NEW HAVEN, Conn. — After months of planning, the Women’s Law School Coalition (WLSC) announced its launch as the first inter-law school women’s advocacy organization today. The coalition’s mission is to represent a common voice for women’s law school organizations that will empower these formerly unconnected groups to raise awareness about issues affecting women in the legal profession at the national level.
Menaka Kalaskar, a WLSC founder and Stanford Law School student remarked, “We created the WLSC with the recognition that issues affecting women in our law school communities and within the wider profession are increasingly of national import and can be addressed more effectively when women’s leaders from across the country come together and map a clear way forward.” Founding WLSC law schools include: Boalt Hall (Berkeley), the University of Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, Northwestern, Stanford, the University of Virginia, and Yale.
The initial motivation for the WLSC was prompted by a March 7, 2007 Washington Post article, “Harsh Words Die Hard on the Web,” which reported on defamatory attacks wielded against female law students over an anonymous internet message board. These attacks were met with widespread condemnation by students and administrations alike and motivated letters of concern from the deans of the Harvard, Penn, and Yale law schools.
The WLSC’s first initiative is to address the rising concern over public, malicious and frightening attacks on both male and female students over online message boards. Jennifer Broxmeyer, a WLSC founder and chair of Yale Law Women, explained, “The digital world has arrived and it is here to stay as an everyday part of both our personal and professional lives. This requires us to apply long respected standards of decency in the professional school context to this new medium. For this reason, WLSC representatives are now working with law school administrations to tackle the negative effect of cyber-harassment on our communities.”
The WLSC is advocating for updates to law school and university-wide codes of conduct that will condemn this new form of harassment and provide for appropriate responses. Sarah Hoffman, a WLSC founder and a student at the Northwestern University School of Law noted, “It is important to recognize that cyber-harassment and defamation afflict countless people everyday who lack the organizational cohesiveness of the Women’s Law School Coalition. It is the WLSC’s intent that our endeavors will have a long-term and national impact on this issue – an impact that will reverberate far beyond our direct work in this matter.”
The Women’s Law School Coalition is actively looking for law schools to join the organization and for individuals to fill leadership positions. To learn more about the WLSC, please contact Jennifer Broxmeyer at email@example.com.
[tags]women in the legal profession, law school women advocacy, law school organizations[/tags]