Gender Bias And Legal Careers

Studies show that although women have been entering the law in equal numbers to men for more than a decade, they make up just 23 percent of partners and 19 percent of equity partners. Why do so many women  leave the legal profession at what should be the height of their careers? Last month, more than 160 lawyers gathered at Harvard Law School in November for the ABA National Summit on Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law to identify answers and plot a course to change the trends.

Sharon Rowen, a lawyer from Atlanta,  said her research showed three reasons women leave the practice of law: work/life balance, unconscious bias, and the pay gap. I wish I could have attended the discussion. I hope someone pointed out that seeking work/life balance is the major reason for the pay gap, and that it is not unreasonable to view that as a trade-off that is both fair and reasonable.  Rowan’s list also leaves off conscious bias that pervades society and clients regarding female lawyers, as well as law firm partners.

Iris Bohnet, professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, said some women suffer from “success fatigue,” and leave “because of a work culture that forces them to minimize important parts of their lives.” They ask themselves, “Can I bring my whole self to work?” and “Is this a place where I can thrive?” What she is saying is that a lot of women don’t find the law enjoyable, and that its stresses, patterns and requirements are more accommodating to men than women. In other words, law isn’t fun for a lot of women, while men, because of the nature of males, are more tolerant of it than women tend to be. I wonder if any panelist had the guts to come right out and say that? I doubt it. I bet most of them would deny it, because it’s politically incorrect to admit any gender differences, unless they involve female superiority.
Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/28/2017: Late For My Ethics CLE Seminar Edition!

 

GOOD MORNING!

1 Incredible! The stupid NFL Anthem Protest Ethics Train Wreck is still dominating the newscasts this morning. Now football fans are organizing boycotts and burning NFL merchandise. Meanwhile, I heard a quick exchange this morning where an advocate for “The Knee” insisted that “it’s not about the National Anthem” and the retort was, “If it’s not about the National Anthem, why is the protest during the National Anthem?” Good question. The Ethics Alarms Protest Checklist could have prevented this whole mess. That, or the simple responsible act of the NFL telling its players that they were free to make whatever political statements and protests they chose, out of uniform and as private citizens, but when they attempted to do so on the NFL’s time, on the field, the they were doing harm to the team, the league and the game.

2. Speaking of tribalism, what can you call Michelle Obama’s statement encouraging gender bias (as long as it is favor of the right gender) with her statement that “Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice”? I’ll give the former First Lady credit, though: she has always been a hard left demagogue, but for the most part completely avoided venting these views while her husband in office. That was prudent, appropriate and wise.

3. Why does the President keep saying that the U.S. is the most heavily taxed nation in the world? This has been debunked over and over. Has no one told him?

4. Conservative news sources and blogs are thrilled that ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame, the central figure in a false Democratic narrative concocted to embarrass the Bush Administration, embarrassed herself by tweeting anti-Semitic sentiments. Alan Dershowitz explains her conduct in excruciating detail here, but Plame is a non-entity. The Right’s obsession with is story is pure revenge. She’s not important, the Plame Affair is not only old news, but also an event that not one in 10,000 Americans could explain if their lives depended on it, and the fact that one woman whom Democrats tried to make into a martyr over a decade ago for partisan gain is a bigot just isn’t news.

5. Ugh—late for my seminar!

 

Comment Of The Day: “The Most Unethical Sentencing Fallacy Of All: Lavinia Woodward Gets “The King’s Pass”

I am almost caught up on my backlog of Comments of the Day!

This one, by multiple COTDs author Humble Talent, is really two; I’m taking the liberty of combining his later explication with the original comment, as they follow as the night follows day. The topic is bias and double standards in the criminal justice system, and hold on to your hat.

Here is Humble Talent’s 2-for 1 Comment of the Day on the post, “The Most Unethical Sentencing Fallacy Of All: Lavinia Woodward Gets “The King’s Pass”:

You know, every now and again when I’m feeling adventurous, I go to a place I think will have a whole lot of people that don’t think like me and poke at their sacred cows. You meet all kinds of people, and recently, I was given probably one of the better answers to a gender/race issue from the other side yet.

The original fact pattern is that racial activists will cite disparate impact as a problem at every stage of an interaction with the legal system. Black people are more likely to be pulled over, more likely to be arrested, more likely to be charged, more likely to be convicted, and more likely to receive harsher sentences… All for the same stimulus. All of this, by the way, is true. It doesn’t account for the five-fold disparity between the black and white prison population on a per capita basis, but it is a thumb on the scale.

The juxtaposition is that the disparity between men and women in the justice system is about six times that of the racial disparity I just described. Men are more likely to be pulled over, more likely to be arrested, more likely to be charged, more likely to be convicted, and more likely to receive harsher sentences… All for the same stimulus. Sonja Starr wrote extensively on this, and despite some of her methodology being questioned, there’s general consensus that she was on to something.

So the question is that if someone is deeply concerned about inequality, that they are genuinely interested in justice for everyone, why wouldn’t you be just as, if not more concerned with the gender disparity, than the racial one? Continue reading

“Is Your Dog’s Halloween Costume Sexist?” No, It’s Just Cruel And Stupid…

dog-costumes

In an article in its business section that screams desperation, the Washington Post examined the earth-shattering issue  of whether PetSmart sells sexist dog costumes for Halloween. I suppose an argument can be made that this really is newsworthy, since the fact that some feminists and those in the throes of end-stage political correctness mania have actually registered objections about this does confirm the theory, bolstered by our current Presidential campaign, that the nation is losing its collective mind, and not all that slowly, either.

Apparently PetSmart places gender labels on its Halloween dog costumes, so firefighter and police officer outfits are for male dogs, while the owners of female dogs must choose between “a pink cowgirl costume and pink loofah.” On the website BaxterBoo.com, female canines are pointed towards the “sweetheart nurse” garb or the ever-popular “French maid.”

Never mind that: who wants to be caught dead doing anything on a website called “Baxter Boo”?

Scott Lawrie, who co-hosts a gender-focused podcast called, “She will not be ignored,”’ told the Post,

“It seems silly on the surface, but this is part of a larger message we’re sending, that there are certain jobs for men, and certain jobs for women. The career options for women — and dogs — need to go beyond pink loofahs and pink cowgirls.”

No, Scott, it’s silly all the way down: Continue reading

The Manager, The Hot Reporter, Conflicts and Professionalism

moranfarrell

It’s nice of my favorite baseball team to supply me with ethics stories, don’t you think? This one has management ethics, relationship ethics, journalism ethics, sexual harassment and professionalism.

The Boston Globe reported last week that Boston Red Sox manager John  Farrell and Comcast SportsNet New England reporter Jessica Moran, who covered the team,  were romantically involved. Moran promptly resigned. This quickly degenerated into the usual ethically muddled discussion by members of the public who watch George Stephanopoulos interview Hillary Clinton and see nothing amiss, and have been so badly taught the ethics basics that they couldn’t identify a conflict of interest if they tripped on one, and members of the news media, who, if anything, are worse.  Among the questions being floated, and their somehow elusive answers…

These are consenting adults. Why aren’t they free to have a relationship?

Because they are professionals, with special duties to their constituencies and stakeholders, and the relationship between a reporter and her subject undermines independence, loyalty, trust and competence.

Why is it always the woman the one who has to lose her job?

It isn’t. The journalist has to lose her job, because the journalist breached the basic ethics of the profession. The baseball manager’s conduct is wrong,  but comparatively tangential to his duties at worst. It is still seriously unethical, however, and undermines team culture and the status of other women who have duties involving the team.  Farrell, by dating Moran, was sending a message to his players and other team personnel that these women are legitimate targets for sexual courtship rather than workplace colleagues.  The relationship may have constituted third party sexual harassment, making other women feel as if team leadership had sent the message that they weren’t to be taken seriously as professionals.

Why is everyone making a big deal about this? She’s a beautiful young woman, covering a team of men. Isn’t this to be expected? Continue reading

#FreeKesha Ethics: Ignorance, Indignation And Feminist Bias Vs. The Law

Kesha

Perhaps, if you don’t follow pop music, you managed to miss the long, long ongoing drama of singer Kesha’s (formerly “Ke$ha”—I know, I know… ) legal efforts to get out of her recording contract with  Sony and producer Dr. Luke, (Lukasz Gottwald) who has produced hits by other artists like Katy Perry, Rihanna, Pitbull and Miley Cyrus. It isn’t over, but the unethical caterwauling by Kesha and her supporters both in and out of the industry is deafening.

Also off-key.

Kesha Rose Sebert was 18  and an unknown singer from Nashville  when she signed a five or six (I have read both)  album contract with one of Dr. Luke’s recording companies in 2005. It took five years, but the producer’s faith in her paid off when Tik Tok became the No. 1 song in the country. Kesha released two albums in the next two years, but none since 2012.

In October 2014, Kesha’s legal team sued Dr. Luke for alleged sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, emotional abuse, and violation of California business practices since the beginning of their business relationship. The lawsuit claimed that Dr. Luke had  drugged her, raped her while she was drugged,  and also tormented her to the point where Kesha developed an  eating disorder that eventually required medical attention. Kesha asked that the court let her out of her exclusive recording contract because, as she put it in a sworn affidavit, “I cannot work with this monster.”

Dr. Luke, not appreciating being branded a rapist, filed a countersuit against Kesha and her attorneys for defamation, and accused her, her mother, and her management of fabricating the abuse claims to break her contract with him and his partner, Sony. Last November, Dr. Luke asked the judge to dismiss Kesha’s allegations of sexually abusing her. Continue reading

Observations On The New Hampshire Democratic Candidates Debate

NH debate

I’m sure that there are loyalists who just love watching Clinton or Sanders no matter what they are doing and saying, just as I will watch even a lousy Danny Kaye movie just to see Danny Kaye. But wow, I’d really like to see the results of a post-mortem on the brain of anyone who said last night’s debacle was anything but excruciating and depressing. If I were a Democrat, I’d be on a three-day drunk after last night. I’m not, and I’m still considering it. This was easily the worst presidential candidates debate I’ve ever seen, read about or analyzed.

Why? Well, how many other debates had two candidates, their faces contorted in anger, shouting at each other (Bernie is always shouting, really) when they hardly disagree about anything of substance? How often is it so obvious that one candidate isn’t trying to win, and avoids every opening and opportunity to take down his opponent? As I have said before, if I had contributed to Sanders, I’d demand my money back. I thought losing the pathetic Martin O’Malley would be a plus, but it wasn’t. Focusing only on the irredeemably absurd Sanders and the unquestionably corrupt Clinton just made the question more vivid: after two and a half centuries as a major party, how could the Democratic Party have so little respect for the American public and so little devotion to its role in selection of the Presidency to leave us with this?

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here are specific observations. The transcript is here.

1 More than any debate in 2016, this was performed as if  only hard-left loyalists were watching, and the moderators behaved that way as well. Agenda items like the minimum wage and “equal pay for jobs” were tossed off as shorthand and givens, without any fear that anyone would say, “Hey, wait a minute..” Yesterday, for example, data was revealed showing that in six major cities that enacted large minimum wage hikes last year, employment has suffered—as predicted by anyone without “progressive” blinders on. That would have been a good question to raise, but nobody was there to raise it. Rachel Maddow? Right.

2. The debate was deja vu, and little else. How many times do we need to hear Sanders’ generalized rap about the economy being rigged, Wall Street being a den of thieves, and single-payer health care being obviously the way to go because “everybody does it”? How many times do we have to hear that Hillary is going to “improve [Obamacare]… build on it, get the costs down, get prescription drug costs down” without being given a clue how, and without anyone even asking the question? How is she going to do all this without having the country “plunge back into a contentious national debate that has very little chance of succeeding.” What does that mean, Hillary? Funny, I thought debate was how policies get made in a democracy. Please explain: what is your substitute for democracy? Don’t “progressives'” have a totalitarian ethics alarm any more?

3. Clinton’s responses to the Sanders accusation that she’s not progressive enough—the Democratic doppleganger of the annoying and equally silly Republican accusation that a candidate isn’t a “true conservative,” were something to behold:

  • “I am a progressive who gets things done.” A bumper sticker slogan, and by the way, what things? Honestly, I can’t name any at all: she was a Senator, didn’t create any major legislation, and wasn’t a successful Secretary of State. What things does she get done? Again, Bernie won’t ask a real question….but then, he hasn’t accomplished anything either. Later, to prove her credentials in getting things done, Hillary talked, as she always does, about “fighting” for this or that, even going back to her days with the Children’s Defense fund and the DOA Hillarycare bill that crashed and burned in her husband’s first term. A 69-year-old candidate for President who  actually “gets things done” wouldn’t have to dig this deep—and a candidate trying to defeat her wouldn’t hesitate to say so.
  • She actually compared Sanders’ criticism of her progressive bona fides with not regarding a liberal Democratic Senator as progressive enough when that Senator, Paul Wellstone, has been dead since 2002, and Sanders has never mentioned him during the campaign at all! This was a straw man for the ages.

4. Having finished that pointless “debate,” they moved on to whether Hillary was the “establishment.” This sounded like a an acid-flashback from 1968, but never mind: here was Hillary’s rebuttal:

“Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment.”

Sexist, insulting, tribal and dumb. Merely having two X chromosomes means that you are by definition not part of the existing power structure even when you have been part of that power structure for decades? This is just a dog-whistle to vagina-voters, who themselves are a disgrace to democracy, fairness and civic responsibility. What is it about Hillary Clinton’s career since hooking up with Bill that has shown her to be a power-seeker and broker distinguishable in conduct and motives from a man? Oh, that’s right: when her husband serially abused women as well as betraying their marriage, she sided with..him, against them.

5. Ethics alarm: “The reality is that we have one of lowest voter turnouts of any major country on earth because so many people have given up on the political process,” says Sanders. Sanders really does believe that when the United States is different from all those other less successful countries, it must be wrong. This “reality” just cynical poison that Sanders likes to say, even though it contradicts his own rhetoric. If Obama is such a great President, wasn’t he elected over Romney and McCain? Doesn’t Bernie think that makes a difference, and that the difference was votes? The GOP Congress he and Hillary are complaining about was elected when Democrats stayed home and Republicans came out in force, was it not?  If the impression that their participation makes no difference is wrong, as it is, why does Sanders keep citing it as if he agrees? What does “so many people have given up on the political process”  mean? Is he really attacking democracy itself Continue reading

Message To An Unethical Teacher: Children Are Not Your Guinea Pigs

No LEGOS for YOU!

No LEGOS for YOU!

Fire this teacher now.

Karen Keller, a kindergarten teacher at Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary on Bainbridge Island, Washington, think it is her role to use 5 year olds for her own social science experiment. She’s wrong. But then, she’s wrong about so much, and so arrogant about it. If she is allowed to continue her abusive manipulation of her young charges without being stopped, reprimanded, or given a pink slip, the negligent parents of her victims must carry the blame. Every now and then a teacher will go power mad and run amuck—I had one of those. There is no excuse for not acting quickly before someone gets hurt.

Keller has decided that it is her mission in life to combat what some studies show to be lower spatial and math skills development among girls as a group, as compared to boys. Thus she has decided to forbid boys from playing with LEGOS during the “unstructured play period” of 40 minutes that the kindergarten day includes. Keller told a local paper that it drove her crazy  that the girls wanted to play with dolls while boys flocked to the plastic building system, so she decided to take action to erase those gender-based proclivities. “Until girls get it into their system that building is cool, building is ‘what I want to do’ — I want to protect that.”

Want to fire her yet?

How about this statement…

“I always tell the boys, ‘You’re going to have a turn’ — and I’m like, ‘Yeah, when hell freezes over’ in my head,” she said. “I tell them, ‘You’ll have a turn’ because I don’t want them to feel bad.”

Now do you want to fire her? Continue reading

De’Andre Johnson Ethics Quiz: Is It Ever Ethical For A Male Athlete To Punch A Woman?

deandre

Nineteen year-old De’Andre Johnson was kicked off the Florida State team after “The Tallahassee Democrat” obtained a video showing Johnson punching a young woman in the face in an altercation at a bar in June. He has also been charged with battery. Johnson’s lawyer says that woman was taunting him with racial epithets and hit him twice before he punched her.

Lawyer Jose Baez told NBC News that Johnson “tried to deescalate the situation” but the woman “kneed him in the groin area” and “took another swing before he retaliated.”  “It wasn’t until she struck him twice that he reacted,” Baez said. “But he is very regretful that he didn’t turn around and walk away immediately.” Baez added, however that his client “makes no excuses for what happened.”

The video above does not seem to support Johnson’s defense, but never mind.  After the Ray Rice episode, no football player who lays a hand on a woman in anger will be able to avoid severe punishment. All athletes, and football players particularly, are on notice that as far as hitting women goes, it is strict liability unless the men’s lives are in danger, and maybe not even then.

But hypothetically, I’m curious. Racial epithets are fighting words. If a black athlete punched a white man, even a much smaller white man, after racial abuse and a knee to the groin, there would probably be no charges filed, and not much criticism either. How different, if different at all, should the ethical judgement be if the individual engaging in the abuse is a woman? What if she shows no signs of stopping unless she is physically stopped? What if she looks like this…

Gina Davis

 

Or. say, THIS…

Katka2

Or even this…

hope-solo

Hope is over six feet tall, you’ll recall and is rumored to have a penchant for striking people off the athletic field.

Thus your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this:

Is it always unethical for  any male athlete to punch any woman in a situation not involving the male’s mortal peril?

ADDENDUM…lest we forget: what if the woman is this former Olympic medal winner…

caitlyn-jenner

?

 

The Sixth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2014 (Part 3)

ellen-selfie

2014 Conflicts of Interest of the Year

  • Conflicted Elected Official: Philadelphia State Senator LeAnna Washington. This is always an entertaining category. Washington was convicted of using her tax-payer financed staff to organize a yearly campaign fundraiser around her birthday party. When one staffer complained that this was illegal, she reportedly replied, according to his grand jury testimony:

“I am the fucking senator, I do what the fuck I want, and ain’t nobody going to change me. I have been doing it like this for 17 years. So stop trying to change me.”

  • Conflicted Journalist: CNN sent Jay Carney, fresh off his assignment as President Obama’s official spokesman, defender and spinmeister, to cover his ex-boss’s speech.
  • Conflicted  “Non-partisan” Watchdog: CREW. The Center For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and its chief, Melanie Sloan, finally came clean (after falsely claiming non-profit status as a non-partisan organization for years) by making David Brock, head of the openly partisan, foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Republican media watchdog Media Matters its Chairman of the Board, essentially merging the two groups.
  • Appearance of Impropriety Award: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La), Republican Whip. It is not certain yet whether Scalise knowingly spoke to a group of white supremacists in 20o2, inadvertently spoke to the group, or just spoke to another group meeting in the same venue before the David Duke-affiliated group of racists started comparing sheets. It isn’t even clear that Scalise knows, but everyone should agree that it looks awful no matter how you categorize it, making the fiasco a classic appearance of impropriety situation. If the Republicans were smart, they would dump him.

Unethical Attire of the Year

Offensive shirt

This.

Unethical Political Candidate of the Year

Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, whose campaign materials were largely plagiarized from the materials other candidates.

Ethically Clueless Voters of the Year

New York’s 11th Congressional District, which contains Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. These alert and ethical citizens sent back to Washington thuggish and crooked Rep. Michael Grimm (R), then facing a 20-count indictment by federal authorities for fraud, federal tax evasion, and perjury, having earlier distinguished himself by threatening to kill a reporter and being recorded doing so.

  Unethical Advertising of the Year

Lawyer Division:

Public Service Announcement Division:

TV Program Division:

The Discovery Channel’s campaign for “Eaten Alive!” which did not, in fact, feature anyone being “eaten alive,” or at all.

Private Sector Product Division:

Halos. Or perhaps this is the Child Abuse Division:

Political Campaign Division:

Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for Texas Governor, offered an ad attacking her wheelchair- bound opponent that 1) appealed to bias against the disabled 2) misrepresented the duties of a state attorney general 3) misrepresented the facts of the cases the ad referred to and  4)  deceived the public regarding the ethical duties of lawyers, which Davis, a lawyer, presumably understands. Continue reading