Interesting to our office is the recent trend of many, many clients stating that they specifically sought out a female divorce or family law attorney. As this has become a fairly regular pattern, I have started asking the clients what specifically motivated their desire to seek a female family law attorney.
Even more interesting is that many male clients report that to the extent that they are concerned that their wife will have an advantage as the woman, in terms of the court assuming that she is more capable in the gender-typical role of mothering or they are concerned that the woman will draw more sympathy from the judge, they feel that selecting a female attorney will help balance or equalize any intangible gender leanings of a particular judge. I am hopeful that the benefits that our office is able to bring to each client’s individual case goes well beyond the gender of the attorneys to the actual knowledge, skills, experience, reputation and working relationships that our office has within the Kansas City legal community. While female attorneys’ participation in the legal field are growing, they still only make up about 1/3 of all attorneys working in the legal field.
Why is hiring a female family law attorney an asset to your case?
Most significantly, women are intelligent! While women have had to solidify their role in a traditionally male-dominated profession, many women feel that in order to gain the respect of their colleagues on all sides of the gender line, they need to be excellent in terms of their knowledge, skills and ability to craft legal arguments. While many female attorneys will tell stories of fighting the strong headwinds of a traditionally male-dominated profession, women who have earned their place at their table, the rightful respect of the judges, colleagues, clients and other people involved in their profession are almost certainly lawyers that have had to rise above and establish themselves as being excellent.
Many women are great listeners. While men can, of course, be great listeners too, many studies and statistics say that women have superior listening skills. Women are natural listeners and often develop a reputation for listening to clients. How does this benefit clients? Often listening allows an attorney to understand their client’s goals and objectives, pick up on important facts or pieces of information and express sympathy and empathy that is often a key component of developing an excellent attorney-client relationship. Many clients state that when they feel heard and listened to by their lawyer, it is easier for them to listen, especially to advice, from their lawyer. When clients go through a stressful experience such as a divorce, they often need the emotional support of a lawyer who listens.
Women are traditionally excellent negotiators. While many men are known to “win at all costs” or be relentless in their pursuit of “winning” which can drive cases unnecessarily to a trial, many women have strong skills in negotiating, finding creative compromises and trying to help parties in family law cases find long-term peace and resolution for the sake of the family unit, rather than looking at solely the benefit of “fighting ‘til the death” or winning the momentary “battle” but losing the “war” of a happy, healthy, peaceful childhood for your children.
Often, women are insightful regarding softening an issue or an argument. This is often the final step needed to find a compromise or resolution. While a female attorney is fully capable of being as aggressive as a man, often at the time of trial, a point or argument is better made with a bit of “softening” than it is with unnecessary or overly aggressive tactics or arguments. Some male lawyers’ styles of being overly loud, aggressive or angry can be off-putting to the judge deciding the case.
Some people, both men and women, report feeling more comfortable in sharing intimate and sometimes, private or difficult details, of their family situation with a female family law attorney. Some men report feeling more judgment with difficult family issues in sharing their details with other men. Of course, this is a deeply personal decision and largely involves your comfort level, in general, with any attorney you choose to work with, regardless of gender.
How Should You Select a Family Law Attorney?
Obviously, this is an important part of a successful outcome for the process. You should first look for a well-qualified attorney who has a good personality fit for your case and situation. Clients get the best results, with the outcomes they are the happiest with, when they feel that they have had a good rapport, with communication and cooperation, with an attorney that they trust. Start by asking for recommendations from family or friends. If they have had a good experience, it stands to reason that there is a proven track record of success. Plan for your consultation with your attorney by being clear about your priorities, hopes and goals for the litigation. Ask your attorney about their experience in representing men and women, and their approach and philosophy in handling family law cases. It is crucial for you to have a good attorney-client working relationship that you find a lawyer that you feel a sense of connection and trust with. Our office would never advocate selecting an attorney based on their gender. However, thinking through the type of lawyer you feel that you can best build a rapport with is an important consideration in having success through a difficult family law case.
Pingel Family Law is proud to be female owned! We have developed a law firm built on excellence, compassion, being well prepared and having a strong reputation for advocating, problem solving and listening empathetically.
If you believe we can aid your case or situation by bringing our knowledge and experience to your family law case, please call us today at (816) 208-8130 or send us a message to schedule your consultation or planning session to find out how we can bring our firm’s skills and expertise to your family!