I started practicing law in the late 1970’s. Yes, that long ago. My books are full of anecdotes about the poor treatment of women lawyers in those days by senior lawyers in law firms (almost all men) and judges, as well. Clients didn’t treat us so well either.
I believe that we have come a long time since those days when some of the lawyers in my firm thought that I should use the professional name “S. Smith Blakely” because it could just as easily be associated with a male attorney. FYI, I did not do that, but I knew it would not have bothered them if I had.
I also remember the outrageous comments by male lawyers and judges that were clearly gender slurs, but that was long before there was any legal protection for gender bias and workplace discrimination, all of which came nearly a decade later. Judges calling me “little girl” and telling me to act like a man in the courtroom would not happen on a regular basis today, and I do not hear those kinds of stories reported by the hundreds, if not thousands, of women lawyers I interact with every year. If I was hearing it, you would be hearing it from me.
Now, Above the Law is dredging up some of those memories in a blog called “The Pink Ghetto.” Apparently it was so popular as a one-time blog that the editors decided to elevate it to feature status. The behaviors reported are pretty outrageous, and it shocks even me that this continues today.
But, I guess that is the point. Does it? Are these anecdotes true, or is this an opportunity for ATL readers to have some fun with exaggeration and creative writing. After all, the submissions are anonymous. I guess you could write anything with impunity. Right? I also wonder if these are current experiences. If they are not, that needs to be clear. Women have enough problems in our profession without throwing suspect fuel on the fire.
What do you think? Decide for yourself: