The American Lawyer: The #MeToo Backlash Is Building


In a new article, Vivia Chen writes that although there exists a lengthy list of “mighty titans” who have fallen due to allegations of sexual misconduct, there has also been a fair number of “hardworking stiffs” in the legal profession who have fallen under its sword. And now, according to Chen, the #MeToo movement has “come back to bite women.”

The fallout is that some male lawyers are so fearful of being tainted with sexual harassment charges that they’re running for the hills, dodging close working relationships with women. They might not be as blatant as Mike Pence about avoiding female company (he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife, nor does he go to events that serve alcohol without her), but they’re drawing a line, nonetheless.

“It’s a genuine fear,” says a young female partner at an Am Law 100 firm in New York. “I’ve talked to men—well-meaning ones—who say they’re scared of being taken the wrong way by women, who don’t know how they should interact with female associates and colleagues. I’m afraid this will mean men will exclude us even more from relationship-building opportunities. If there’s a case that entails travel, they might think it’s safer to pick a male colleague than me.”

Women have reason to worry that they might be excluded. According to a survey by Working Mother and ABA Journal released this year, most men (56 percent) are nervous about one-on-one interactions with women at work and the charges of impropriety that might result. One male leader told the authors of the survey, “One allegation can be a career killer,” adding, “I will not be alone in the office with any female—whether she is a colleague or a support-staff member. This is to protect myself.”

298420cookie-checkThe American Lawyer: The #MeToo Backlash Is Building

The American Lawyer: The #MeToo Backlash Is Building

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2 Responses

  1. I wonder how many Managers (and those responsible for hiring) will have second thoughts on hiring an attractive woman for fear of future lawsuits?

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