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May It Please the Court

In September, Lara Bazelon drew on her experience as a trial lawyer to examine the cultural bias that runs deep in courtrooms, where, she argued, male attorneys rely on tactics that are off-limits to women.

I am one of the women quoted in Lara Bazelon’s article about how gender affects courtroom trial work.

I agonized for years over whether to report the incident in which the judge assaulted me—mostly because I was, and still am, concerned that doing so would harm my clients. As a public defender, I take my role as a zealous advocate seriously, and am fully aware that the benefits and harms of reporting are more likely to fall on my clients rather than me. The stakes for my clients—oftentimes years of their life—are high. This makes deciding what is too much a profoundly difficult call.

Here’s the other problematic part. It took me a very long time to decide to come forward. But I did, and I filed a formal complaint in 2016 with the group that is responsible for complaints against judges. My complaint detailed what happened, and who else was in the room. It was not a complicated factual scenario. More than a year and a half has passed since I filed the complaint, and it is still pending. The

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