For the latest installation of the Faculty Research Series on March 18, 2022, Catholic Law colleagues gathered to hear Professor Jessica Steinberg. present her forthcoming UCLA Law Review article, "The Gender of Gideon." Steinberg is a Professor of Clinical Law at George Washington University Law School, and her research interests sit at the intersection of civil procedure and poverty law, with a focus on the empirical study of access to justice.
At Friday’s virtual meeting, Steinberg articulated the central claim of her article: that the right to counsel announced in Gideon v. Wainwright and developed in later case law has conferred a benefit largely to men. Through original data analysis, Steinberg — along with co-author Kathryn A. Sabbeth — demonstrate that, while men dominate the criminal justice system at every level, women face highly punitive encounters with the justice system, too, but largely in the civil courts. For example, women are often in court to avoid eviction, to contest debt collection, and to safeguard their parental rights. Because there is no right to counsel in civil proceedings, they argue, women’s liberty interests are overlooked and the right to counsel is thus gendered. While fielding questions, Steinberg addressed the limitations of demographic data regarding civil court proceedings, the valuable role that public defenders play in providing transparency into criminal court proceedings, and possible non-lawyer solutions to the currently unmet needs of civil litigants.
Next month, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Mary Graw Leary will present her research on the #MeToo and BLM movements.