Does a Lawyer’s Gender Matter?

Does a Lawyer’s Gender Matter?

You consider many factors about the lawyer that is going to handle your case.  When you weigh the decision, how much should the gender of the lawyer tip the balance?  When it comes to family law cases in particular, it seems there is a lot of opinion out there that you need a female lawyer for this, or a male lawyer for that.  But is that really going to help you win your case?

Actually, beyond your own personal comfort or preference, the lawyer’s gender is not much of a factor in how the judge is going to rule in your case.  What the judge wants to see in a lawyer arguing a case in court, is that the lawyer is prepared, professional, and proficient.  You want your attorney to dazzle the judge with how well-prepared the case is, and how sharp-minded the points are that are being argued.  Your lawyer is not too likely to impress the judge by whether he or she happens to be a he or a she.

When it comes to family law cases, thought, many will have you believe that a husband’s or “father’s rights” are better argued by a female attorney.  After all, if a woman is supporting the man…there must be merit to his case.  Or they may try to suggest that a male attorney is going to argue the case more aggressively, and better persuade the judge.  This is really just popular myth.  In fact, a male lawyer can impress the judge with his sensitivity towards the rights of the spouses and children, just as a female lawyer can deliver a strong and powerful argument in court

So when might the gender of the lawyer carry more weight in your decision?  Your personal comfort in speaking with your lawyer may be affected by whether the lawyer is male or female.  And being able to be open and honest with your attorney about all the facts of your case can be very critical to how successfully the case is handled.   Also, in cases involving sexual assault or sexual abuse, hiring a lawyer of the same gender may be the only way to comfortably discuss the details of these very sensitive issues in particular.

But beyond your own personal comfort level, there is no objective reason to hire a lawyer of one gender or another.   Some judges may prefer female attorneys; some may prefer male attorneys; but most prefer qualified, capable attorneys that are representing their clients to the best of their abilities, regardless of gender. 

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