What's the Difference for Women at CUNY Law?
According to the American Bar Association, nationally women comprise 47% of law school students and 36% of law school professors. At CUNY School of Law, by contrast, two-thirds of the student body and 63% of the faculty are female!
Women in the Student Body
Our women students may come directly from college, including many who have majored in women's studies, or after varied careers. Among those in recent classes have been women who have worked as social worker, labor union officer, human resources administrator, nun, professional artist, nurse, translator, community organizer, and professional basketball player. Some have raised families, and a number have small children. CUNY, in fact, was the first law school in the country to offer an on-site child care center, which today serves children 2 1/2 to 6 years old.
The National Jurist, a magazine for law school students, has ranked CUNY Law the second best in the country for women.
Women on CUNY Law Faculty
CUNY Law's Distinguished University Professor, Ruthann Robson, is an expert in lesbian and gay jurisprudence. Dean Designate Mary Lu Bilek has a strong and long-standing background in public interest law. Dean Bilek was preceded by two scholars, Michelle Anderson, now President of Brooklyn College and an expert in rape law and former Surrogate Court Judge Kristin Booth Glen. Both women served as deans for 10 years. Female faculty at CUNY Law teach and write in many different fields, including criminal defense, immigration law, international human rights and more. Many are well known nationwide. They have written case books, important law review articles and, in the case of Professor Robson, novels and poetry. They helped author the South African Constitution, have written briefs in major cases in international human rights, and authored New York's adult guardianship statute. They sit on commissions, chair important Bar Association committees, and co-chair the Clinical Legal Education Association.
Women Making a Difference at Law School
At CUNY Law, women participate in a range of student organizations, among them the Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV), which educates teenagers in neighboring high schools about date rape and teen violence; the Children's Rights Organization; Law and Gender Equality (LAGE); and Outlaws, the lesbian and gay student group.
Third-year students make a difference for women in the community in our highly regarded clinics, representing hundreds of victims of domestic violence, including immigrant battered women, in the Battered Women's Rights and Immigrant and Refugee Rights Clinics. In the International Women's Human Rights Clinic (IWHRC), our students assist women around the world by participating in international litigation and in advocacy on gender issues at the United Nations. Several years ago, the students in IWHRC celebrated a great victory when, as a result of an amicus brief they prepared, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda charged mass rape as a crime of genocide for the first time in international law.