A lawyer shares her experience of misogyny in a courthouse after several other lawyers assumed she wasn’t a lawyer in a now-viral TikTok.
In the video Katie (@thelawyerkatie) posted on Friday, she says that during an “outside the district court” hearing, two deputies and the district attorney assumed she wasn’t an attorney.
@thelawyerkatie Why does this always happen to me #fyp #lawyer #criminaldefenselawyer #lawyersoftiktok #womeninlaw ♬ Original sound – kt
“If you’re a woman and you’re thinking about becoming a lawyer, there’s one thing you need to be prepared for,” Katie says in the clip. “And that goes for when you walk into a courthouse so everyone assumes you’re literally everyone but a lawyer.”
She goes on to say that she was first stopped by an MP for having her phone, as only “lawyers or court staff” could carry their devices.
“I was carrying a blazer, a briefcase and my phone,” she explains. “The deputy says, ‘Sorry, you can’t have the phone in there.’ So I pulled out my bar menu and he said, ‘Oh, I’m just kidding. Yes you can.'”
Katie says that as she entered the courtroom, another MP approached her as she sat on the bar, “pointed towards the gallery” and told her she “can’t come up here”.
“I sat down and got my file out, and he kind of backed off,” she says.
She then says that the district attorney mistook her for her client during the calendar call, a pre-trial meeting between the judge and attorneys.
“He turns and looks me straight in the eye and says, ‘Is your lawyer so-and-so?'” says Katie. “I looked at him and said, ‘That’s me. I am the lawyer.’ And he says, ‘Oh. My mistake.'”
The video has racked up over 490,000 views as of Tuesday, inspiring women in law school to turn to Katie for advice on how to tackle misogyny in the court system.
“Any tips for that?” asked a user. “I’m doing an internship, my first summer out of law school, and everything you’ve said and being HIT ON is so dehumanizing.”
“Don’t give me a BS answer…is it worth being a lawyer?” asked another.
Others told similar stories of misogyny as lawyers.
“I was interviewing someone for a management consulting position in our department and he looked up from his phone to give me his coffee order,” wrote one commenter.
“I’ve literally had potential clients say they don’t want to meet me and they want a male attorney,” said another.
“I’m not a lawyer, but as a social worker, a judge told me I could no longer enter his court unless I was wearing a skirt or dress,” added a third.
In a response video, Katie advises other would-be lawyers to “just embarrass them” when correcting colleagues who misjudge their position.
“If someone assumes I’m something other than a lawyer, I look them straight in the eye and in the most monotonous voice I can I just say, ‘I’m a lawyer,'” says Katie. “And then I let her marinate in her embarrassment.”
@thelawyerkatie in reply to @peacesigns4breakfast #fyp #AmazonVirtualTryOn #criminaldefenselawyer #lawyersoftiktok #womeninlaw ♬ Original sound – kt
The Daily Dot contacted Katie via email.
Today’s top stories
*Initial publication: June 14, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. CDT
Rebekah Harding is a freelance reporter for the Daily Dot. She has digital and print bylines in Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, SheKnows and more.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/attorney-misogyny-court/ Lawyer warns women about misogyny in the industry