The profession of law continues to be a man’s world . . . especially in the field of criminal defense practice. During many years at the courthouse trying criminal cases, the number of women defense lawyers I see continues to be a minority. It should not be so. Women are tough. There should be more of them in our courtrooms fighting for the rights of the citizen accused. Don’t get me wrong . . . I’m no expert in women. But those women I’ve seen, those having the fortitude to manage the pressure and strain of a courtroom law practice, have added so much to the profession. They’ve added invaluable insight into client management, case evaluation, and most importantly jury selection. Women are great multi-taskers, too. And often times, they just do a better job than a man. I’d like to see many more women fighting for the rights of citizens in Bryan-College Station criminal courtrooms.
A recent article in the ABA Journal chronicled the careers of several leading women in the profession. Although the article focused on women in civil practice, the applicability and cross-over to a criminal practice was apparent. What I took away from the article were traits common among the most successful women. First, these leading ladies worked long hours. Unfortunately, regardless of gender there was a price to pay for success. And that price was time . . . lots of time. Further, these high-fliers fought hard to develop opportunities within their firms.They worked the big cases and made the big deals giving them opportunity to spotlight their talents. These women were better at networking, building friendships, and business relationships, as well.
Most importantly, these women leaders learned to pull their weight. Pulling their weight meant becoming a consistent producer. They learned to develop business relationships, generate revenue, and attract important clients to their firms. They earned reputations for making their firms profitable. Regardless of gender, being a good lawyer was just not enough. Being business savvy was the difference between remaining an associate or becoming a profit-sharing partner.
So, I’d like to see more women criminal defense lawyers at the courthouse. I appreciate their insight and I appreciate their world-views. And often times . . . women are just more fun.
Stephen Gustitis is a criminal defense lawyer in Bryan-College Station. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also a husband, father, and retired amateur bicycle racer.