December 2001Volume 7Number 2

Gender fairness roundtables to be held in early 2002

Are judges ensuring that gender bias does not occur in their courtrooms? Have bar associations paid sufficient attention to gender bias issues in continuing legal education courses? Are the courts adequately enforcing sexual assault and domestic violence laws? Are divorcing spouses getting equitable benefits from the marriage? Are law schools doing their part to educate future lawyers about gender-related issues?

The ISBA's Committee on Women and the Law will be seeking the answers to these and other questions during a series of roundtable discussions in early 2002. The roundtables are part of the committee's ongoing review of the 1990 Task Force Report on Gender Bias in the Courts, which identified gender issues in four substantive areas-- Domestic Relations, Criminal Justice, Civil Damage Awards, and Courtroom Dynamics--and recommended specific actions to be taken by the legislature, the judiciary, bar associations, and others. In a preliminary review of the report last year, a subcommittee of the Women and the Law Committee concluded that significant progress has been made in the legislative arena but further inquiries were necessary to determine how well the other recommendations have been implemented.

To obtain this additional information, the committee will be seeking input from attorneys and the general public throughout the state. Roundtables will be held in Chicago, Champaign and Carbondale. The committee will accept written comments as well as oral remarks at the meetings. The precise dates of the roundtables have not yet been determined, but ISBA members within each region will receive further information by mail within the next several months.

Anyone who is interested in participating in the roundtables or otherwise providing information to the committee can contact one of the following coordinators: In Chicago, contact Meredith Ritchie 312/793-3846 or Patrice Ball-Reed 312/603-3469; in Champaign, contact John Thies 217/367-1126 or Claire Manning 217/524-8506; and in Carbondale, contact Alice Noble-Allgire 618/453-8751 or Tracy Prosser 618/439-7722.

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