For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Gendered Lawyering: Difference and Dominance in Lawyer-client Interaction"

by Bogoch, Bryna (1997)


This article addresses the debate about the significance of gender differences by analyzing patterns of interaction between lawyers and clients. It examines features of the language of lawyers and clients associated with the dominance and difference paradigms that are at the center of feminist theory. Talk charac- terized by dominance includes the control of discourse space, interruptions, topic control, and challenges. Features associated with a particular female "voice" include cooperative responses, affiliative requests, indirection, polite- ness, and the expression of emotion. Results show that women lawyers' talk is role behavior rather than gendered behavior, with little difference between men and women lawyers. Clients' speech is tempered by gender considerations, with both men and women clients expressing greater deference to men lawyers and women clients expressing cooperation and solidarity with all lawyers. It was mainly in reference to the occasional willingness to grant legitimacy to the cli- ents' emotional concerns, as well as the stress on professional identity, that marked women lawyers' specific style of lawyering.


Law, Lawyers, Legal Profession, Gendered Labour, Domination, Voice, Language, Empirical Study


Law and Work

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