Catherine Albiston joined the Boalt Hall faculty in 2003. She teaches primarily in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy program, an interdisciplinary doctoral program focused on the study of legal and political institutions through the perspectives and methods of economics, history, sociology, political science, and philosophy. Albiston’s legal expertise is in employment law, with an emphasis on gender and work/family policy.
Following law school, Albiston clerked for Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District of California and practiced law at the Employment Law Center, a project of the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco. From 1995 to 1997, she held a Skadden Fellowship and litigated some of the first federal cases brought under the Family and Medical Leave Act. After completing her Ph.D., Albiston joined the law faculty at the University of Wisconsin, where she also held affiliate appointments in Sociology and Women’s Studies. In 2005, she was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Law & Society Association.
Albiston’s research addresses the relationship between law and social change through a variety of empirical projects. She is currently conducting a study of more than 200 public interest law firms that examines how funding sources and other environmental factors affect their strategy, structure, and mission. Her other work includes investigating how law affects normative bias against workers who use family leave, barriers to exercising mandatory leave rights, how litigation affects social movements and social change, judicial deference to institutionalized employment practices, and the politics and effects of unpublished opinion rules. In 2002, her work won the Law & Society Association Dissertation Prize, and she received honorable mention for the Law & Society Association Article Prize in 2001 and again in 2007.
In 2010, Cambridge University Press published her book, Institutional Inequality and the Mobilization of the Family and Medical Leave Act: Rights on Leave, which examines how the Family and Medical Leave Act operates in the courts and in the workplace. Albiston’s other recent work includes “Institutional Inequality” in Wisconsin Law Review, “Institutional Perspectives on Law, Work, and Family” in Annual Review of Law & Social Science, “The Procedural Attack on Civil Rights: The Empirical Reality of Buckhannon for the Private Attorney General” in UCLA Law Review (with Nielsen 2007), “The Organization of Public Interest Practice: 1975-2004” in North Carolina Law Review (with Nielsen, 2006), “Anti-essentialism and the Work/Family Dilemma” in Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice (2005), and “Bargaining in the Shadow of Social Institutions: Competing Discourses and Social Change in Workplace Mobilization of Civil Rights,” in Law & Society Review (2005).
B.A., Stanford University (1987)
M.A., Stanford University (1989)
J.D., UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall) (1993)
Ph.D., UC Berkeley (2001)