A friend of mine, a female lawyer whom I respect greatly, shared an article on social media today that has import for lawyers and clients.
It was an Atlantic Monthly article by Lara Bazelon, a career trial lawyer and, now, law professor, that details the obstacles women lawyers face that men never face.
It's an eye-opening look at practicing law from a woman's perspective. It details the sexism that pervades the justice system, and provides us with many examples of how women who practice law have to navigate the waters full of sexist lawyers, judges and clients.
Bazelon writes about how difficult it is for women lawyers to network within the profession. I saw this roughly ten years ago, I was amazed to hear judges say to professional, prepared black women lawyers appearing in court such things such as, "You don't look like a lawyer," or, even worse, referring to them as "lady lawyers," in a tone of voice one reserves for small children. I saw law firms deny jobs to qualified women lawyers. I saw judgeships go to unqualified men over qualified women.
This is why I began mentoring women lawyers and non-white women lawyers in 2010, and continue to network and promote diversity for these lawyers. When assigned capital murder cases, I always make sure my defense team contains women and minority women lawyers.
Thankfully, there has been a small crack in the wall and I see women lawyers gaining momentum and receiving the respect they deserve.
While the legal profession has improved dramatically, and we are, I hope, past the era of thinking "lady lawyers" are cute, there needs to be considerable improvement in the diversity of the bar.
I have attached the link to this excellent article for your review:
(Required by Alabama law: No representation is made that the quality of legal services is greater than other lawyers.)