As someone who views the legal profession from an outside perspective, I can tell you that every once in a while I get wallopped with something happening in the industry that catches me by surprise.  Perhaps none was more shocking than reports of the Mad Men-esque, old-boys-club stories I’ve heard about sexism in the courtroom.

A while ago I met with a Rocket Matter client firm in Chicago, consisting of a male partner and three young associates, all women.  The women began to describe some of the sexist encounters they faced, and they were as surprised as I was that I hadn’t heard about any of this.  These female attorneys thought this courtroom treatment was common knowledge.

I assure you, sexism in the courtroom is not common knowledge.  The idea that officers of the court, or judges for that matter, are denigrated because of their gender is an idea that doesn’t compute for a 21st-century inhabitant. I thought we left these attitudes behind thirty years ago or more.

Some may think I’m naive, not informed, or that I don’t keep my ear to the ground (all those things might be true, by the way).  But self-deprecation aside,  there’s a good chance that if I haven’t heard of this, as someone who’s very close to the legal industry, very few people outside the world of lawyers, judges, and courts know about this either.

I tasked our investigative reporting team to look into the issue.  This group has already researched and raised awareness about substance abuse, depression, and sexual harassment in the legal profession.  The result is a five-part series we’re running this week.

Perhaps there’s a contingent of people who don’t care, or agree with the judge who shouted at a female litigator “Don’t you understand? We need you at home with Manhattan in hand waiting for us because we earn the income!”  After all, on the day we are beginning our series, Twitter is alight with recordings of a misogynistic and unapologetic Tucker Carlson saying the crassest things about women (and who is defended by Donald Trump Jr.)

But as our reporting uncovered, we seem to be on a continuum that is heading towards fairness. As we’ll discuss, women judges and attorneys are leading the charge to understand the issues involved in gender bias and raise awareness in the community.  And in spite of some of the horror stories, one attorney spoke up about the professionalism of the judges and counsel she works with.

Sexism in the courtroom needs awareness and it needs men and women to combat it.

Update:  Lara Bazelon, who wrote an article on sexism in the courtroom for The Atlantic, share her thoughts on our podcast here.

 

 

View Original Source
Photo of Larry Port Larry Port

Since 2007, my company has made the lives of thousands of lawyers a whole lot easier. If your law firm is plagued with billing and collection problems, lacks insight into your performance, cannot seem to get organized, and/or are stuck with inelegant, ancient software, Rocket Matter is built for you.

Rocket Matter is my baby. It’s a cloud and mobile software platform for lawyers to run more profitable and automated law firms. We’d love to show you more about how we can make your life easier. Sign up for a free trial and we’ll see how we can help: https://goo.gl/BSMfnR.

Or just send me an email: larry@rocketmatter.com

My co-author Dave Maxfield and I published recognized the lack of formalized business processes in most law firms, so we decided to write a book. Our effort, “The Lean Law Firm: Run Your Firm Like the World’s Most Profitable Businesses” (ABA, 2018) was the bestselling book at ABA TECHSHOW in 2018. We combine a graphic novel and engaging writing to inject systems-thinking into the business of law. Please take a look at www.leanlawfirmbook.com where you can find information on the book and our weekly podcast.

Law firms and bar associations invite me to speak on a variety of topics: cybersecurity, Lean, technology, and health and wellness are my specialties. I’m an avid reader and learner and love to share information in interactive, humorous sessions.

I’m more often known as the husband of Dina Roth Port, a women’s health writer and author of Previvors. I’m very proud of my wife, a truly gifted talent. Her book about reducing one’s risk of breast cancer has been helping women since 2010. We live in Boca Raton with our two awesome kids, two ridiculous dogs, and a catnip-addicted cat.

When not spending time working or with my family you can find me at Orangetheory, playing Ultimate Frisbee, reading, coaching little league, or volunteering for the Anti-Defamation League.