Hastings Women’s Law Journal


Nancy E. Shurtz


"Lighting the Lantern: Visions of a Virtual All-Women's Law School" is a fictional narrative of a hypothetical all women's law school. It is written in non-traditional form in the hope that it will prompt the reader to view the law, academic institutions and societal constructs in ways more consistent with an evolving society that should embrace all differences, whether those differences are gender or racially based.

The mission of the All Women's Law School is threefold: "First, to teach specific lawyering skills and disseminate knowledge in a context designed to help students function effectively in the existing culture while working to change it. Second, to develop a feminist consciousness through a grounding in a variety of feminist thought, emphasizing the broad effect of the law upon women of all social classes, races, nationalities, religions and sexual orientations. Third, to create a mutually supportive living and learning environment in which women are provided with the tools and encouragement to develop their personal strengths, and their own philosophies regarding women, justice, the law and women's relationship to the larger community." This narrative demonstrates ways in which the architecture, the admissions process, the student body and faculty composition, the teaching methods and curriculum can be modified to transform legal education from the current assimilation model to one of at least "partial" resistance. This piece in effect advocates the transformation of the field of law teaching and law curriculum from its present station of static defender of a liberal social model that canonizes individual autonomy, the free market, and defines justice as a competitive endeavor, to a place where its mission includes the active eradication of social injustice and its agents, such as those hierarchies of power and domination that oppress women.