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Catherine Dunham - Elon University. Greensboro, NC, US

Catherine Dunham Catherine Dunham

Professor of Law | Elon University


Professor of Law Catherine Ross Dunham is an expert in the law related to civil litigation and workplace gender discrimination litigation


Catherine Ross Dunham is a Professor of Law at the Elon University School of Law. She is an expert in the law related to Civil Procedure and Civil Litigation. She teaches and writes in the area of Federal Civil Procedure and is co-author of the text Skills and Values: Civil Procedure. She has authored articles on procedural doctrine and class action litigation and she contributes the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure update to the American Association of Law Schools Civil Procedure Section Newsletter. In addition, Dunham is an expert in North Carolina Civil Procedure, teaching North Carolina Civil Procedure for Kaplan. At Elon Law, Dunham regularly teaches Civil Procedure, Complex Civil Litigation, and Evidence.

Dunham’s current scholarship explores topics related to gender equity and implicit gender bias. She analyzes implicit bias-based claims, specifically in the context of Title VII class action litigation, and evaluates the role of systematic and individual bias in the evaluation of gender-based workplace discrimination claims. Her most recent published work reports on an empirical study of judicial decisions in Title VII cases involving claims of implicit gender bias. Her current work evaluates the way the American adversarial system of civil litigation limits opportunities for changes in workplace culture.

Dunham also teaches courses in the Litigation Skills Program, specifically Trial Practice and Procedure, Civil Pre-Trial Litigation, Depositions and Advanced Trial Practice. Dunham serves on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) and teaches in regional, national and international advocacy programs. She has also served as a trial analyst for several major news outlets, including NBC and CNN. Dunham is also prior recipient of Elon Law teaching awards and the ABA Smyth-Gambrell Award for Teaching Professionalism.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Trial Practice

Class Action Litigation

Civil Litigation

Gender Discrimination Litigation






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Catherine Dunham offers remarks for Elon Law's 10th anniversary



Education (3)

University of Virginia School of Law: L.L.M., Law 2006

Campbell University School of Law: J.D. 1996

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: B.A., English Literature 1988

Affiliations (3)

  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy
  • American Association of Law Schools
  • American Bar Association

Media Appearances (5)

Elon scholars: 'Judge shopping' in sex discrimination cases may be for naught

E-Net News  online


And that has practical consequences for attorneys who handle gender discrimination lawsuits. “If it gets past the judge at the summary judgment phase, it’s most likely over for the defendant,” said Elon Law Professor Catherine Ross Dunham, a national expert in federal civil procedure and gender discrimination who notes that most cases then settle out of court. “The plaintiff will get some money...”

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A VICTIM NO MORE: Almost a decade after a horrific crime came close to killing her, Deborah Moy wants justice

News & Record  online


"Things are physically hard for Deborah, but she wouldn't let anything get in her way," said Catherine Dunham, her former Elon professor. "She’s strong. She’s just really strong."

Later, she was sworn in as a member of the North Carolina Bar Association in a courtroom at Elon Law, which is one of a few law schools in the country with a functioning courtroom on its campus because it houses the North Carolina Business Court...

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Professors: With #MeToo movement, a need for more than legal protections

E-Net News  online


Professor Catherine Dunham and Associate Professor Dave Levine were candid in their presentations: the law clearly protects against crimes like sexual assault. However, they said, it does not always protect women from all harassment since “you can act like a jerk in the workplace but not violate the law.”

That doesn’t mean there aren’t longstanding problems in some work environments. Discrimination might take the form of sexually charged male behavior that creates a hostile work environment - “I never cease to be shocked at how often that still happens,” Dunham said - or it could harm women in a way different than men even if a workplace policy appears neutral...

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Some County Officials Tackle The Opioid Epidemic In Court

WUNC  radio


This segment for NPR affiliate WUNC offers analysis by Dunham comparing recent lawsuits against the pharmaceutical industry over the opioid crisis with tobacco lawsuits against cigarette companies.

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Abbe Lowell faces his toughest challenge yet in Menendez trial

Politico  online


That article about famed attorney Abbe Lowell includes insights by Dunham into his strategy defending former U.S. Sen. John Edwards from criminal charges.

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Event Appearances (3)

Second to None: Class Actions 101

ABA 16th Annual National Institute on Class Actions  Chicago, Illinois


Persuasive Writing for Administrators: Crafting the ABA Self-Study to be Accurate, Effective and Influential

Annual Meeting of Law School Academic Deans  Kansas City

Challenges Faced by Our Profession

Educating Advocates: Teaching Advocacy Skills  Stetson University College of Law


Articles (5)

Third Generation Discrimination: An Empirical Analysis of Judicial Decision Making in Gender Discrimination Litigation SSRN


In this progressive era of #MeToo and other movements which highlight the reality of women’s experiences in the workplace and other settings, the question arises as to why discrimination-based civil lawsuits are not more successful for female litigants. The courts have served as an important tool in reforming discriminatory workplace cultures by directly addressing and punishing overtly discriminatory workplace behavior such as blatant pregnancy and gender discrimination or grievous acts of sexual harassment.

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Third Generation Discrimination: The Ripple Effects of Gender Bias in the Workplace SSRN


What is implicit bias? What does it look like? How can we define and address it in personal and legal contexts, working towards the end goal of making the workplace more amenable to successful career paths for all engaged? These questions constitute the modern taxonomy of questions in the area of gender discrimination.

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Hidden Obstacles in the Mass Culture of American Legal Education: An Empirical Analysis Oklahoma City University Law Review


In 1978, Edward E. Jones and Steven Berglas developed the term "self-handicapping" to describe a process wherein individuals protect their self-image of competence by proactively arranging for adversity in specific performances. Jones and Berglas described self-handicapping as a set of behavioral strategies employed before a performance that permits the individual to avoid receiving information that threatens self esteem.

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Portable Learning For the 21st Century Law School: Designing A New Pedagogy for the Modern Global Context Computer & Info

In the 20th century, legal education in the United States traditionally was a stationary, fixed location enterprise. The educational process was 'fixed-location" meaning that learning occurred primarily within the confines of the law school classroom space, and was generally propelled by Socratic-type questioning methods of students.

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Zippo-ing the wrong way: How the Internet has misdirected the federal courts in their personal jurisdiction analysis USFL Review

IN 1997, THE UNITED STATES District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania decided whether Internet-based contacts alone are sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction over a defendant. In this unlikely watershed case, Zippo Manufacturing Co. v...

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