Lara Bazelon’s recent article in The Atlantic, “What It Takes to Be a Trial Lawyer If You’re Not a Man,” relies on false premises to reach mistaken conclusions that, if accepted, might lead a reader to believe that women cannot be as effective courtroom lawyers as men. Bazelon states as a fact that juries “will be more willing to listen to and be convinced by a traditionally feminine woman.” This is an astonishingly broad statement that has no evidentiary support and is belied by my own experience and that of many other female trial lawyers.
I became a criminal defense lawyer in 1979. Since then, I have been lead counsel in many high-profile cases all over the United States, taught trial practice at Berkeley Law, and lectured nationally on the subject of cross-examination. I have taught, mentored, counseled, tried cases with, and watched many female trial lawyers. In 2010, I was inducted into the California Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, and in 2017 I received the White Collar Criminal Defense Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. I know what I’m talking about when it comes to litigating in a courtroom and conducting a trial.
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