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Kimberly R. Arnal
WLALA President 2015-2016
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a panel on perceived identity and how gender affects the way women lawyers are perceived by jurors, their peers and judges; and how implicit bias affects women lawyers’ ability to advocate on behalf of their clients. Many of us have heard the stories of jurors focusing more on what a woman attorney was wearing than her arguments. And, there are always the ever present examples of female attorneys being mistaken for the Court Reporter; or opposing counsel assuming the female partner is a junior attorney or secretary.
The panel discussion quickly evolved into an open dialog with the audience. Many female audience members discussed how they often do not enjoy the same presumptions of competence and credibility as their male counterparts. Rather, they found that they had to repeatedly establish that they were skilled lawyers and decision makers. The discussion inevitability turned to whether women attorneys are best served by emulating their male counterparts or behaving in a way to minimize their femininity. Should she lower her voice when she speaks? Is it alright to show emotion? Should she wear a skirt suit versus a pant suit? Is it okay to wear a colorful blouse? One panelist described the process of managing how her gender affects people’s opinion of her as exhausting.
February 6 to June 4, 2016 - WLALA Golf League
May 31, 2016 - Stanley Mosk Power Lunch
June 6, 2016 - Long Beach Power Lunch
June 9, 2016 - WLALApalooza Silent Auction Fundraiser
June 13, 2016 - Stanley Mosk Power Lunch
June 22, 2016 - In-House Counsel Committee Event, Save the Date!
June 28, 2016 - Business Law Section Event, Save the Date!
June 30, 2016 - How to Create Fulfilling Attorney-Client Relationships
July 20, 2016 - WLALA Nail Night
July 28, 2016 - LACBA-WLALA JTF Event, Save the Date!
August 2, 2016 - Improv for Lawyers, Save the Date!
September 8, 2016 - WLALA 2016 Awards and Installation Dinner, Save the Date!
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