Perspectives: A Magazine for and about Women Lawyers
Short Takes
Winter 2009

Federal Regulation Intended to Aid Women-Owned Small Businesses

The federal government's goal of awarding five percent of federal contract dollars to women-owned small businesses gives a major advantage to start-up companies owned by women who want to sell in the federal marketplace. Under a rule promulgated last October, the government went beyond merely stating an unenforceable goal and is now permitted to limit competition in federal procurements to women-owned small businesses whose owners are economically disadvantaged. 73 Fed. Reg. 56940 (Oct. 1, 2008). But there's a catch. Unlike similar rules that apply to other socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, this restriction applies only when the government buys goods or services in certain narrowly defined industries where the Small Business Administration determines that women-owned businesses are "underrepresented." Moreover, the recent decision in Rothe Development Corp. v. Dep't of Defense, 545 F.3d 1023 (Fed. Cir. Tex. Nov. 4, 2008) (No. 2008-1017), which overturned a similar five-percent goal on constitutional grounds, may cast doubt on the new rule's validity. Senator Olympia Snowe introduced S. 2608 in February 2008 to clarify the underrepresentation presumption, but the bill has thus far not moved out of the Senate Committee on Small Business, and the Rothe decision may make it even more difficult to address.

Change of Administration Creates Job Opportunities

The Obama transition team is in the process of filling approximately 11,000 jobs in the new administration. This creates opportunities for persons with diverse backgrounds and experiences who have developed expertise to work for the public good on many issues. The process begins online at where an applicant clicks on the "Jobs" tab to fill in a brief contact form. Within two to three days, the applicant will be notified by e-mail of a link to complete an extended application that includes uploading a resumé and selecting specific areas and positions of interest. Positions will continue to be filled for months following the new administration's inauguration on January 20.

In addition, job openings exist on Capitol Hill. Visit the Senate Employment Office online at The House of Representatives Employment Opportunities Web site is

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  In This Issue

The Political Pillorying of Pantsuits:
The Media's Gender Bias in the 2008 Presidential Campaign

Collaboration Is Key:
How Women Help Women Succeed

The AutoAdmit Scandal and Legal Remedies for Online Victimization

Careers: Lawyer for Hire - Freelance Contractors Change the Marketplace

Voices: A Journey to Justice

Chair's Message


Short Takes

  Editorial Board

Commission Chair
Bobbi Liebenberg

Editorial Board
Patricia H. Wittie, Chair
Leslie M. Altman
Ann M. Courtney
Mark Curriden
Phyllis Horn Epstein
Alyson Dodi Meiselman
Jana Singer
Patricia Timmons-Goodson

Commission Staff
Veronica M. Muñoz, Director
Alia Graham
Beverly Henderson
Barbara Leff
Melissa Wood

ABA Publishing Editor
Jane Harper-Alport

ABA Publishing Designer
Amanda Draper

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