Parental Leave and Other Embarassments


Saul Levmore

Date of Event



April 17, 2007

Speaker: Saul Levmore, Dean, University of Chicago Law School

Summary: Sumner Canary Lecture Why does the United States have one of the least generous parental leave policies in the world? It is not simply that we choose to have less of a welfare state. Many developing nations offer little in the way of safety nets, but much more than our laws do for the typical employee occupied with childbirth. This Sumner Canary Lecture begins by answering this question, and drawing attention to the source and viability of current practices. The answers cast light on other matters of great public and private importance, ranging from public schools to health care. But the focus is on maternity leave, or parental policies more generally, and the Lecture then turns to the politically incorrect topic of the sustainability of current parental leave policies by private employers, like high-end law firms, who often find a much higher dropout rate among the very employees their leave policies were meant to encourage. Saul Levmore has been the dean of the University of Chicago Law School since 2001. Prior to joining the Chicago faculty in 1998, he was the Brokaw Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, and a visiting professor at Yale, Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern, and Chicago. He has taught torts, corporations, non-profit organizations, comparative law, public choice, corporate tax, commercial law, insurance, and contracts. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the current president of the American Law Deans Association. Away from law, he has been an advisor on corporate governance issues and on development strategies and is the author of a book on games and puzzles. His writing has cut across many fields, and most recently has concentrated on topics in public choice, obesity regulation, deception, and disaster relief and avoidance.

Lecture Series

Sumner Canary Lecture

Subject Headings

parental leave; maternity leave, parental policies; employer mandates, government parental leave policies, parental leave--comparative law


CWRU Law School Moot Courtroom (A59)

Document Type