{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "What do you do when a male opposing counsel makes an inappropriate comment to you? Had an older male attorney tell everyone at my deposition that he liked looking at me because I was beautiful and distracting. It was awkward for everyone and I think a power play. Although I was firm and shut down other objection-based disruptions to my dep, I chose to just ignore the comment and move on. Now I’m curious: what strategies my fellow women in the law have used to shut down that kind of behavior?", "post_id": "5f6a8675b014e4002bc31cd4", "reply_count": 22, "vote_count": 6, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law", "feed_type": "bowl" }

What do you do when a male opposing counsel makes an inappropriate comment to you? Had an older male attorney tell everyone at my deposition that he liked looking at me because I was beautiful and distracting. It was awkward for everyone and I think a power play. Although I was firm and shut down other objection-based disruptions to my dep, I chose to just ignore the comment and move on. Now I’m curious: what strategies my fellow women in the law have used to shut down that kind of behavior?

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I always say something like, “well *name* I guess I’m just lucky - I certainly don’t have that problem with you.” Then I fake laugh and move on.

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Oh my God, I wish I could think on my feet that quickly! That’s hilarious!

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Play "dumb" and ask them to explain. "I'm sorry, counselor, I don't get the reference. Could you say more about how my appearance relates to this case?" Then shut your mouth, smile and wait. This is how I disarm racist and sexist jokes. Ask the "joker" to explain why it's funny.

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I second this rec. It’ll actually be even better if the male attorney responds that you don’t react well to compliments. He’ll look double stupid. The audience (not sure if it’s a mix of men and women) will respect you even if they don’t show it. The right ones will, at least, and those are the people we should care about. I’m sorry that happened to you, OP.

Was this comment on the record? Just curious if he was that brazen. To your question, I usually take your approach with sexist comments because there’s always the voice in the back of my head warning me against coming across as bitchy, etc. (something I have been accused of in the past) but at the same time, if we don’t call out that kind of bullshit, it will only continue. Having the confidence to actually do it is what I need to work on. Calling out this bad behavior only works if we all do it. Smash the patriarchy!

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I actually haven’t received the transcript yet, so I am not sure if the court reporter took it down. We were supposed to be on the record at the time, but the court reporter had interrupted briefly to ask the witness to speak up, which is when he interjected. I hope it was recorded. And I have the same feelings as you - trying to avoid getting labeled as bitchy or dramatic, even though I think most people recognize it’s not ok now.

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Best strategy is to call them out on it. Call him and say you know he is making a power play and it’s too bad that he’s so insecure he needs to do that. Tell him that if he were a better attorney he wouldn’t need to sexually harass you.

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Wow, I’m so impressed. The way you handled this was right on the money. Calm and assertive without being aggressive. Great job!

I’ve responded with “how would you feel if some creepy old guy said that to your daughter? Blech!” And then moved on. I got an “oh, sorry” under his breath. He didn’t say anything like it again.

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On the record? I had witness pull something like that with me on the record. Then said to him this is like being in court. Same protocol and same formality. If you say something like that again we will get the judge on the phone. So I expect that you will govern yourself.

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State: your conduct is unprofessional.

Our bar association’s women division takes in complaints on stuff like that too if you want to go that route.

Thanks for mentioning this. I was not aware this was a thing. Is it your state bar? I will look into whether my state has something similar.

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