Thursday Rant and Ramble

Posted on | July 19, 2012 | 34 Comments

One of the hardest things for me, as a female attorney, is the expectation of bitchiness.

I do not say that tongue in cheek… I mean it seriously.  When people find out that you are an attorney, as a woman, they primarily think you are a ball busting, man hating, pant suit wearing, she devil who eats law clerks for breakfast and chain smokes cigarettes while yelling “FUCK” at every given opportunity.

And when you are NOT those things, they assume you’re a very bad lawyer.

Here’s the thing… I’m not a bad lawyer.  I may not wake up every morning psyched as hell to be an attorney, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t take my job seriously and it doesn’t mean that I’m pansying about in short skirts and high heels just waiting for the next man to sweep me off my feet and make me into a stay at home wife and mother.   I worked hard to get where I am but I have this “curious” theory that EVERYBODY works hard to get wherever they are.  You’re a paralegal? You probably put in a ton of hours learning what you know and those hours aren’t less worthy because you didn’t pay $120,000 for them.  You’re a legal secretary or a receptionist? Yeah… you put in time, too.  You’re the voice my clients hear when they’re upset.  You’re the person responsible for making me look good when I have to refuse to take a call because I’m in the middle of fifteen other things.  So yeah, you’re pretty freaking important.

I have this strange, weird concept of treating everyone as equals… all of us here, working our jobs, wishing we were home swimming in bottles of liquor.  We all deserve the respect of acknowledgement… acknowledging that we got out of bed, put on our big girl panties, and came to work when we could have just stayed home.  Acknowledging that no one sets out to do a crappy job at something.  Acknowledging that no one wants to screw up but sometimes? Sometimes screw ups happen.

So it seriously pisses me off when I come across people who don’t think that way, people who believe that in order to make themselves stronger, better, or more bad ass, they need to chop you off at your knees.  It pisses me off when I go to a mediation or a deposition and a male attorney thinks he needs to comment on my appearance in order to minimize my importance in the room; it pisses me off when a female attorney ratchets up her bitch factor just because she believes this job is about survival of the fittest, with fitness measured in terms of how many people you can make cry in an eight hour work day.

Being any type of attorney is a hard job.  Being a female attorney is hell.

It’s not all Ally McBeal shared bathrooms or Law and Order prancing in clicky high heels.

It’s mostly about empathy for your clients, understanding for your opposition, and believing that you can do whatever it is you’ve told your client you WILL do.

It’s bravado and spectacle but it’s also down in the trenches, get your feet muddy and try not to squeal, nitty gritty WORK.  Just like what you do.  Just like what we all do.  So the sense that we are somehow better than someone else just because we have “Esquire” after our name? Nonsense.  Pure and utter nonsense.   

So forgive me if I don’t buy into the idea that I have to brow beat and barn storm and assert my authority to get anything done.  I’ve got the muck and mud on my shoes just like everyone else… sometimes more of it.  And when your not-so-trendy, $15 payless shoes are covered in shit? 

You don’t have any room to act the bitch.


34 Responses to “Thursday Rant and Ramble”

  1. jana
    July 19th, 2012 @ 8:43 am

    LOVE the new design!! It fits you!

  2. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    Thanks!! The gorgeous Becca at Jumping Jax Designs did such an incredible job. I keep it up on my desktop just to stare at the design.

  3. Wendy
    July 19th, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    I like the new look too…do you think maybe a new title would be good?

  4. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    You know, I’m pretty partial to my name, actually. 🙂

  5. Wendy
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    I was talkigna bout the spilled milk

  6. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

    Yeah… I kinda like that name, too. Makes me laugh. 🙂

  7. Jessica Applegate
    July 19th, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    I’m glad you don’t eat me for breakfast. Thank you for that. In other news, you are a badass attorney. Remember that.

  8. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    I just play a badass attorney on tv. Thursdays at 10pm. Fox Files.

  9. Lauren Hancock
    July 19th, 2012 @ 9:00 am

    Love it!!! And I second Jessica on both counts—thanks for not eating me for breakfast either AND you are a badass attorney!
    Love the new design!

  10. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:23 pm


  11. paralegalmom
    July 19th, 2012 @ 9:39 am

    You rock. As do all working women. I will fess up that part of why I didn’t go to law school is that I don’t know what I can cut it to do what you do. You? Are awesome.

  12. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

    So are you. 🙂

  13. Mom on a Line
    July 19th, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    Love this! We are on the same wave length. I try to treat everyone as equals and give them all the respect that I want. Many times, this is seen as a weakness by other attorneys. I don’t care.

    I do have one question: Have you been working with my opposing counsel this week? Whenever I talk to him, he tells me “with all due respect, I don’t think you have authority to negotiate with me.” Really? Apparently, the due respect he has for me is zippo!

    Love the new look of the blog.

  14. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

    Oh. My. God.
    Please tell me that your response is “With all due respect, YOU CAN’T HANDLE MY AUTHORITY!” But authority should be pronounced “Aw-thaw-ritty”

  15. Mom on a Line
    July 19th, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

    Gosh, I’m not that quick on my feet! Next time though 😉

  16. Melanie
    July 19th, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    Love. this. article. And the new look is AWESOME!

  17. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    Thank you, thank you! 🙂

  18. Jess
    July 19th, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    You know I’ve never run into that, maybe it’s because I work for the state. It’s almost the opposite because I feel like since I’m young and a woman they think I’m incapable. They’re quite surprised when I lay it down in a no nonsense way. I kinda like it. A lot.

  19. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    I think you’re very very lucky. I get a lot of pandering… but then again, you live in Texas and I live in middle Georgia… that may have more to do with the attitudes…

  20. Mrs. Burks
    July 19th, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    I’m a legal assistant, and literally moments before I read this, I said these words to a coworker: “One day I’m going to act as stupid as my attorney thinks I am.” Because I would love to see him do his job without me doing mine to the best of my ability. Belittling my intelligence doesn’t make anyone a better lawyer, and it certainly doesn’t make me any more inclined to go out of my way to do my best for you. Sad, but it’s the truth.

  21. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

    It’s so true!!! Why would you want to offend the people who work for you? What could that possible get you other than people talking about you behind your back and looking for other jobs??

  22. Libby James
    July 19th, 2012 @ 10:39 am

    I am an attorney in Charlotte and I know exactly what you are taling about. There was one case, after arguing motions and sitting second chair with my boss, the opposing (male) attorney turned to me and said “is this some sort of paralegal program that lets you argue motions?” I responded “I have been an attorney since 2005, thanks.”

  23. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

    You should have said “Yes. It’s called law school.” Then bitch slapped him.

  24. KeAnne
    July 19th, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    OMG, do male lawyers really comment on your appearance? I need for you to meet my friend Amber. She’s an attorney in NC but practiced in GA before moving back to NC. I bet you are well-liked by your coworkers for treating everyone as equals and acknowledging that everyone works hard.

  25. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

    YES! More often than not, the first thing they say is something like “Oh well I’m not opposed to sit here and stare at you for a few hours” or something implying something even more distasteful. I had one OC actually tell me one time that he’d make a call for more money if I’d promise to give him a hug.

  26. Jennifer Williams
    July 19th, 2012 @ 11:26 am

    That second paragraph? I kind of want to be that chick. But you know… nice.

  27. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    LOL!!! I think, on some days, I AM that chick…

  28. Dre
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    I have been an attorney for 10 years, and I still get called the secretary… I love this post. It describes my thoughts exactly! It is so wonderful to read about other female attorneys who do not feel like they need to act like complete b!tches in order to be taken seriously.

  29. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

    I hate that whole mentality and it is EVERYWHERE… how do we change it??

  30. Barbra
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    Can I come work for you?! Its astonishing the percentage of lawyers that think more highly of themselves than they should. We need more lawyers like you. Not just for the comfort of “lower level” employees, but for the betterment of client’s cases and the justice system in general. I’ve been a litigation paralegal for ten years and have only worked for two lawyers that held your point of view.

  31. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    That is really sad. REALLY sad. Maybe law schools need to spend more time teaching humility.

  32. lcarswell
    July 19th, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    This is an awesome post. A few months ago I had DFCS case where I represent the mother and have done so for over a year. A “good old boy” attorney entered on behalf of an aunt. It was a hotly contested matter and we were in court frequently. I would also file motions and responses to motions, which I would then serve on said attorney. After about six months of back and forth since said attorney entered the case, we were in court one day when he turns to me and says “are you new to this case?” REALLY? Maybe I need to up my bitchiness to get noticed?

  33. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

    Don’t you just want to kick people who do crap like that???

  34. Sven
    July 20th, 2012 @ 10:35 am

    “I have this strange, weird concept of treating everyone as equals…” … I wish more people thought this way.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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