Joan C. Williams has played a central role in reshaping the debates over women’s advancement for the past quarter-century. Described as having “something approaching rock star status” by The New York Times, Williams was awarded the Hastings Visionary Award (2013), the American Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Scholar Award (2012), the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award (2012), the ABA’s Margaret Brent Award for Women Lawyers of Achievement (2006), and the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It (Oxford University Press, 2000). In recognition of her interdisciplinary work, Williams gave the 2008 Massey Lectures in American Civilization at Harvard University, delivered in prior years by (among others) Eudora Welty, Gore Vidal and Toni Morrison.
Williams, who is Distinguished Professor of Law and Hastings Foundation Chair at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has authored or co-authored six books. She has written over ninety academic articles and book chapters, including one listed in 1996 as one of the most cited law review articles ever written. Her work has been excerpted in casebooks on six different topics.
As Founding Director of WorkLife Law (WLL), Williams has played a leading role in documenting workplace bias against mothers, leading to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2007 Guidance on Caregiver Discrimination. Her article “Beyond the Maternal Wall: Relief for Family Caregivers Who Are Discriminated Against on the Job,” 26 Harvard Women’s Law Review 77 (2003)(co-authored with Nancy Segal), was prominently cited in the landmark case, Back v. Hastings on Hudson Union Free School District, 365 F.3d 107 (2d Cir. 2004). Williams has organized social scientists to document workplace bias against mothers, notably in a 2004 special issue of the Journal of Social Issues titled “The Maternal Wall” (co-edited with Monica Biernat and Faye Crosby), which received the Distinguished Publication Award of the Association for Women in Psychology.
Williams also has played a central role in documenting how work-family conflict affects working-class families, through reports such as “One Sick Child Away From Being Fired” (2006), “Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict” (2010) (co-authored by Heather Boushey of the Center for American Progress), and “Improving Work-Life Fit in Hourly Jobs” (2011). Williams’ current research focuses on how work-family conflict differs at different class locations; on the “culture wars” as class conflict; on how gender bias differs by race; and on the role of gender pressures on men in creating work-family conflict and gender inequality. Follow her work on her Huffington Post blog.
Robin Devaux is the Center for WorkLife Law’s Managing Director. Prior to joining WLL, Robin was a litigator with the San Francisco office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where her practice focused on labor and employment matters. Robin has actively contributed to the community through pro bono legal representation of asylum seekers, stalking victims, and organizations including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Project Homeless Connect, and the Mississippi Center for Justice. Robin has also volunteered her time to promote women’s advancement; she was the co-chair of O’Melveny’s Women’s Affinity Group and has been a fundraiser and contributor to Girls on the Run Bay Area and Spark, a Bay Area organization seeking to change patterns of inequality that impact women worldwide. Robin is a global traveler and a three-time Boston Marathon finisher. She graduated with distinction from the University of California, Berkeley, and cum laude from Cornell Law School. Robin currently lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and their dog, Bruno.
Jamie Dolkas is the Center for WorkLife Law’s Director of Women’s Leadership. Prior to joining WLL, Jamie was a Staff Attorney at Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), a national civil rights organization dedicated to advancing gender equality in education and employment, where her practice focused on sex discrimination litigation, best practices training, and legislative advocacy. Jamie co-founded the Bay Area Equal Pay Collaborative, a coalition that educates workers, students, and employers about equal pay laws, salary negotiation strategies, and fair pay best practices. Jamie has written on various matters relevant to working women. She co-authored Expecting A Baby, Not A Lay-Off: Why Federal Law Should Require the Reasonable Accommodation of Pregnant Workers (ERA, May 2012) and Family Responsibilities Discrimination: The Interplay of Title VII, FMLA, & ADA (NELA 2010). Jamie also contributed a chapter in the anthology, The Opt Out Revolution Revisited (Center for WorkLife Law 2012), which she co-authored with Joan Williams. Jamie is an alumni of the Women’s Policy Institute, a year-long legislative advocacy training program for women leaders; she graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, and cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Katherine Ullman is the Center for WorkLife Law’s Program Associate. Prior to joining WLL, she was a litigation assistant at Girard Gibbs LLP, a national plaintiffs’ class action firm based in San Francisco. She has also interned with Battered Women’s Services (an advocacy center for victims of domestic violence in Poughkeepsie, NY) and YouthForce (a youth organizing program in Boston, MA). She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College in 2011, with honors and distinction.
WorkLife Law Key Affiliates
Cynthia Thomas Calvert, a nationally-recognized lawyer, writer and consultant, is a senior advisor to the Center on family responsibilities discrimination. She was the Center’s deputy director until 2010, when she founded Workforce 21C to help employers manage today’s evolving workforce. Through consulting and training, she works with companies to prevent FRD and systemic gender discrimination, implement nonstigmatized flexible work programs, and create inclusive workplace cultures. Cynthia co-founded and co-directed the Project for Attorney Retention with Joan Williams. She and Williams wrote Flex Success: The Lawyer’s Guide to Balanced Hours (WLL Press 2011), WorkLife Law’s Guide to Family Responsibilities Discrimination Law (WLL Press 2006), and Solving The Part-Time Puzzle: The Law Firm’s Guide to Balanced Hours (NALP 2004). She is currently working on a legal treatise about FRD for BNA/Bloomberg Books with Williams and Gary Phelan. She has been quoted in and written articles for numerous national publications, and speaks frequently about FRD, flexible work arrangements, diversity and inclusion, and advancement of women. Cynthia practices employment law in the District of Columbia and Maryland. She was with the D.C. litigation firm of Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, LLP (now part of Baker Botts LLP) for fourteen years, six as a partner. She later had her own employment law practice in which she counseled businesses on compliance. She is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center (cum laude, 1985) and a former clerk for the Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson (D.D.C.).