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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Keynote February 13 Symposium on the Role of Women and the Law School in Reshaping American Law

December 18, 2008 – 
United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be the keynote speaker for the symposium “Rutgers School of Law–Newark Celebrates Women Reshaping American Law” on Friday, February 13, 2009. The all-day symposium, organized by Associate Professor Suzanne Kim, is one of a series of events celebrating the school’s Centennial and its enduring commitment to teaching, scholarship, service, and opportunity.

It was at Rutgers–Newark that Justice Ginsburg, who taught at the law school from 1963 to 1972, began to think about the issue of gender discrimination and to develop into a leading scholar and advocate for women’s rights. The contributions of Justice Ginsburg and other lawyers to addressing gender discrimination by the legal system and the profession are told in the new book Equal: Women Reshape American Law (Norton, February 2009). Opening remarks at the symposium will be delivered by the book’s author, Fred Strebeigh, a Yale University professor of non-fiction writing. He will discuss his research and the integral role of Rutgers School of Law–Newark in advancing gender equity for women.

The morning panel will focus on the pioneering contributions of women at the law school. Speakers will be: Diane Crothers, Esq. ’74, co-founder of the Women’s Rights Law Reporter and Deputy Commissioner for Citywide Equal Employment Opportunity, New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services; Janice Goodman, Esq., former director, Rutgers Women’s Rights Litigation Clinic; Diana Guza-Wells (Rigelman) ’72, J.D., M.D., who, as a Rutgers law student, was involved with Justice Ginsburg’s first gender discrimination work on behalf of Nora Simon; and Professor Emerita Annamay Sheppard ’58, faculty member in the Women’s Rights Litigation Clinic.

Two panels will follow Justice Ginsburg’s keynote luncheon address. In the first, women who feature prominently in Equal: Women Reshape American Law will discuss their successful litigation and legislative efforts in the areas of pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, and violence against women. Speakers will be: Professor Sarah E. Burns, New York University School of Law; Professor Sally F. Goldfarb, Rutgers School of Law–Camden; Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon, University of Michigan Law School; Professor Victoria Nourse, Emory University School of Law and the University of Wisconsin Law School; Professor Susan Deller Ross, Georgetown University Law Center; and Professor Wendy Webster Williams, Georgetown University Law Center.

The second panel will focus on the history of women in the legal profession. Speakers will include: the Hon. Marilyn H. Loftus '61 (Ret.), Appellate Division, New Jersey Superior Court, chair of the first judicial gender bias task force in the country; Diane Serafin Blank, Esq., the named plaintiff in a class action lawsuit challenging Sullivan and Cromwell’s hiring practices as discriminatory against women; Ann Berger Lesk ’77, a partner of Fried Frank and president of the New York County Lawyers’ Association; Professor Twila Perry, Rutgers School of Law–Newark; Lynn Hecht Schafran, Esq., senior vice president and director, National Judicial Education Program, Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense Fund); and Associate Professor Diana Sclar, Rutgers School of Law–Newark..

Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon will deliver the closing remarks.

More information about the symposium, including how to register, will be announced in early January.