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It is a great pleasure to participate in the celebration and exploration of Susan Bandes' The Passions of Law in this symposium on emotion and gender jurisprudence. It may be worth reminding today's law students that when Professor Bandes and I were classmates at the University of Michigan Law School in the mid-1970s, there were no such conferences. Jurisprudence existed, but the concept of gender had not yet emerged; we were still too busy defining feminism. Emotions were something we dutifully suppressed as we tried to assimilate into the legal profession.

This is not to say we were wholly unaffected by the passions of law, or at least the passions of law school. Without question, law school had emotional content. I recall, for example, that Professor Bandes and I experienced despair, when, as first-year students, property grades were posted and ours were so low as to have fallen entirely off the graph the professor sketched on the board. In contrast, during our third year, we experienced elation when we learned we would be earning $13,000 upon graduation: instantly wealthy, in our view, we were unable to imagine how we would even spend such a sum. But, our primary reaction during the three years of law school was one of profound puzzlement. The puzzlement grew out of the peculiar nature of our legal education – the subjects we studied, the methods of intimidation used by the professors, and the uniformity of those who taught – for whether our professors were venable scions or newly hired boy-geniuses, no women ever stood before us.


Law | Law and Gender