Search the Lounge


« The web of blog affiliations | Main | Baseball Trivia: Nicknames »

September 04, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I can't say anything about gender-based generalizations, but I know that many legal academics, some quite well known and some less well known but still, I'm sure, busy with their own projects, have been extremely generous to me with their time, help, and advice, despite the fact that I'm in no position to do anything to help them and unlikely to be in such a position. Many (but by no means all) of these people have been male. No one has specifically told me to in turn help out others, but their model certainly tells in favor of doing so.

Jacqui L.

And of course I wasn't meaning to imply that senior male colleagues have not been extremely helpful to me in the past with no expectation that I could do anything particularly helpful or supportive for them - I just noticed recently that the only people who have made a particular point of saying "pay it forward" are women. It probably doesn't mean anything at all, but I just thought it was interesting.


Way back when, I thanked my (male) professor for writing a recommendation for law school. The response I got was, basically, pay it forward. I don't know whether there is any gender disparity, but certainly a good number of men share the mentality you describe. Indeed, the legal academy almost has to function this way. Most of the people in a position to mentor are either tenured professors or tenured judges--there is really not much further up for them to go, and their proteges are unlikely to be in much of a position to help them in any case. The protege can provide flattering quotes to the media if the mentor ever comes up for Senate confirmation, and that is about it.


I am a woman just entering academia, and I have been fortunate to have receiving some very excellent and generous mentoring by a couple of male professors in my field. While I was in practice, however, my mentors were pretty much exclusively women - I am not sure what exactly accounts for this difference, other than the fact that the preeminent tenured faculty in my field are men, while the practitioners are by and large women.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad