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CERLP 2020 Summer Workshop Series: Nina Varsava

CERLP 2020 Summer Workshop Series: Nina Varsava

 Friday, August 21 at 12:00pm to 1:15pm

 Virtual Event

Nina Varsava, Assistant Professor of Law at University of Wisconsin, Madison, will present her paper, “What Judicial Opinions Can Tell Us About the Gender Roles and Biases of Judges on the Federal Courts of Appeals.”

Abstract

This paper presents results from an empirical study of judicial decisions across all U.S. federal courts of appeals from 2005 to 2015. The results provide evidence of systematic differences in the professional realities of men and women judges, differences that are hard to detect without a large-scale study like this one and that have been completely overlooked. It finds that women’s opinions are less likely to be published than men’s, that women’s opinions include more citations to authority and are longer, and that judges are more likely to write separately when a woman writes the majority opinion in a case. These results suggest that women judges expend more effort on their opinions than men and that women’s opinions are nevertheless treated as both less important and more controversial. The quantitative results presented here lend support to anecdotal and qualitative evidence suggesting that women judges are under disproportionate pressure to prove themselves and to appear authoritative to others. The findings also suggest that the views and work products of women on the bench receive less peer support than those of men. The paper suggests that gender bias together with entrenched gender roles are substantial sources of the gender differences that the data reveal. And it argues that, if we care about the status of women in the legal profession, we should care not only about the underrepresentation of women in the judiciary, but also and perhaps even more so about disparities that affect women who make it onto the bench.
Zoom information will be sent to those who register. If you are not on the UCI Law Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession (CERLP) mailing list and would like to receive a copy of the paper, or to request reasonable accommodations for a disability, please e-mail centers@law.uci.edu.

CERLP’s Summer 2020 Workshop Series is a forum to share and discuss works-in-progress highlighting empirical research relating to the legal profession.

About the Center
The Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession (CERLP) is committed to empirical research and public engagement on issues relating to the legal profession. The center plays an important role in connecting UCI Law with regional, national, and global communities of lawyers and scholars interested in the future of the legal profession.