Monday, May 7, 2012

I would do anything for love (of my clients), but I won't do that

I don't think I have to prove my dedication to my clients to anyone. Just last week, I got choked up at book club talking about them. I go to the mattresses for all of them. No one has ever had reason to accuse me of being just a rubber stamp defender.

But this? This is a bridge too far for me. I will never wear a hijab for any man. I want to be respectful of my clients and build good relationships with them. But that has to go both ways. They need to be respectful of me as well. And asking me to cover my head or alter my dress is not respectful. Now, I don't know if the clients here had anything to do with this or if this is all the lawyer's doing. But I wouldn't do it.

On a side note, there is no way in hell that a court would order any of the other women in the courtroom to alter their dress. I mean, yeesh, what an ugly can of worms a judge would open there! An attorney's clothing would have to be incredibly inappropriate before a judge should go there. Skirts or shirts that open below the neck do not qualify.

I'm more interested in the question of how far should a defense attorney go to honor a client's views. Or how far this particular defense attorney would go. If a client wanted to read Bible passages with me and be assured that I'm a good, god-fearin' Christian, I wouldn't humor that. I don't think I'd be willing to do any sort of religious ritual. I wouldn't even pray with a client, though I would never object to the client praying in my presence. If a client truly had a problem working with a female attorney, no matter how offensive I found those views, I would file a motion to withdraw because it would not be in the client's best interests to proceed with an attorney he couldn't work with.

And I can promise you right now. I am never covering my hair for anyone.


Meryl said...

Had the same thought when I saw that story. "Would I do that for a client? Hmm, yeah, I think that might even be a 'hell no!'"

BellsforStacy said...

That woman is insane, and I'm glad you posted this because I was gonna ask ya'll on FB.

I get a bit piqued when female heads of state (FLOTUS, Sec State) wear scarfs over seas, so this is certain to set me off.

I'm actually shocked that he was able to convince her that her appearance is offensive to him and she has to cover herself in his presence. And THEN she had the audacity to not only do it, but to ask the COURT to order female visitors to the court to do the same.

I would never respresent him after that. Actually, how did she get him? Because I'm surprised he wants to let her represent him honestly, they (devote Muslims) view women and their intelligence so highly and all.

CLH said...

My brain hurts. As usual. Then I remind myself that most of this is just the defendants' political/religious theater. Should be amusing though. In a nauseating kind of way.

Rob Osterman said...

I can only guess that it's part of the "Plan" to help paint the defendants as profoundly "different" in moral code, and significantly distracted/distressed by American values.

But I would agree that there's no reasonable response to this. This isn't a foreign state and as long as the judge feels everyone's looking professional and acts professional then that's all there is to it. That's our system as a society so suck it up.

And if the prospect of seeing a woman's knees is SO debilitating, then they could opt to be tried in abstentia so as not to be tempted to sin while in the court room.

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