Paid Family Leave in American Law Schools: Findings and Open Questions


There exists a substantial literature on the status of women in the legal profession, including studies on women students’ experiences in law schools, gender bias on law school faculties, and family leave policies and practices among legal employers. However, no recent study examines the family leave policies and practices in American law schools. This study seeks to fill that gap. Its findings are threefold. First, almost three quarters of law schools provide wage replacement during a family leave that is more generous than required by federal law. Second, there is a positive relationship between teaching at top-tier and private law schools and receiving a paid family leave. Third, although many law schools provide paid family leave, most leaves are granted on a case-by-case basis. This study stands to benefit a number of constituencies within the legal academy, including individual faculty members, faculties developing leave policies, appointments committees, and job candidates. In addition to presenting survey findings for a representative sample of approximately 35 law schools, this study raises a number of open empirical and theoretical questions for future research.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Labor and Employment Law | Law and Gender | Law and Society | Legal Education | Legal Profession | Organizations Law | Public Law and Legal Theory

Date of this Version

March 2006