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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Professor Joan Williams Wins Prestigious Beckman Award for Inspiring Students

Professor Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Hastings College of the Law, has been awarded $25,000 from the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Trust, which each year honors educators who have inspired their students to public service.

Professor Williams worked with Jamie Dolkas ’08 while Dolkas served as a fellow at the WorkLife Law Center, of which Williams is the founding director. As a fellow, Dolkas researched laws that provide workplace rights for family caregivers; analyzed litigation trends; and wrote numerous scholarly articles with Williams. Her latest contribution is a piece Williams and Dolkas collaborated on in “Women Who Opt Out: The Debate over Working Mothers and Work-Family Balance,” published in April 2012 by New York University Press.

Dolkas currently works at Equal Rights Advocates in San Francisco as a staff attorney, where she writes, manages a legal advice hotline, and supervises law clerks. She continues to write and speak, and helped both write the briefs and prepare counsel for U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, a suit brought by women seeking class action status for their sex discrimination suit alleging low pay and lack of advancement for women employees.

The high court ruled in Wal-Mart’s favor, saying the plaintiffs did not have enough in common to constitute a class.

“In my 32 years of teaching, I have had some amazing students –but even among them, Jamie stands out. She is passionate about women’s rights, and brings to her work creativity and force that are inspiring. I feel honored to have played a role in helping her shape her career.”

Since its inception in 2008, the Beckman trust has awarded more than $500,000 to educators in the fields of psychology, medicine, and law.

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