This Article reports our findings from a replication of the Penn research conducted at Brooklyn Law School in order to test the experience-performance link reported by the Penn researchers. Brooklyn Law School offers an ideal setting for a test of the Penn research because it already has adopted most of the reforms that the Penn researchers believe would reduce women's alienation from the learning environment and thus improve their academic performance. First, Brooklyn Law School, as compared to other American law schools, has a large proportion of women faculty. During the 1994-95 academic year, thirty-seven percent of its tenured and tenure-track faculty and forty-five percent of its full faculty were women. Second, Brooklyn has already adopted most of the Penn researchers' recommendations regarding curricular restructuring in the first year. Although Brooklyn retains the traditional, large class for much of its first-year curriculum, each student also is enrolled in a small (fifteen to seventeen students) legal writing class and a somewhat larger (thirty-one to thirty-four students) "seminar section" for one of the standard, substantive first-year courses. Grading in the seminar section is not exclusively exam-based and faculty members who teach these courses use varied teaching techniques, including cooperative approaches, to provide a counterweight to the more traditional approach of the larger first-year classes. Even within the larger classes, faculty surveys suggest that the Socratic method is by no means the exclusive approach or even, in some classes, the dominant one; many faculty members teaching first-year classes use problems, simulations, "gaming" techniques, negotiation, and other non-Socratic teaching methods as key features of their pedagogy.
Marsha Garrison, Brian Tomko & Ivan Yip,
Succeeding in Law School: A Comparison of Women's Experiences at Brooklyn Law School and the University of Pennsylvania,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol3/iss2/4