Thomas Jefferson School of Law Hosts 17th Annual Women and the Law Conference, Pursuing Inclusion: Diversity in the Workplace

March 02, 2017 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
SAN DIEGO, CA, 3/2/17 Last month, Thomas Jefferson School of Law hosted the 17th Annual Women and the Law Conference. This year's theme was entitled, "Pursuing Inclusion: Diversity in the Workplace."

This conference brought together leading experts and practitioners to examine the challenges to and strategies for achieving workplace diversity and inclusion. At a time of polarized public discourse on matters involving race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation and identity, disability, age, and socio-economic status, this event highlighted a number of critically important topics, including: developing cultural competency; the strengths and weaknesses in employment and civil rights law; identifying and overcoming unconscious bias; how strategic efforts can inform public policy; and how other countries confront diversity at a time when work is changing rapidly.

Professor Leticia Saucedo, Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law, delivered the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture. She is an expert in employment, labor, and immigration law. Saucedo continues in a long line of illustrious speakers who have been honored as the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecturer, a lecture series Justice Ginsburg generously established for Thomas Jefferson in 2003.

"The Women and the Law conference was one of the best conferences I've attended. All the presenters gave informative, lively and timely presentations," said Professor Saucedo. "It was exhilarating to be among a group of students, faculty and practitioners so soon after the nationwide women's marches. I was so honored to be the Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaker and to be able to talk to such an informed, energetic and engaged audience about the gaps between law and reality for immigrant and undocumented workers."

Other speakers included: Mario Barnes, Associate Dean and Professor of Law, UC Irvine; Zahra Billoo, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Chapter; Susan Bisom-Rapp, Associate Dean and Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Julie Greenberg, Professor Emerita, Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Anne Koenig, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of San Diego; Rebecca Lee, Associate Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Doreen Mattingly, Associate Professor of Women's Studies, San Diego State University; Miranda McGowan, Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law; Patti Perez, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins; Camille Gear Rich, Associate Provost and Professor of Law and Sociology, University of Southern California; Malcolm Sargeant, Professor of Labour Law, Middlesex University Business School, London; Susan Tiefenbrun, Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

"Not long ago, the notion that workplace diversity is a worthy goal to strive towards was relatively uncontroversial. Top corporations, for example, have long recognized the business case for diversity," noted Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp, Co-Chair of the 2017 conference. "Recently, however, some have questioned the need for diversity efforts. Our conference facilitated a dialogue about the diversity debate and the justifications for pursuing inclusion," said Bisom-Rapp. "Beyond hearing exceptional experts on the subject, it was most gratifying for me to hear our students pose their questions to those attending in succinct and articulate terms. Our students are the future. At the end of the day, this is what the conference was about," said Bisom-Rapp, who serves as Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Scholarship.

"This year's conference, entitled 'Pursuing Inclusion: Diversity in the Workplace' demonstrated that diversity continues to matter in the work setting. Despite the gains made in supporting diversity at the workplace and elsewhere in society, there has been recent opposition to diversity efforts. Moreover, in the current political era, the rights and equal participation of diverse groups have been challenged, with consequences for the workplace. This conference allowed scholars, practitioners, and students to engage in a much-needed dialogue about these pressing issues," said Professor Rebecca K. Lee, Co-Chair of the 2017 Conference.

The event was co-sponsored by Thomas Jefferson School of Law's Center for Law and Social Justice and Center for Global Legal Studies.

The mission of Thomas Jefferson School of Law is to provide an outstanding legal education for a nationally-based, diverse student body in a collegial and supportive environment with attention to newly emerging areas of law, particularly those related to technological development, globalization and the quest for social justice. Located in Downtown San Diego, Thomas Jefferson School of Law has evolved into an innovative, cutting-edge law school, devoted to the individual needs and success of its students. More information is available at

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