School, 2019 U. Chi. Legal F. 647:
The Women’s Advocacy Project (WAP) was a research project designed and run by law students at the University of Chicago Law School (“the Law School” or “UChicago Law”) during the 2017–2018 academic year—the first study of its kind to be conducted there. WAP collected data in an attempt to accumulate a rich and detailed set of information about women’s experiences at the Law School. WAP had four primary research components: classroom observations, achievement data collection, a student survey, and professor interviews. The project represents the efforts of over seventy law students. This article, written in the fall and winter of 2018, is a condensed version of WAP’s initial report. Readers interested in more detailed information about WAP’s methodology, findings, and recommendations should access the report here.
WAP found significant differences between men’s and women’s experiences at the Law School, many suggesting that women still face considerable roadblocks and hurdles in legal education there. For example, women graduate with honors proportionately less frequently,
participate voluntarily in class less,
and are less likely to be satisfied with their law school experience than men.
The data, however, also showed that women have made significant strides at the Law School.
WAP sought primarily to document and describe, but its initial report also offered recommendations responsive to the problems it identified. This article mentions some of those recommendations and suggests areas where further research is warranted.