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Women, Law, and Leadership (de Silva de Alwis)
Fall 2020   LAW 900-001  

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Meeting Times/Location
T 4:30PM - 6:30PM

Rangita de Silva de Alwis

Associate Dean for International Affairs

Additional Information
Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement



Class meets online.



Women Law and Leadership Project Meeting Times/Location: Tuesday 6:30-8:30pm; Sep 3 - Oct 18

Rangita de Silva de Alwis Associate Dean of International Affairs University of Pennsylvania Law School rdesilva@law.upenn.edu Office Hours: Tuesdays 6:00-7:00pm and by appointment

Overview This two-credit project-based seminar is for law students who aspire to leadership positions in public and private settings and is meant to address the under-examination of the leadership role of women lawyers in addressing the challenges of our time, including gender equality. Western civilization’s vision of a leader grew out of heroic epics: The Iliad and The Odyssey- a brave warrior leading by example in the Trojan War. The warrior/leader has taken hold of our public conscience, but this idea that leadership is a divine or masculine trait has long been debunked. At a time of global public reckoning, more must be done to elevate women as leaders in the public conscience. Primarily through the readings of the eminent legal scholar Deborah Rhode, we will critically examine the model of women lawyers as statesmen and leaders in the world. Despite evidence-based research that women's leadership is smart macroeconomics, unequal caregiving responsibilities, conscious and unconscious gender bias, stereotypes, and exclusion from professional development networks, reinforce women's underrepresentation in leadership both in public and private. History, too, has given primacy to powerful leadership positions of male lawyers and rendered invisible women in the law. Rhode stresses that we cannot address the problem at the individual level; instead, she argues that we need broad-based strategies that address the deep-seated structural and cultural conditions facing women. We will examine Rhode’s policy prescriptions to level the playing field and advance women lawyers as leaders. Students will critically evaluate traditional leadership theories through a gender lens: including the "Great Man" theory of leadership; Max Weber's theory of charismatic leadership; transformational vs. transactional leadership; Joesep Nye's theory of soft power/hard power leadership; Heifetz’s adaptive leadership, Rossbeth Moss Kanter's vanguard model of leadership; and Iris Bohnet's “What Work's: Gender Equality by Design”. Drawing on a broad range of biographical profiles including women lawyers in politics, public life, academia and private practice, from Hillary Clinton to Samantha Powers to Linda Addison to Crystal Nix-Hines to Martha Minow to Kim Crenshaw to Zia Mody to Wilma Wallace, students will examine diversity in leadership, and what women lawyers have done and continue to do to advance the greater public good. Through this examination, we hope to elevate women's leadership to a higher intellectual plane - and help shape a more inclusive research agenda for the next generation of leaders, leadership scholars and practitioners.

The Final Project: Application of the theory to a woman lawyer/leader. Students will study two women lawyers, her leadership values, and conduct a real-life interview over the phone or in person. Once compiled, these case studies may be published to HeinOnline database and serve as a research tool in the field of women, law and leadership accessible to other law libraries and practitioners.

Deborah Rhode will Zoom in from Stanford to co-teach.

Readings will be excerpts from: • Deborah Rhode, “Women and Leadership” • Deborah Rhode, “Lawyers as Leaders” • Deborah Rhode, “The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law” • Deborah Rhode, “Character: What it Means and Why it Matters “ • Iris Bohnet, “What Works: Gender Equality by Design” • McKinsey & Co., “Women in law firms”

A Master Class will be led by Ms. Lubna Olayan https://www.forbes.com/profile/lubna-s-olayan/#5a564310724b in her boardroom in New York, Park Avenue on October 7th from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Course Concentrations

International and Comparative Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of international and comparative law, both substantively and procedurally; Perform legal analysis in the context of international and comparative law; Communicate effectively on topics related to international and comparative law; Demonstrate an understanding of the role of international and comparative law, and their interconnection with domestic law.

Family Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of family law; Perform legal analysis in the context of family law; Communicate effectively on topics related to family law; Demonstrate an understanding of how family law affects other areas of law.

Equity and Inclusion Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Perform legal analysis in the context of topics related to equity and inclusion; Communicate effectively on the legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Demonstrate an understanding of how equity and inclusion are connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.