Rhode, Deborah Lynn

Rhode, Deborah Lynn, 1952-2021, American legal ethicist and educator, b. Evanston, IL, Yale (BA, 1974), Yale Law (JD, 1977). Raised in the Chicago suburbs, Rhode was a champion debater in high school before joining the second coed class at Yale in 1970, where she was the first woman to head the Yale Debate Association. She joined the Stanford University law faculty in 1979, only the third woman ever to be hired by the department, where she was the founding director of the Stanford Center of Legal Ethics, and a director of Stanford’s Institute of Research on Women and Gender and its Program on Social Entrepreneurship; the school’s Deborah L. Rhode Public Interest Award was established in 2003 in her honor. She served as an expert on legal ethics and gender for the House Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment hearings in 1998. The author of 30 books and over 200 scholarly and popular articles, she is best remembered for her writings on feminism and the law. She was also the coauthor with Nora Engstrom, Scott Cummings, and David Urban of the textbook Legal Ethics (8th edition, 2020). She was awarded the White House’s Champion of Change award (2011) for a lifetime’s work in increasing access to justice. Inspired by her affection for her cocker spaniel, she had completed a manuscript at the time of her death titled What Dogs Deserve to be published in 2021.

See her Justice and Gender: Sex Discrimination and the Law (1989), Speaking of Sex: The Denial of Gender Inequality (1997), The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law (2010).

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