The federal judiciary is becoming more diverse, but what does that increasing diversity mean? Is it mostly a symbolic gesture, or will there be substantive differences in judicial decision-making?

In her presentation, Myth of the Color-blind Judge, Pat K. Chew, Professor of Law at the Pittsburgh School of Law, explores these questions through the lens of federal racial harassment cases. In particular, it considers an empirical study of the relationship between the judges’ race and the outcome in these cases.

The 19th Charles l. Ihlenfeld Lecture will be held Monday, April 12, at noon in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom, the West Virginia University College of Law. The lecture brings to campus distinguished speakers in the area of public service and ethics. The event will be webcast live and can be viewed at

Chew has made numerous presentations, both in the United States and abroad, that have most recently focused on judicial decision-making in racial harassment cases, subtly sexist language in the legal profession and law schools, the role of culture and race in legal disputes, empirical research in civil rights laws, and key employment laws for multi-national corporate managers. Her most recent seminars have been on subtle sexism/subtle racism in the workplace.

Chew’s research is diverse, both in subject areas and methodologies including empirical research. She is a member of the American Law Institute (ALI), currently serving on the Consultative Committee for the proposed Restatement of Employment Laws. Prior to teaching, she practiced corporate law and international law with Baker & McKenzie in Chicago and in San Francisco. Chew received a J.D. degree from the University of Texas and an undergraduate degree in psychology and in communications from Stanford University.

Charles L. Ihlenfeld, a prominent West Virginia lawyer for 56 years, devoted much of his life to public service. These lectures, established in his memory, honor a life and career marked by significant contributions to the practice of law, to the legal profession, and to civic affairs of his state and community.

Ihlenfeld was a tireless community supporter who loved Wheeling, W. Va., serving as its mayor from 1963 to 1967. His public service further encompassed state and federal jurisdictions when he served as Ohio County prosecuting attorney from 1940 to 1948, and as U.S. magistrate for the Northern District of West Virginia from 1971 to 1979. Ihlenfeld served on a multitude of foundations and commissions, always seeking to enrich his community and mankind.

Following his graduation in 1930 from West Virginia University, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity, Ihlenfeld studied at the WVU College of Law, becoming a member of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity, and receiving his J.D. in 1933. He was inducted into the WVU College of Law Emeritus Club in 1983, and he was a longtime supporter of the College.

Ihlenfeld was a past president of the Ohio County Bar Association and a member of the West Virginia and American Bar Associations. He was active in politics, serving as a former chairman of the Ohio County Democratic Executive Committee and as president of the West Virginia Young Democrats.

The Charles L. Ihlenfeld Lecture, established with a bequest made to his alma mater, is a fitting legacy from a devoted public servant and attorney whose high ethical standards were his trademark. The lectures enrich the university community, the legal profession, and the state.



CONTACT: Brian Caudill, College of Law

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