The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

Adrienne Suarez’s Code of Ethics for Female Attorneys

Posted by brightcoast on July 5, 2009

Saw this posted by one of my fellow female law student’s pages in my status update page on fb, from  Feminist Law Profs

Ms. JD reports (here) on Adrienne Suarez’s “Code of Ethics for Female Attorneys.”

 1. I pledge to respect the female attorneys who came before me, because their paths were steeper, rougher, and unfamiliar. I pledge to respect the female attorneys who come after me, even though their paths may be gentler, smoother, and well worn. We are all traveling down the same path.

 2. I pledge to continue to make the way even smoother for future female attorneys. While women make up 51% of the United States population, we constitute 47% of law students, 32% of lawyers in the legal profession, 18% of partners in private firms and general counsel for Fortune 500 companies, and this figure has remained static since the mid-1990s. (Statistics drawn from reports published here). Clearly, we still have work to do.

3. As a woman, I will not judge other female attorneys who have come before me or who will come after me for (1) getting married; (2) not getting married; (3) having children; (4) not having children; (5) or making any other major life decisions because of, or in spite of, balancing a legal career.

4. Given the choice of being a mentor or a tormentor to a younger, less experienced female attorney, I actively choose to be a mentor. When a younger, less experienced female attorney comes to me with a question or for advice, I will not revel in how much more I know than she; I will share that knowledge and experience.

5. There are no “dues” that a younger, less experienced female attorney needs to pay to me. I will not waste my time minding tollbooths when I have a ways down the path yet to go myself.

6. In the game of law, I will help younger, less experienced female attorneys as though we were playing leapfrog, not red rover.

7. I recognize that even though we may be of the same sex, I will not like every female attorney I meet. I pledge, however, not to call her a “bitch,” or any other name powerful because of its misogynist origins.

8. If my voice is louder or carries more weight, then I will speak up for my fellow female attorneys’ needs, like a flexible schedule, even if those are not my personal needs at the moment.

9. I pledge to reach out, through pro bono service, to the women in my community who need a lawyer’s help, who admire that that lawyer is another woman, and who appreciate how that woman may understand their problems and resolve them justly.

10. I pledge to be me. There is a younger female attorney out there who sees herself in me. I pledge to succeed for her.


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