Close this search box.

Rutgers Law School International Human Rights Clinic Launches Cutting-Edge Study Resumes Fall 2023

WHY, after decades of entry into the legal profession in ever-growing numbers, do women lag behind men in reaching the upper levels of leadership, compensation, and career satisfaction? We would like your thoughts.

The Rutgers Law School International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) welcomes your continued participation in a study and focus groups related to the launch of a cutting-edge study on advancement and retention of women in the New Jersey legal profession that was launched earlier this year. It is the first study of its kind in New Jersey, gathering information from the following sectors: private law; in-house; government; public interest; academia; and the judiciary.

The first focus groups have already been conducted, having successfully taken place in Spring 2023 (virtually and in-person) and including over 70 participants. Additional focus groups will continue throughout 2023. If you cannot (or choose not to) participate in a focus group, there will be other opportunities to participate in the study, including responding to an anonymous survey questionnaire.

The Study aims to do more than compile data. It will provide a roadmap of solutions to help the legal profession address the persistent impediments to the advancement of women, the perpetuation of unequal pay, and the departure of female lawyers from the profession. The Study will also explore the impact that the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, is having on women lawyers. Rutgers Law School seeks to use this study as a model that can be replicated in other states, as well as internationally.

Advocates around the country have shown great interest in the Study and see it as a model to be replicated in other states, as well as internationally. The Study is being spearheaded by Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law Penny Venetis, and her former student, Kirsten Scheurer Branigan, the Managing Partner of KSBranigan Law, P.C. a woman-owned law firm in NJ.

To create the strongest and most effective study, we need your help! We are seeking a broad range of study participants. You qualify to participate in the study if you are now (or were in the past) a lawyer working in New Jersey, in whole or in part, in one of the sectors listed above.

Recognizing that some topics may be sensitive, your participation in the focus groups and study will be kept anonymous. Also, all answers you provide to focus group inquiries, the survey questionnaire, or any part of the study will remain confidential.

If you are interested in participating in a focus group, or know someone who is, please Kirsten S. Branigan at and Katie Ann Insinga at You may also email Professor Penny Venetis at We will then follow up regarding next steps.

We thank you in advance for your willingness to participate in this important work and welcome your involvement to impact positive change in the New Jersey legal community.