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Friday, April 11, 2014

Thinkers & Doers: April 11, 2014

Professors Jodi Short, Marsha Cohen, Morris Ratner, Joan Williams, Guy Kornblum '66, Jennifer Keller '78, Tina Marroquin '03, Lisa Frydman.
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This woman is operating an old silk machine in a factory in Uzbekistan.

Jodi Short

Professor Jodi Short’s research was cited in The Guardian in a story on how women make better supply chain auditors. The topic has been under increased scrutiny since the Rana Plaza factory collapse killed more than 1,100 garment workers in Bangladesh.

“In the context of government regulations, academic research has shown that the enforcement practices of individual inspectors vary substantially, and that their interpretations determine how rules actually influence company behavior,” the Guardian reports.

“Do individual auditors in the private sector hold similar sway over the codes of conduct put forth by brands? Together with Jodi Short at UC Hastings College of Law and Andrea Hugill at Harvard Business School, I analysed data from nearly 17,000 private sector audits that occurred during 2004-2009.”

Jodi Short"Our anecdotal evidence suggests female workers are more willing to talk openly with women auditors, making it more likely they will share information about poor working conditions. Furthermore, our interviews revealed instances where female auditors conducted more thorough records reviews."

"Numerous sociological studies from the past half-century have noted that women in bureaucratic organisations are more likely to "go by the book" than men, and that gender diversity often leads to improved team performance. Women and men have been shown to have different perceptual styles that may help them identify different types of violations.”

Bottom line: Women have a stronger influence on workplace safety. Read more here.

Marsha Cohen

Professor Marsha Cohen (@msprof) was quoted in the Los Angeles Times about the $9 billion verdict against Takeda and Eli Lilly, which failed to disclose cancer risks for their diabetes drug, Actos.

Marsha CohenA federal jury in Lafayette, La., awarded $9 billion in punitive damages. Previous judgments had been thrown out on appeal.

Legal experts said the high penalty, which they expect will be reduced on appeal, sends a signal to the pharmaceutical industry to provide customers with proper warnings about the dangers of their medications. The verdict may also be thrown out on appeal.

"The question is how much money does it take to get the attention of a giant company like Takeda?" Cohen said. "These companies shouldn't be unaware of the risks for chronic disease drugs like Actos, which have a huge number of people taking them." Read more here.

Morris Ratner

Professor Morris Ratner’s talk at UC Santa Cruz on his epic class-action litigation to help Holocaust survivors recoup assets stolen by the Nazis and squirreled away in Swiss banks was covered by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Ratner's talk at UCSC's University Center Monday, attended by around 200, signals the start of a partnership between UCSC and the San Francisco-based law school. Beginning this fall, a new joint program, 3+3 BA/JD, will allow UCSC students to obtain a bachelor's degree and law degree in six years instead of seven.

Ratner gave advice to prospective students. "If you are defiant, if you are rebellious, you may have a career ahead of you in social justice lawyering," Ratner said. "Those are qualities you can harness for the greater good."

What keyed their success, he said, was the merits of the case. "We thought we could prove that the Swiss banks aided and abetted genocide," Ratner said. The justice achieved by the $8 billion payout was delayed and imperfect, he said, but still warranted. Read more here.

Joan Williams

Professor Joan Williams (@JoanCWilliams) was quoted by NBC News in a story about the challenges of baseball players who try to take paternity leave during the season.

Joan C. WilliamsNew York Mets’ Daniel Murphy was excoriated for missing two games for the birth of his son.

"It's a knockdown, drag-out battle about what it means to be a good man and a good father," said Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law.

"Women who take leave...are seen as bad workers but good mothers," Williams said. "The men are often seen as bad workers and losers as men."
That definition of masculinity is changing among a younger generation of dads, Williams said. But for many of the men who are those new dads' bosses, being a good dad has traditionally meant being a good worker and provider. It makes sense that any shift in that definition of being a good dad would leave some older men feeling defensive, because their own identities as dads are at risk, she said.

"The older men have a lot to prove that there's only one way into the big leagues," Williams said. "If you're serious about the game, you miss your children's childhoods." Read more here.

Williams' latest book, "What Works for Women at Work," with Rachel Dempsey, was favorably reviewed in the New York Times. Read the review here.

Lisa Frydman

Lisa Frydman, managing attorney for the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, was quoted in a Dallas Observer piece about the plight of unaccompanied minors caught in the U.S. immigration system.

Minors fleeing persecution on their home countries who are caught by border agents are often detained and deported without counsel. Before 2012, only 6,000 or so "unaccompanied children," as the system labels them, were detained in any given year. That number has doubled every year since, and this year, experts estimate, agents will nab 50,000 or 60,000, most of whom are fleeing gang violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Others are fleeing domestic abuse and a “climate of impunity” around rape, Frydman said. Read more here.

CGRS recently produced a lengthy report with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), “ A Treacherous Journey: Child Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System,” which urged U.S. lawmakers to reform its policies for dealing with unaccompanied migrant children. Read the report here.

The report was cited in a Huffington Post article arguing that children should not be treated the same as undocumented adults. “As the KIND and CGRS report puts it, our legal system treats these children as "adults in miniature." Read more from the piece, by Maria Teresa Rojas, director of the International Migration Initiative at the Open Society Foundations, here.

Guy Kornblum

Guy Kornblum ‘66 published a piece in Litigation Commentary & Review on the best way to approach and achieve settlement. His piece, “Is Mediation the Best Course,” can be read here.

Jennifer Keller

Jennifer Keller ’78 was featured in Litigation Commentary & Review for her successful defense of Saudi Princess Meshael Alayban on human-trafficking charges. The Orange County District Attorney’s office brought based its case on claims by a Kenyan household worker that she was not free to leave her employer's residence, had been denied medical care, and was working 16-17 hours a day. The charges were later dismissed. Read more here.

Tina Marroquin

Christina “Tina” Schmieding Marroquin ’03 was named to the Board of Directors of Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. She is a partner with Pollack & Ball in Lincoln, Neb.

Read more Thinkers & Doers here. Know someone who should be in Thinkers & Doers? Send your story tips here.

--April 11, 2014

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