Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Strengths of Women Trial Lawyers

   Every once in awhile, I watch a movie about men in war, or men in sports, and the captain, or coach, is upset with the men and makes a statement to the men like, "What do you think you are doing, ladies?"  .  This statement is supposed to be a put-down.  I have wondered not only why this statement is an insult,but also  why I see no one objecting to this common "insult."
   Biologically, men and women commonly share different characteristics.  Several years ago, my husband and I went on a safari in Tanzania and we observed natural wildlife.  In the lion communities, males and females have very different functions.  Lions travel in prides, with several females and youths, and one male.  The function of the females are to kill the food and raise and nurture the offspring.  The function of the male is essentially to procreate.  Procreation is obviously very important.  But so is eating and nurturing the young.  In the lion "kingdom," the females engage in most of the violent activity, killing the prey for subsistence.  The males kill only rarely; killing other rival males, either older or more infirm male lions to take a pride, or younger male lions or male cubs to prevent those other males from taking the pride from the dominant male.  The females kill all the time to feed the young, the male and themselves.  The females protect their young.  The males protect themselves.  What the males do is important in establishing an order to further the existence of the species.  What the females do is the day to day necessary work to exist.  The females are more fierce more often than the males.  In the grand scheme, both the females and males are fierce in furtherance of the existence of the species.  Yet, the females are solely responsible for the lions' day to day nuts and bolts existence.
   Mothers are thought to be nurturing and caring.  Women are considered to be more "emotional" than men.  These are great characteristics.  Mothers fiercely protect there offspring.  Also, an admirable quality.  Women have always had to fight for a greater good, the good of their children.  The majority of whistleblowers I have represented are women.  That is not surprising.  Whistleblowers speak out to protect the common good, even though they are at risk, personally.
   We generally think of trial lawyers as men.  However, women lawyers are naturals as plaintiffs' trial lawyers.  Who better to fight for someone with less power?  Society pegs trial lawyers as bombastic and egotistical, out for themselves.  And there is a rush in winning a nice jury verdict and trial law does attract the most self-aggrandizing in society.  But that is not what our legal system is about.  Women are naturals as protectors of the less powerful in society.  Females fight for those in their charge.  We need more women representing plaintiffs.

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