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The Article investigates law schools as locations of workplace fairness by examining its hierarchical structure and the power dynamics at work. Others have researched and written on the myriad ways in which “legal skills faculty” are treated unfairly as compared to those that primarily teach non-skills (or doctrinal classes) because of the subject matter that they teach and the assumptions that are made about their credentials and ability to contribute to the law school mission. Likewise, other scholars have critically examined the discrimination experienced by law school faculty members based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and other identities. What has thus far been missing is an awareness and examination of how microaggression based on one’s role in the law school is experienced by skills faculty and the detrimental effects this type of microaggression can have when ignored and compounded over time. This Article fills that gap.

The Article argues that one way in which status hierarchy play out in law schools is not only the larger discriminatory effects of pay inequity, job insecurity, and other employment metrics, but also in the everyday slights experienced by those with less power. In other words, the “papercut harms” or microaggressions inflicted by those with greater status on lesser-status faculty include comments about what they teach, their roles in the institution, their lesser status, and the perceived value of their contributions.

Publication Citation

31 Hastings Women’s L. J. 3 (2020).