Preaching to the Choir

This bit of news from the legal world probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise:

Florida Bar President Ramon Abadin invited every male South Florida law firm managing partner to a speech he gave Wednesday about gender bias in the legal profession. Apparently just one showed up, the head of a small law firm.

“I’m highly disappointed there aren’t more positions of power here in the room,” he said. “I realize I’m preaching to the choir.”

Anger bubbled over in the sold-out room dominated by women in the Miami chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. The chapter hosted Abadin weeks after a Florida Bar survey of female attorneys found widespread sexism in the justice system, with 43 percent of women reporting personal experience with gender bias.

“I thought the number should be zero,” he said. “In my naive mind, maybe it would be 5 percent. But people privately tell me the number is actually higher.”

At least he knows now, so I guess that’s something.

He had no real solutions to offer, noting the bar could offer continuing legal education on gender disparity but could not force men to attend.

People in the audience had ideas of their own. Akerman partner Carol Faber suggested Abadin make speeches at law firms.

“That’s who needs to hear this,” she said. “I’m so sad we are still having this conversation now, which we had when I was first starting out” in 1983.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *