Discrimination Suit Filed Against Univ. of Iowa Law School

August 24, 2009

A Michigan man has filed a lawsuit against the University of Iowa and its College of Law claiming he was the victim of age discrimination.

Donald Dobkin, 56, of West Bloomfield, Mich., filed his lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Davenport.

Dobkin, a veteran attorney, claims he was denied a position on the school’s faculty because of his age.

“I just think that it is pretty obvious to me and my lawyers that persons over the age of 40 are not considered for entry-level positions. That is widely known in academic circles. Not only do we see this as illegal, but it is a disservice to students who are being taught by professors, with some exceptions, that have never practiced law in the fields they are teaching,” Dobkin said in a telephone interview with the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

University of Iowa spokesman Tom Moore said university policy does not allow its representatives to discuss pending litigation. Law school Dean Carolyn Jones declined comment.

Court records show that Dobkin applied for a law professor position at the school in 2008. The position called for experience in administrative, immigration, international and criminal law.

Dobkin has more than 25 years experience leading the largest independent immigration firm in Michigan, a law degree from Northwestern University and has written numerous journal articles, the lawsuit said.

In 2009, Dobkin was told he had been rejected despite an “impressive academic and professional record,” according to court documents.

The lawsuit alleges that the College of Law has not hired a faculty member older than 40 in the past 10 years. Court documents show the positions were filled by individuals under age 40.

Dobkin is seeking a position on the law school faculty and compensation for lost wages.

“My goal is to get appointed professor of law at UI and help students, impart my 30 years of experience and train another level of future lawyers,” Dobkin said. “That’s why I want to do it.”

Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, www.press-citizen.com/

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