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Northeastern University School of Law

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At its best, feminist legal theory grows out of women's experiences, and inspires and sustains feminist practices. At their best, feminist practices change women's experiences, test and challenge theoretical tenets, and call for theory to respond to those changes and challenges. 

Professor Clare Dalton's life and work represent a commitment to feminist theory and practice, and to women's experiences. This symposium, co-sponsored with the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, will explore the dynamic relationships among and between these three, on the occasion of her retirement from law teaching at Northeastern University School of Law. Professor Dalton's contributions to feminist theory and practice over the past 35 years are well-known.

In 1985, while teaching at Harvard Law School, she published a widely-cited and influential feminist critique of contract theory in the Yale Law Journal. Soon after, she was denied tenure by Harvard. Dalton relocated to Northeastern University Law School and continued her distinguished teaching career while suing Harvard for sex discrimination, alleging that male professors with records comparable to hers had been granted tenure.  The case settled, and Harvard paid a hefty sum that started a new Domestic Violence Institute and Clinic at Northeastern, headed by Dalton. 

With the Domestic Violence Clinic, Professor Dalton pioneered a nationally recognized integrated model for delivery of legal and medical services to domestic violence survivors. And with co-author Elizabeth Schneider, she defined the emerging field of domestic violence law with the casebook, Battered Women and the Law: Cases and Materials" published in 2001.

In this symposium, we will explore the ways in which feminist theory has enriched feminist practice and both shaped and reflected women's experiences. Panels will address the institutional integration of women into law schools and explore its impact. Areas of particular focus will include new theoretical and practical approaches to violence against women, and the growth in attention to women's rights at the global level. 

For more information, contact Janis Galligan at