Women lawyers, pay equity and open harassment

Suing is a potent way for women to get equal pay for equal work–see the Lilly Ledbetter case.  So it’s pretty distressing to read that women lawyers, numbers of whom are fighting this problem for clients in court–suffer under the same inequitable system.

Ugh. From Law.com:

As more women lawyers use litigation to fight unequal pay it begs the question of whether effective methods exist for pursuing equality internally before going to the courts. But women lawyers familiar with gender disparity issues said many attorneys face backlash when they complain about compensation or do nothing in fear of those consequences.

And yesterday, there was this, in the Times:

An effort to bar sexist or discriminatory comments by lawyers addressing each other has been criticized for inhibiting the ability to speak freely.

Source: Bar Association Considers Striking ‘Honeys’ From the Courtroom – The New York Times

I’m throwing in below how the story begins because it makes me grate my teeth and I feel if I’m grating my teeth, you’ll want to grate yours. You know, kind of comradeship?

When Lori Rifkin asked the opposing lawyer to stop interrupting her while she questioned a potential witness, he replied: “Don’t raise your voice at me. It’s not becoming of a woman.”

The remark drew a rebuke and fine in January from a federal magistrate who declared that the lawyer had “endorsed the stereotype that women are subject to a different standard of behavior than their fellow attorneys.”

“A sexist remark,” said the judge, Paul S. Grewal of the Federal District Court in San Jose, Calif., “is not just a professional discourtesy, although that in itself is regrettable and all too common.”

Many female lawyers would agree. They say that even as more women graduate from law school and represent clients in courtrooms, it is not rare for them to be addressed as “honey” or “darling.” Sometimes they are subject to a grating remark, or an arm around the shoulder, they say.

Ugh to the second power.

UPDATE 8/12/2016. Rah to the second power! They did it:

The American Bar Association revised its ethics rule to forbid lawyers from using demeaning or misogynistic terms or actions.

Source: Goodbye to ‘Honeys’ in Court, by Vote of American Bar Association – The New York Times

P.S. Am I being judgmental when I point up that the president of the American Bar Association is a woman? An African-American woman?

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