IMG_2281.jpg

Well, it doesn’t feel good. After all – the plaintiff trial bar is supposed to be made up of the most progressive lawyers that there are. We are fighting for civil justice – a good and noble cause.

This all starts up (again) 6 days ago. I notice that the slate of officer candidates for a subgroup of a national lawyer organization that I’m in – is all male. I google them to double check and they are all white. I then look at the 36 names of those on the executive board and with 3 exceptions – yes. All white male. So as the congratulations begin to come in for the picking of such a great lineup, I write in: there’s a serious diversity issue.

Crickets.

The next day I tell the other woman currently on the board that I’m going to resign. She asks me not to and makes a post. This generates response. So I stay to see what happens.

Well, initially some of the men speak up in favor of diversity. But then there are others. And no matter who is writing – it is unenlightened. There are not enough women or minority attorneys that’s why we aren’t diverse. We’ve done the work and are in line/deserve to be here. The diverse can join but need to pay their dues, get in line and wait their turn. We don’t see color. We don’t see gender. It’s about talent and hard work nothing else. It’s not about inclusion or preclusion. Don’t critique if you don’t have a solution. They keep going down the rabbit hole until someone decides to make it even more personal.

He facetiously writes that he’s sorry I feel left out and feel victimized. Then accuses me of advancing a “victim’s narrative.” This is the equivalent of punching me in the face in front of an audience.

At that moment I have a choice – stay and fight. Or walk away. This weighs on me. Because I have a history of fighting for diversity. It is one of my life missions. I don’t want to abandon the other female who is my dear friend. But the purpose of this group does not match my purpose anymore. Life is too short to bang my head against this wall. The leaders have power and want to retain it to the exclusion of those who are not white and male. By staying on I am endorsing this group.

I resign.

But the email abuse doesn’t stop. The same man writes: sometimes the truth hurts. I tell them to take me off the email string and they cannot figure it out. So I still have to see it. Even now. In the midst of all this I am doing my usual job and fly to Vegas for this organization’s convention.

Today wake up at 6:30. Check in at 7:30. Do a speech at 8:30 and then the rest of the day prepare for and argue a big motion on our class action case against Seattle Children’s Hospital. After the judge announces he is reserving judgment and will let us know, turn off the computer. It’s 3:30. Decompress and answer work emails. It’s 5. Contemplate going to the opening party and don’t want to. And I like parties. At 6 get take out.

What does it feel like when faced with a wall of white men telling you the sole minority female how fair and unbiased they are… How much they do for diversity. How color and gender blind they are. How merit based and fair the system is…How the only reason for lack of diversity is not enough non-white male lawyers…

What does it feel like when no one except the person who nominated you and the other female publicly takes a stand and tells the victim blaming lawyer to knock it off.

What does it feel like when you know that your efforts will never be enough and that instead of being friendly many now view you warily.

What does it feel like when old scars are ripped off from years even decades past – the rage and pain and humiliation of being a minority female plaintiff lawyer – who has been told she is not big enough, strong enough, loud enough, aggressive enough, dominating enough – male enough – to be a great trial lawyer.

It’s exhausting. That’s what it feels like.

Photo: At the Convention Hotel in front of the stupid misogynistic wallpaper in my sitting room. Hiding her butt crack with my hair.