Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dear White, Male, Private Criminal Defense Attorneys Over Fifty,

This "Lady-Lawyer" has some suggestions for you. As always, in no particular order...

1. When you see me walk into my courtroom before the morning call has started, and I am carrying a HUGE box of case files, and I haven't even had a chance to put them down, don't come up to me to discuss the unique and particular needs of your client. I do not know who the fuck you are. I do not know who you represent. And I do not know what your client has done. Give me a moment. One moment to put my things down. It's the polite thing to do.

2. When I am talking to another defense attorney, do not walk up and start talking to me. Wait until it is your turn.

3. If you happen to know that I am new, do NOT, DO NOT, tell me "how it's done". I don't care if you used to be "in the office." I do not need to be "trained" by you.

4. Do not wink at me.

5. Do not tell me to smile.

6. DO NOT TOUCH ME.

7. If you don't like the offer I give you, don't go to my male first chair. He will not change the offer. It's bad form. Not to mention the fact that I'm new, and have to clear my offers with him anyway. Now you've just insulted me, and annoyed him.

8. If you want to tell me one thing in the hallway, and then the complete opposite thing in front of a judge, do not come up to me later and say "I'm sorry, you'll learn that is how it works." I do not accept that "that is how it works." No... "that" is not how it works. "That" is why lawyers have bad reputations as untrustworthy and dishonest. I strive to be better. That sort of sage advice is not welcome.

9. Did I mention don't touch me? OH! Don't touch me.

10. Do not, please, for the sake of humanity, don't send your client out of the room, and then proceed to tell me what an idiot/loser/fuckup your client is. Think it, if you wish. You are probably right. Your client probably IS an idiot/loser/fuckup. But your idiot/loser/fuckup client has paid you good money to not be a backstabbing asshole. They hired someone to be their advocate. They NEED that. BE their advocate. And not just to their face. You don't have to like them or respect them. But bashing them just makes you look worse than you already do for winking and touching and interrupting me.

11. I wear a skirt 2-3 times a week. Yes. I know I have nice legs, but we are IN A COURT OF LAW. It is not appropriate to comment on them. (Namby Pamby, you know you are the exception)FURTHERMORE, don't you DARE let me hear you commenting on my legs or any other part of my body to YOUR CLIENT. (IE "Perks of this courtroom, Jose, young, sexy prosecutors you can go home and whack off to..." You want to be a zealous advocate for your client? Zealously advocate for a happier and healthier future for your often young, often undereducated, often underprivileged male client. Don't demonstrate that it's ok to objectify women. If they see it's ok to disrespect a woman who actually has the power to get them thrown in jail, how do you think they are going to treat the other women in their lives?

12. Say please and thank you. I will, too.

13. Don't tell me what my first or second chair did or said on a previous court date, if it's not true. I will NEVER believe you. I will always ask them first. And then you're stuck looking like a fucking liar.

14. Oh my GOD. Jeans are not appropriate for court. Even with a sportcoat. And Betty Boop ties on anyone, let alone you, are so fucking insanely wrong. If I were a defendant, and my defense attorney showed up with jeans and a betty boop tie, I would ask for my money back. you disrespect us all.

That's all. For now. You may be wondering why this letter is directed exclusively to the white, male, criminal defense attorneys over the age of 50. Well, there's a reason. YOU ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO BEHAVE LIKE THIS!!!!!!!

For the first few weeks in this new assignment, I may have appeared vulnerable. I was. For many reasons. Some personal, and some professional. Now, I am not so vulnerable.

Do. Not. Fuck. With. Me.

Sincerely,

Lady-Lawyer Grace

PS Don't fucking touch me.

24 comments:

i hate myself said...

Yesssssssssssss Grace is back!

PS: I feel like most white men over 50 behave like this, be they lawyers, bank tellers, morticians, custodians, or middle managers.

We can only hope our white male friends under 50 do not share the DNA of their predecessors. If they do, they're f-ed anyway, because we wear higher, pointer heels now. And we all know for what those can best be used.

PPS: Grace does have amazing legs, and gets stared at 24/7. Frankly, I'd probably stare at her too. I just wouldn't glare, touch, or drool. Because I'm not an ass.

Dysfunction Junction said...

Jesus, Mary & Joseph...the fucking "why don't you smile??"

The bain of my existence.

finaleofseem said...

Who the FUCK touches someone IN A COURT OF LAW? Jesus.

And jeans? That should be grounds for disbarring that attorney.

obsquatch said...

I took notes, I will be ready for the final exam. I gave up drinking for a week, especially after re-reading my last post. How does that shit get by me? I am so touched that I'm your Favorite Future Firetruck, now I know I will never fail again.

Kellen said...

Following most of these rules is why our prosecutors like us PDs more than the private attorneys. Although, we don't have any female prosecutors in our court, so some of the more disturbing rule violations mentioned above don't arise. Still, as a rule, I would say that PDs are much less smarmy than private folk.

The Namby Pamby said...

I still can touch, right?

Anonymous said...

Best post. Ever.

Anonymous said...

If I could get a computer to stand up and applaud you, I would. Bravo, Grace.

Bar DAze said...

omg. You must have been in my courtroom.

"Well, well, well, THAT must be the alpha-gal in charge here, just lookey at that red hair, my grandma and great aunt both had red hair and I just always knew not to go gettin' cross-wise with 'em, but I loved it, I sure did love it, hi, my name is ASSHOLE ATTORNEY"

Oh, and when I don't immediately cave when you explain how this was just a big cop screw-up, DO NOT open and poke my Crim Code with your sweaty dirty overly-cologned finger and tell me to "LOOK, just LOOK right here - this isn't even against the law!".

We're done here. Have a good day.


Sorry Grace, I got carried away.

Harmless Error said...

Ahhh big city criminal courts really ARE the same everywhere...

Great post.

Thinking Fool said...

Damn, woman! Love it! Go kick some ass.

You're not alone. . . said...

. . . it happened to fat ass six-foot-one GUYS too. . . and no, I didn't like being touched by the idiots.
Best retort I ever heard: "Practicing law for 40 years doesn't make you good, it makes you old." Said on the record in Branch 62 - go Mayflower!

five tomatoes said...

I love this list, in particular 3, 4-6, 10, 12, and 14. When I clerked for the PD's office I had clients hit on me and was used to that, but having defendants hit on me now is so bizarre. I'm trying to revoke your license and you want to take me on a date?

Also, to the commenter above me, that is the best response ever. I have one attorney in particular who sasses me all the time and am so excited to use it on him.

Laughing said...

Oh my god. The touching. HAAAATE. On the other hand, I do get some tiny satisfaction out of reacting to an impending touch with the over-exaggerated jump back like the person might be carrying the plague. Or from asking, "why are you touching me?"

I would add to your list: do not call me kiddo, sweetie, darling, dear, hon, or anything even remotely similar.

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO MUCH! I am thinking of printing this out and pasting it in the lawyer room of a local courthouse. (When no one is watching of course). And I am a private, criminal defense attorney. I am so sick of the sportcoat, jeans, athletic shoe wearing 50 something white guys acting like they get to go ahead of me when I have been patiently waiting for my favorite prosecutor. And I NEVER EVER LIE to a prosecutor cause the day I walk in and tell them my guy really deserves a break I want them to fucking believe me. And another thing, I introduce myself to the prosecutors. I think they deserve to know who they are dealing with so they can remember that I did not screw them over the next time I ask for a rec. And while I am at it......I have never asked for a continuance because "my client hasn't paid me yet". Seriously, heard one of those old white guys asking for that today. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

As a female prosecutor, so awesome. Although I will say none of the defense attorneys EVER touched me, I don't know if it's my size (I'm taller than most of them) or my age (early 30's) or my non-smiling face. Actually, I have had more defendants try to shake my hand and I always find that weird (I don't do it, dude, I was trying to CONVICT you). And Kellen, you are right, I much prefer dealing with PD's because they do not generally pull that kind of crap. My non lawyer friends say things like, "You must hate working with PD's" and I am always quick to tell them that I prefer it. Also, that if I got in trouble, I would rather have a PD represent me. Well, if I could choose the PD. Some are better than others.
Oh, and I SO hate the "I used to work for the office" and am sad to report that I have heard that from women lawyers under 50.

ballerinatoes said...

Awesome post. Especially the Betty Boop tie. OC appeared at a guardianship hearing last week wearing a 3 Stooges tie. Really? The ef'ing 3 Stooges? And yes, he was over 50.

Fannie said...

A Betty Boop tie? Really?


Also, I don't get why older men always feel like they need to order younger women to "smile." Feminists write about this strange phenomenon a lot. Maybe we should carry this.

Melissa said...

Thank you for brightening up my Monday! Great post.

newduck said...

Oh. My. Gawd. I'm a prosecutor, too, in a city not too far from you. I just found your blog through Five Tomatoes and I am Rolling. On. The. Ground. Just fantastic.

But I have to say, I'm jealous that you have someone in court with you. I was fed to the lions after a week on the job, alone, and I have remained alone ever since. It's a lonely, lonely world.

Sam Sachs said...

I know you wrote this about two months ago, but I loved it all the same. I mean I really LOVED the SHIT out of it. Multiple times. One of my favorite pieces yet. I also love that all of your "old stuff" is still new to me, so even if you aren't writing anything, I still have plenty LAW WITH GRACE to catch up on. And thank god for that, because I'm bored, hate life and need distraction. And I can't think of a distraction I'd enjoy more. Actually that's a lie. I can think of one, but it's considered a felony in most states, so we'll forget I mentioned it.

J. Sutton said...

It's ironic that you have the audacity to publish a blog like this and criticize experienced lawyers regarding their lack of professionalism. If your fortunate enough to still be practicing law when your in your 50's (which is doubtful) I'll lay odds that you will be pining for a little of the attention you abhor so vehemently now.

Stephanie said...

Perhaps J. Sutton should learn the difference between "your" and "you're." I'm just saying...

xoxo, a Lady Defense Attorney

J. Sutton said...

A litte constructive criticism is always helpful.