Women in the Legal System – As a Judge or Judged as a Lawyer

In a recent study published on June 10, 2015, in the Social Science Research Network, the authors look at the significance of male and female participants as judges and litigants in the legal system. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2616502

The authors noted they evaluated empirical data to determine to what extent a male or a female lawyer obtained a better result in front of a male panel of judges. Their research substantiated that female attorneys generally did better than their male partisans in cases heard before an all-male panel of judges; and, male attorneys tended to fare better before a mixed-gender panel hearing the case. In other words, female litigants tended to obtain a better result in front of an all-male panel of judges, and a mixed-panel of judges seemed to be more favorable to male litigants than an all-male panel.

After reading the study referenced herein, perhaps it will offer additional insight into the important question to what extent gender bias impacts the decision making process in our judicial system. In reality, there is the human side of being a judge and, therefore, judges bring their own predilections to the bench as do the majority of all of us when presented with issues &/or narratives. Many commentators will contend the difference is that the goal of judges, among other things, is to be totally objective and unbiased.