Veteran Attorney Alleges Ages Discrimination, Sues University of Iowa

Attorney Donald Dobkin has sued the University of Illinois for age discrimination in response to the university’s decision to deny him a position on the faculty. The 56 year-old Dobkin, who’s practiced law for over 25 years, heads up Michigan’s biggest independent law firm and boasts impressive credentials, such as a JD from Northwestern University and a CV that includes many publications in leading law journals. Although university officials acknowledged his “impressive academic and professional record,” they opted to hire a person under the age of 40 for the position.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Dobkin has alleged that Iowa’s College of Law has not hired a faculty member over the age of 40 for over a decade. Dobkin seeks remuneration for wages lost as well as an opportunity to take the teaching position at the law school. He filed suit on August 19, 2009 through the US District Court in Davenport, Iowa; as of this writing, it’s unclear precisely how University will respond to the action or to his demands.

Age discrimination is a perennial problem at many academic institutions – in both directions. Younger, non-tenured professors often complain that older faculty — who no longer contribute actively to the research community — can nevertheless maintain their positions due to the tenure system. Conversely, employment discrimination scenarios like the one alleged by Attorney Dobkin can also roil academic institutions.

If you or a family member has been discriminated against at the workplace on the basis of your age, race, creed, religion, or disability; or if you’ve been subjected to retaliation for filing a discrimination complaint, the attorneys here at Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP may be able to help. Find out more about our practice here at, or phone us at (212) 688-5640 for immediate assistance.

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