Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education

First Advisor

Christine A. Nelson

Second Advisor

Cecilia Orphan

Third Advisor

Sarah Hurtado

Fourth Advisor

Tom Romero


Discourse analysis, Diverse law students, Law school, Legal education, Motherhood studies, Mothers


Mothers are an increasing student population in higher education but an extensively under-researched population. While research examining motherhood is limited, the dearth of studies examining motherhood in higher education is especially limited, with even less available in the legal field and the institutions that provide legal education. This study examined how mothers in law school made meaning of their experiences utilizing a postmodernist epistemological framework, postmodernism and performance as a theoretical framework, and critical discourse analysis as a methodology. Data collection took place over the 2022-2023 academic year. Eight mothers participated in this qualitative study representing a range of ability status, age, demographic, socioeconomic, and racial diversity. Findings from this study indicate that there are safe and unsafe discourses on motherhood, systems of power frame the student-mother law school experience, there is a culture of law school and the legal field, and the culture of law school does not support mental health. This study also presents recommendations for research, practice, and policy to various law school stakeholders on increasing equity for mothers in law school.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Sarah M. Jordon


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


265 pgs

File Size

2.3 MB


Higher education, Gender studies, Law

Available for download on Saturday, December 13, 2025