UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 20 | Dec.
Lives touched, changed by professor's insights
Scholar focused attention on intersecting needs, rights
by Prof. Susan Boyd, Law
Marlee Kline, a professor of Law at UBC since 1989, died Nov. 29.
Since March 2000, Marlee fought leukemia with the courage, dignity,
and quiet determination that characterized her life and her work.
Her passing, at age 41, is a great loss to UBC's intellectual community,
especially the feminist community.
Marlee will be remembered as a dedicated and inspiring teacher
and a brilliant scholar. She was a compassionate and supportive
Colleague Ruth Buchanan said, "She had a quality of rapt attention
that made you feel that when she listened to you there was absolutely
nothing else on her mind," despite her numerous responsibilities
within and beyond the university.
Marlee's research on child welfare law, restructuring of the welfare
state and especially the structures of sexism and racism within
law was foundational, inspiring academics around the world.
Within the law school, Marlee worked hard to strengthen the First
Nations Law Program, as well as Feminist Legal Studies.
Marlee had a significant impact on many students, particularly
those marginalized within society or within the law school. She
taught Social Welfare Law, Feminist Perspectives on Law, Feminist
Legal Theory, and Property Law.
Margot Young, currently the Walter Owen Visiting Chair at the
Law Faculty, said, "I know how dedicated Marlee was to teaching,
how much time she put into her classes and into providing extensive
feedback on student work. Marlee was committed to a critical, challenging,
and engaged study of law and legal institutions.
"She worked hard to incorporate alternative and diverse perspectives
into class materials and discussion.
"She also offered to many students the kind of support and regard
that made it possible for them to flourish during their law school
In 2001 the J.C. Smith Scholar Award was awarded to Marlee in
recognition of her outstanding contributions to the law faculty.
Marlee leaves behind her partner Joel Bakan, also a professor
in the faculty, and their five-year-old son Myim, as well as many
Many lives were touched and changed by Marlee's approach to law,
her teaching, and her insights about law, justice and power. We
will miss her enormously.
Prof. Susan Boyd is the chair in Feminist Legal Studies in the
Faculty of Law.