Fiona M. Kay

Professor

Ph.D. University of Toronto
Email: kayf@queensu.ca
Office: Macintosh-Corry Hall, Room D527
Phone: (613) 533-6000 ext. 74486
Fax: (613) 533-2871

Biography

Dr. Fiona Kay is Professor in the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University. Her research is in the areas of inequality, professions, and law. She has examined the impact of gender, race and ethnicity on hiring, promotion, and earnings, as well as the ways that organizational practices and workplace cultures shape opportunities and rewards. Her work with Dr. Elizabeth Gorman (University of Virginia) examines organizational initiatives aimed at general skills development and the consequences for racial minority diversity within elite professional service firms, as well as the influence of corporate clients in promoting diversity in professional service firms. Her collaborative work with Dr. Robert Granfield (SUNY Buffalo) explores lawyers’ pro bono (voluntary) service and its contribution to access to justice. In other projects, she examines late-stage careers among Canadian lawyers; shifting jurisdictional boundaries between legal professions in civil law context; and the education and regulation of paralegals.

Professor Kay’s research is published widely in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, including: American Sociological Review, Social Problems, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Research in Sociology of Work, Advances in Life Course Research, Sociological Inquiry, British Journal of Sociology, Canadian Review of Sociology, Journal of Criminal Justice, and Crime and Delinquency. Her work has also been published in numerous law and law-related journals, including: Law & Society Review, Law & Policy, Law & Social Inquiry, Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Studies in Law, Politics & Society, The International Journal of the Sociology of Law, The International Journal of Law in Context, McGill Law Review, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Studies in Law, Politics and Society, and The Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies.

She has also published chapters in several edited volumes and annuals, including Annual Review of Law and Social Sciences, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and Global Pro Bono: Diffusion, Contestation, Learned Lessons. She is author (with John Hagan) of Gender in Practice: A Study of Lawyers’ Lives (Oxford University Press) and editor (with Richard Johnston) of Social Capital, Diversity, and the Welfare State (University of British Columbia Press).

Her research has been covered by media outlets such as Law Times, National Post, National (magazine of the Canadian Bar Association), Lexpert, Precedent, Toronto Star, CBC News, and the Globe and Mail.

Currently, Professor Kay is engaged in several projects: (1) a study of U.S. corporate law firms and racial minority representation (with Dr. Elizabeth Gorman, University of Virginia); (2) a longitudinal study of the careers of Canadian lawyers; (3) a study of pro bono work among lawyers (with Dr. Robert Granfield, SUNY Buffalo); and (4) a study paralegals and professional regulation. Research projects have been funded by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Law School Admission Council, the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Law Society of Ontario, and the Canadian Bar Association.

Professor Kay teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on the sociology of law, work and occupations, sociology of professions, gender and crime, and research methods.

Professor Kay welcomes students to undertake graduate research projects in the study of work and occupations and the sociology of law. She also encourages undergraduate and graduate students to apply for research assistant positions.

Research Interests

  • Sociology of law
  • Sociology of professions
  • Work and occupations
  • Life course research
  • Quantitative and mixed methods

Teaching 

  • SOCY458: Law & ideology
  • SOCY457: Law & social structure
  • SOCY305: Sociology of professions & occupations
  • SOCY389: Gender, law & crime
  • SOCY210: Social research methods

Selected Publications (last 5 years)

Kay, Fiona M. and Robert Granfield (in press). “When Altruism is Remunerated: Understanding the Drivers and Targets of Voluntary Service among Lawyers.” Law & Society Review 56(1). DOI:10.1111/lasr.12586.

Kay, Fiona M. and Robert Granfield (in press). “Altruism at Work: An Integrated Approach to Voluntary Public Service among Private Practice Lawyers.” Law & Social Inquiry.

Kay, Fiona and Martine Rondeau (in press).  « La culture des cabinets d’avocats et la rétention des avocats et avocates. » Sociologie et sociétés.  

Wallace, Jean E. and Fiona M. Kay (published online December 2021). “Supportive Relations in a Feminized Occupation: How Male and Female Veterinarians Compare.” Canadian Review of Sociology.  http://doi.org/10.1111/cars.12366

Gorman, Elizabeth H. and Fiona M. Kay. 2020. “Skill Development Practices and Racial-Ethnic Diversity in Elite Professional Firms.” Research in the Sociology of Work 34:115-145.

Choroszewicz, Marta and Fiona Kay. 2020. “The Use of Mobile Technologies for Work-to-Family Boundary Permeability: The Case of Finnish and Canadian Male Lawyers.” Human Relations 73(1): 1-27. Published online 2019: https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726719865762

Kay, Fiona M. 2019. “Social Capital, Relational Inequality Theory and Earnings of Racial Minority Lawyers.” Research in the Sociology of Work 32:63-90.

Plickert, Gabriele, Fiona M. Kay, and John Hagan. 2017. “Depressive Symptoms and the Salience of Job Satisfaction across the Life Course of Professionals.” Advances in Life Course Research 31:22-33. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.alcr.2016.11.001

Kay, Fiona M., Stacey Alarie, and Jones Adjei. 2016. “Undermining Gender Equality: Female Attrition from Private Law Practice.” Law & Society Review 50(3): 766-801.

Book Chapters

Choroszewicz, Marta and Fiona Kay. 2022. “Understanding Gender Inequality in the Legal Profession.” Chapter 6 In Hilary Sommerlad, Ole Hammerslev, Ulrike Schultz and Richard Abel (editors). Comparing Legal Professions Thirty Years after “Lawyers in Society.” Volume 2. Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing. 

Granfield, Robert and Fiona M. Kay. 2022. “Pro Bono Legal Work in Canada.” In Scott L. Cummings, Fabio Costa Morai De Sa E. Silva, and Louise G. Trubek, 112-143. Global Pro Bono: Diffusion, Contestation, Learned Lessons. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Kay, Fiona M. 2019. “Gender and Crime.” Pp. 215-236 in Neil Boyd (Editor). Understanding Crime in Canada. (Second edition). Toronto, ON: Emond Montgomery Publications.

Kay, Fiona M. 2019 “Launching Careers in Law: Entry to First Jobs after Law School.” Pp. 95-113 in Marta Choroszewicz and Tracey L. Adams (eds.). Gender, Age and Inequality in the Professions. (New York, NY: Routledge Press).

Deflem, Mathieu & Fiona M. Kay. 2019. “Legal Profession.” In The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Second Edition, edited by George Ritzer and Chris Rojek. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Gorman, Elizabeth H. and Fiona M. Kay. 2016. “Which Kinds of Law Firms Have the Most Minority Lawyers?: Organizational Context and the Representation of African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans.” Pages 263-300 in Racial Diversity in the Legal Profession. Edited by Spencer Headworth, Robert L. Nelson, Ronit Dinovitzer, and David B. Wilkins. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Conference Presentations (last 5 years)

2021    “Law Firm Culture and The Revolving Door for Women Lawyers.” Suites, Streets, and States: A Conference Celebrating the Research of John L. Hagan. American Bar Foundation, Chicago, IL. May 31, 2021.

2021    Panelist. Author-meets-critics panel. Swethaa Ballakrishnen’s book, Accidental Feminism. Society for the Advancement of Socioeconomics (SASE) Annual Meeting, July 2021.

2020    “Skill Development Practices and Racial-ethnic Diversity in Elite Professional Firms.” Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) Virtual Conference, July 2020 (with Elizabeth Gorman).

2019    “Supportive Relations in a Feminized Occupation: How Male and Female Veterinarians Compare.” Canadian Sociology Association Annual Meeting, Canadian Congress, Vancouver, British Columbia, June 2019 (with Jean E. Wallace).

“Corporate Clients and the Progress of Women in U.S. Law Firms.” Law & Society Association Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C., June 2019 (with Elizabeth Gorman).

2018    “Mobile Technologies and Work-to-Family Boundary Permeability as a Professional Norm in the Private Law Practice in Finland and Canada.” Gendered Globalization of the Legal Professions Conference. Geneva, Switzerland, May 2018 (with PDFMarta Choroszewicz).

2017    “Developmental Practices and Organizational Race and Gender Diversity,” Section on Organizations, Occupations, and Work Open Topic. American Sociology Association Annual Meeting. Montreal, Quebec, August 2017 (with Elizabeth Gorman).

“Clientele and the Progress of Women and Racial Minorities in U.S. Corporate Law Firms.” Joint mini-conference sponsored by Economic Sociology and Organizations, Occupations, and Work Sections of American Sociology Association, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, 11 August 2017.

“Diversity and Equality among Lawyers in Civil Law Context: A Comparison of Finland and Quebec, Canada.” Law & Society Association Annual Meeting. Mexico City, Mexico. 20-23 June 2017 (with PDFMarta Choroszewicz).

“Work Satisfaction, Mentoring Relationships, and Gendered Careers in Law.” Being a Lawyer in Europe and Canada: Careers, Inequalities, Transformations. Conférence organisée par le Centre de Droit Comparé Européen et International (UNIL) et le Centre en Etudes Genre (UNIL), Mercredi 22 mars 2017, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

2016    “Undermining the Pipeline to Gender Equality: Female Attrition from Private Law Practice.” American Sociology Association Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, 22 August 2016 (with GSStacey Alarie and GSJones Adjei).

Clientele and the Progress of Women and Racial Minorities in U.S. Corporate Law Firms.” Law & Society Association annual meeting. New Orleans, Tennessee. June 2-5, 2016 (with Elizabeth Gorman).

“Clientele and the Progress of Women and Racial Minorities in U.S. Corporate Law Firms.” Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics annual meeting. Berkeley, California, June 2016 (with Elizabeth Gorman).

Critic on author-meets-critics panel: Oxford Handbook of Professional Service Firms edited by Laura Empson, Daniel Muzio, Joe Broschak, and Bob Hinings.  Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics annual meeting. Berkeley, California, June 2016.

Invited Lectures (Last 5 years):

2021    “Women’s Exits from Private Law Practice.” In To make it count!: Using Quantitative Methods in Research. Department of Sociology. California State Polytechnic University Pomona. 16 March 2021.

2017    “Incorporating Volunteer Work into Course Assignments.” Showcase of Teaching and Learning at Queen’s University. Center for Teaching and Learning, Queen’s University. 3 May 2017.

“Opting Out, Opting In, or Shifting Sideways?: Gender and the Careers of Law’s Private Practitioners.” Gendered Globalization of the Legal Profession. Lausanne, Switzerland. 20 March 2017. (Thursday 23 and Friday 24th March 2017; Wed-Sun).

2020.   “Skill Development Practices and Racial-ethnic Diversity in Elite Professional Firms.” Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) Virtual Conference, July 2020 (with Elizabeth Gorman).

2019. “Supportive Relations in a Feminized Occupation: How Male and Female Veterinarians Compare.” Canadian Sociology Association Annual Meeting, Canadian Congress, Vancouver, British Columbia, June 2019 (with Jean E. Wallace).

2019. “Corporate Clients and the Progress of Women in U.S. Law Firms.” Law & Society Association Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C., June 2019 (with Elizabeth Gorman).

2018. “Mobile Technologies and Work-to-Family Boundary Permeability as a Professional Norm in the Private Law Practice in Finland and Canada.” Gendered Globalization of the Legal Professions Conference. Geneva, Switzerland. May 2018 (with Marta Choroszewicz).

2017. “Developmental Practices and Organizational Race and Gender Diversity,” Section on Organizations, Occupations, and Work Open Topic. American Sociology Association Annual Meeting. Montreal, Quebec. August 2017 (with Elizabeth Gorman).

2017. “Clientele and the Progress of Women and Racial Minorities in U.S. Corporate Law Firms.” Joint mini-conference sponsored by Economic Sociology and Organizations, Occupations, and Work Sections of American Sociology Association, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, 11 August 2017.

2017. “Diversity and Equality among Lawyers in Civil Law Context: A Comparison of Finland and Quebec, Canada.” Law & Society Association Annual Meeting. Mexico City, Mexico. 20-23 June 2017 (with Marta Choroszewicz).

2017. “Work Satisfaction, Mentoring Relationships, and Gendered Careers in Law.” Being a Lawyer in Europe and Canada: Careers, Inequalities, Transformations. Conférence organisée par le Centre de Droit Comparé Européen et International (UNIL) et le Centre en Etudes Genre (UNIL), Mercredi 22 mars 2017, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

2016. “Undermining the Pipeline to Gender Equality: Female Attrition from Private Law Practice.” American Sociology Association Annual Meetings, Seattle, Washington, 22 August 2016 (with Stacey Alarie and Jones Adjei).

2016. “Clientele and the Progress of Women and Racial Minorities in U.S. Corporate Law Firms.” Law & Society Association annual meetings. New Orleans, Tennessee. June 2-5, 2016 (with Elizabeth Gorman).

Fiona Kay's Curriculum Vitae

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