"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Does this country need female attorneys at all?

I am not going to argue that a female attorney is better in any situations than a male attorney.  To me, gender does not define competence, even though for some clients it is easier to discuss certain issues with a male, or a female attorney, respectively.

Yet, based on how female attorneys are treated by the industry of legal services, how they are promoted, or rather, not promoted, and how they are discriminated against, openly and in more subtle ways, it appears that female attorneys still have become the mainstream of the legal profession.

Many female attorneys leave the legal profession because of, among other things:

(1) long hours;
(2) because family obligations are regarded by the law partners (and often by courts) as a hindrance to discharging the attorney's presumed duty of having to work 24-7 without distractions;
(3) lack of promotion within the large law firms;
(4) discrimination in court by the "good old boys club", including male judges and male attorney opponents.

Multiple sources have so far reported on the discrimination against female attorneys in the legal profession, and about, literally, exodus of women from the legal profession.

Yet, the situation is not remedied and becomes worse.  Why?  Because discrimination and humiliation of females in the legal profession is practically unassailable.

There are no trade unions in the legal profession to protect females from discrimination or negotiate "equal pay" contracts or promotion.

Female attorneys are afraid to complain about their employers because they will never get a job if they do complain.

How many times I was perceived as a party, not an attorney simply because I am not dressed in a suit, I am a female and I have an accent...

How many times I was talked down to by a male attorney, when that same attorney would not dream to talk this way to a male counterpart.

How many times I was talked down to or humiliated by a male judge who, similarly, would not dream to talk this way to a male attorney. 

Female attorneys are afraid to complain about sexist conduct of judges because judges who are subject of the complaint have power to affect the attorney's license and end her legal career, thus putting years of costly education and years of acquiring skills and reputation down the drain with a few lines of a retaliative (and incorrect) court order imposing arbitrary sanctions upon an attorney - and your livelihood is done for good, because once your license is pulled, you will not be employable anywhere.

Recently, a female attorney was denied an adjournment of a hearing because she gave birth and the baby was too young and nobody was available to take care of her.  So, the attorney brought the child into the courtroom to avoid a citation of contempt and a loss of rights for her client - only to be publicly chastised by the same judge who denied her the adjournment.  The press reports that an adjournment was given to the attorney, but did not report whether the attorney made a motion to recuse a judge who publicly and unnecessarily humiliated her. 

The attorney did file a complaint about the judge that was being investigated.  I wonder how this judge will be ruling in this attorney's cases after the situation went public.  With the lack of temperament suitable for a judge that the judge already demonstrated, it is naïve to presume that the judge will not use his power to retaliate against this female lawyer in the future, for trying to combine being a mother and being a counsel of her client's choice. 

I doubt that the judge will ever be disciplined for his sexist attitude and uncivilized behavior.  Yet, these are occasions that makes a female attorney think whether it is worth it to remain in the environment so hostile to her simply because she is a woman.

In my own experience, a judge can tell a female attorney:

(1) stop the catfight - about a legal argument - and get away with it;
(2) close your mouth - and get away with it;
(3) yell and humiliate a female attorney at every turn - and get away with it;
(4) retaliate against the female attorney when she complains by imposing arbitrary sanctions - and get away with it.

Please, tell me what is the attraction in using your intellect in order to come to court and be humiliated by a pompous jerk in a black robe who will rule against you no matter what because (1) you are a woman and should know your place; and (2) because he does not like you or your client.

You have to be a masochist to the bottom of your heart to want to earn your living this way.  There are many ways to help people without being an attorney and without subjecting yourself to this endless humiliation.

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