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Panel Offers Strategies for Young Women Lawyers

The Daily Journal

Judges and high-powered attorneys at a recent panel advised young women lawyers to stand up for themselves and prepare for the inevitability of harassment early in their careers, warning that some older male attorneys would attempt to intimidate them in the run-up to trial. 

"It's a fact that women are socialized to be likable. Men are socialized to win," said litigator Mary McNamara of Swanson & McNamara LLP, at a Wednesday panel of the Women Attorneys Advocacy Project. "We start out with a disadvantage."

The group was formed two years ago by U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte and several attorneys. Its recent meetings have become a major hit.

Quyen Ta, a partner at Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP, said young attorneys need to know the rules of various jurisdictions because older attorneys will attempt to intimidate them by invoking rules that don't exist. 

She said an attorney recently yelled at her during a deposition, "You're violating the rules; you don't even practice here."

She asked what rule she was violating and one of her colleagues Googled the case he cited. Quyen Ta said the next time he made the claim, they showed him his inaccuracy and he stopped.

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