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January 21, 2021


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Jessica Fink

I did not know Deborah and was only peripherally familiar with her work. However, I was familiar enough to know that she was a giant in her field. While I appreciate that no single person is ever the sole contributor in any field, I find it troubling that at a moment of remembrance for someone who clearly was a great academic, who happened to be female, we feel the need to weigh in and qualify her accomplishments by pointing out how many other male academics played a role as well.

Jeff Rice

Legal ethics is not my field and I am not entitled to have an opinion on the relative merits of one or another contributor. As a former academic bookseller I can assure you that Deborah Rhode's books far outsold those of Hazard and the other comparative figures Steve has listed, all of whom, as Professor Fink has stated, are male. When I read the obituary I was reminded of how Professor Rhode's work is widely quoted by sources with which I have used in reading on issues such as gender. I think that one needn't compare her contributions by lessening the analysis of the obituary writer, especially when those accomplishments are themselves at the top of the field. Especially when there is a gender component. Just a thought by a real outsider.


Why do you focus on gender?

Lubet gave her high praise, but simply pointed out that scholarship on "professional responsibility [w]as more than a "crib sheet."" before her contributions that are said, perhaps too strongly, to have "transformed the field of legal ethics from little more."

The fact that the earlier contributors were male is just so irrelevant. If there was an earlier female contributor that Lubet left out, perhaps your comments would make sense.

But, it doesn't seem that you even know. You are just eager to make a point about supposed gender bias without even knowing if your point is well taken. My sense is that implication of such bias is bogus. If an earlier contribution was female, Lubet would have mentioned her, I'm sure.

Perhaps pointing out that it isn't usually nice to quibble with an obit makes some sense. But, to spoil these arguably marginally relevant comments with some divisive implications of gender bias just ruins any arguable merit in these comments.

So typical.

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