sflawlibraryblog


Leave a comment

Book Review: The Case of Rose Bird

Rose BirdThe Case of Rose Bird: Gender, Politics, and the California Courts
By Kathleen A. Cairns
Reviewed by Richard Schulke, Reference Librarian

The Case of Rose Bird: Gender, Politics, and the California Courts is a timely look at political activism aimed at members of the Judiciary. It recounts the circumstances that led to the removal of Rose Bird as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court.

This book begins by looking at Rose Bird’s early triumphs during high school and law school, followed by her milestone achievements as the first female law clerk for the Nevada Supreme Court, the first female deputy public defender in Santa Clara County, and the first woman to hold a cabinet position in California.

The book follows Bird’s appointment to the position of Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court in 1977 by a then forty-year-old Governor Jerry Brown—she was both the Court’s first female justice and its first female Chief Justice—and then a series of three attempts to recall her. The attempts ultimately succeeded, and in November of 1986 she was the first Chief Justice of California to be recalled by the voters.

The author examines the then-current politics that made Bird a lightning rod—her liberalism, gender, and the perception that she was soft on crime. The author also takes an in-depth look at Bird’s political opponents and the take-no-prisoner attitude that ultimately resulted in her downfall through political machinations. It is as chilling now as it was then.

The description of Bird’s final years as a broken person battling unsuccessfully against medical issues and early death is a sad ending to her story.

Current events make clear that the issue of “Judicial Politics” is still a hot potato. We recently witnessed both the removal of Judge Aaron Persky following his controversial decision to impose a sentence of only six months for a Stanford student convicted of rape, and the political maneuvering during the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. This fascinating exploration of Rose Bird and the turbulent beginning of judicial politics in California is still just as relevant today.

The Case of Rose Bird was generously donated to the Library by John Kelly.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

ABA’s Women in the Law Collection

Women in the LawThe Law Library recently acquired the ABA’s Women in the Law Collection—a generous donation from Shannon K. Mauer of Duane Morris LLP. Although women have advanced in the legal profession over the last few decades, the statistics and research show that there are still significant barriers to reaching its upper echelons in equal numbers as men. Together, these four books summarize the state of women in the legal profession today and chart a course toward achieving full equality. Anyone with an interest in women’s rights and equality, or learning what it takes to get ahead in professional life, will benefit from reading this collection.

Grit

Grit, The Secret to Advancement: Stories of Successful Women Lawyers
Edited by Milana L. Hogan

There’s been a lot of buzz about the word grit in the self-help and business spheres lately, and with good reason. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology defines this concept as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” It is essential for professional success, and it is essential for women to achieve equality in the legal profession. To this end, the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession developed the Grit Project in 2013. Grit, The Secret to Advancement reports the Commission’s qualitative and quantitative research on grit across all types of female lawyers, spanning everything from solo practitioners, law firms of various sizes, to nonprofits. The result is a thorough exploration of the concrete steps women can take to increase grit and related qualities, and how to apply those traits to build a successful career.

 

Learning to Lead

Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in Law
By Gindi Eckel Vincent

This book does a huge service to female lawyers looking to reach leadership roles in their profession. Author Gindi Eckel Vincent intentionally kept Learning to Lead short and sweet, and she begins by summarizing the major leadership publications in the business realm to spare readers from this gargantuan task. She distills this body of literature down to its key themes and then applies them to the practice of law. Subsequent chapters consist of interviews with prominent female legal leaders and judges, and a set of scenarios that present the leadership goals of real-life female lawyers and a concise to-do list to achieve them. Learning to Lead goes well beyond hackneyed theoretical advice and instead provides clear, practical guidance for any type of leadership role in the law.

 

Road to Independence

The Road to Independence: 101 Women’s Journeys to Starting Their Own Law Firms
Edited by Karen M. Lockwood

The Road to Independence collects 101 first-hand accounts from women who started their own law practices. They provide invaluable wisdom, guidance, and inspiration to anyone who is considering embarking on this complicated and challenging path. Readers will benefit from the stark honesty contained in these letters, which spans confronting personal weaknesses, the inevitable financial worries, being undermined and doubted, and many more obstacles—but the takeaway is that it is absolutely possible to rise above the chatter, follow your own path, and build a thriving practice.

 

zero-tolerance.png

Zero Tolerance: Best Practices for Combating Sex-Based Harassment in the Legal Profession
Executive Editor Wendi S. Lazar

Zero Tolerance is the third manual produced by the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession, which was founded in 1992 with the objective of eliminating sex-based harassment in the legal profession. This slim book packs a powerful punch by setting forth the legal framework to combat sex-based harassment and bullying at work. After examining the EEOC’s guidelines on the topic, seminal cases, and state statutes and rules of professional conduct, it delves into the emerging issues of bullying and implicit bias. These latter issues are particularly thorny because they do not always involve behavior that is technically illegal, but that behavior is nonetheless damaging to the victims and also to their workplaces. Full of strategies, training and prevention best practices, and instruction on how to both develop and enforce effective anti-harassment policies, this book is essential reading for the legal profession.