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  • 05 Sep 2017 3:08 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is urging Ohio lawyers to consider providing pro bono assistance to Hurricane Harvey victims.


  • 05 Sep 2017 8:58 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    For years, Sheryl Sandberg has been at the forefront of women’s fight for professional equality. The Facebook chief operating officer’s 2013 book Lean In sparked innumerable contentious, essential debates about how women can advance in the workplace.

    But in a new interview with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Sandberg flips the narrative, sharing advice about what men can do to fight workplace sexism. Speaking on “Master of Scale,” Hoffman’s podcast, her message is both clear and cutting: Men need to care enough about gender equality to act.
    Aggressively push against biases

    Well-intentioned men are often eager to know how they can be better allies. When Hoffman asks how men can help the “Lean In mission,” Sandberg replies: “The way to help is to recognize that there are all of these biases, and push against them, and push against them aggressively.”

    The problem, as feminist writer Lindy West points out in her New York Times column “Real Men Get Made Fun Of,” is that while men may want to help, they often hesitate to stick up for women and minorities when push comes to shove. They’re aware that calling out sexism when they see it may mean facing mockery, condescension, or rebuke. But as West writes:

    “Getting yelled at and made fun of is where many of us live all the time. Speaking up costs us friends, jobs, credibility and invisible opportunities we’ll never even know enough about to regret.

    I know there’s pressure not to be a dorky, try-hard male feminist stereotype; there’s always a looming implication that you could lose your spot in the club; if you seem opportunistic or performative in your support, if you suck up too much oxygen and demand praise, women will yell at you for that too. But I need you to absorb that risk. I need you to get yelled at and made fun of, a lot, and if you get kicked out of the club, I need you to be relieved, and I need you to help build a new one.”

    The first step, then, is for men to decide that they will be allies not only in spirit, but in action.

    Give women the credit they deserve

     Sandberg also points out that many studies have proven women are far less likely than men to receive credit for comments and ideas they share in meetings.

    “If you are a man in that meeting—and you don’t have to be the boss, you could be a colleague—and that happens, you could say, ‘That’s a great idea—Liz, that was your idea. Tell us about it,'” says Sandberg. “You don’t even have to say you stole her idea, just give the woman credit. Give the girl credit if it’s in a classroom.”

    The phenomenon of women not receiving credit for their work is partially attributable to the double bind that women constantly face in meetings, email, and everywhere in between. “When a woman speaks in a professional setting, she walks a tightrope. Either she’s barely heard or she’s judged as too aggressive,” Sandberg and organizational psychologist Adam Grant write in the New York Times. Women of color can be even more strongly affected, as West points out: “People of color not only have to deal with racism; they also have to deal with white people labeling them “angry” or “hostile” or “difficult” for objecting.”

    But as most women know, blaming sexism entirely on implicit biases is a copout. Women are consistently denied credit for their ideas, promotions, and equal salaries because men—who are usually the gatekeepers to professional advancement—do nothing.

    Don’t make assumptions about what women want

    Men also need to check their instinct to make assumptions about what is best for their female colleagues. “Don’t have private conversations where a woman’s pregnant and you say, ‘We’re not going to offer her that job, she’s pregnant.’ Ask her,” she says to Hoffman. “She might decide she doesn’t want to travel more, but she might decide she wants to do it. So often, we take opportunities away from women, because we assume we know what they want, rather than giving them the full opportunities they deserve.”

    Patronizing as such a situation may sound, Sandberg has work experience at some of the most “progressive” companies in the world. Even progressive workplaces may fall prey to stereotypical assumptions about what women want for their lives and careers. So it’s crucial that men check their belief that they’re mind readers—or, worse, their colleagues’ parents.

    Make professional connections with women

    Another way that men inadvertently hoard opportunities, says Sandberg, is by avoiding situations where they might be alone with another woman. “A huge percentage of men are literally afraid to be seen one-on-one alone with a woman,” she says. “Where do you think the mentoring happens?”

    The US had a national conversation about this phenomenon earlier this year when word broke that vice president Mike Pence refuses to dine alone with any woman who is not his wife. As Jill Filipovic explains in Cosmopolitan, this mindset has an enormous cost for gender equality.

    “In politics, after-work dinners and drinks are where meetings are routinely held, strategies are hashed out, career advice is doled out, information is shared, and relationships are built.

    If men like Pence won’t engage with women one-on-one in informal settings, it’s the women who miss out — because it’s still men who run the show. It would be awfully hard for a woman in any high-powered industry to have a same-sex-only dining rule, because there are simply so few women at the top of their fields in politics, business, technology, and law. Ladies-only lunching (or dining of any kind) would mean the inability to meet individually and informally with the overwhelming majority of leaders in your field.”

    Some men may argue that they want to mentor women, but can’t for fear of appearing sexually motivated. This argument isn’t crazy, in light of this year’s highly publicized Silicon Valley sexual harassment scandals—but it is inherently sexist.

    The reality is that the vast majority of straight men are fully capable of spending time alone with women without cheating or committing sexual harassment, Filipovic writes. “Perhaps men who can’t be alone with women without being sexually tempted by them are a liability, and shouldn’t be in charge of anyone or anything.”

    And if men feel uncomfortable with being alone with women colleagues in a specific scenario, they can simply change the scenario. Sandberg offers a story about a partner at Goldman Sachs. “He had daughters, and he realized he was totally comfortable having dinners with men, but not women,” she says. “So he decided—no dinners.”

    The same logic should apply to athletic outings, drinks, or other networking opportunities that men “don’t feel totally comfortable” partaking in with women (or, more importantly, that women are systematically excluded from partaking in with men). Another man Sandberg spoke with realized he only traveled with the young men in his office—so he made a commitment to start taking women too.

    “Either way is fine,” concludes Sandberg. “You may decide—all the travel, all the dinners, no travel, no dinners—but whatever you decide make it explicit, and make it equal."

    Read the original article here.

  • 01 Sep 2017 3:36 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    In the wake of the shooting of Jefferson County Judge Joseph Bruzzese, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor reminded judges of the real potential for violence they can face just doing their jobs.


  • 28 Aug 2017 9:40 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    South Charleston (Clark County) lawyer Robert Vaughn will leave his job as associate professor and assistant university counsel at Cedarville University and take the bench on the Clark County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations and Juvenile Division.


  • 25 Aug 2017 1:40 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    Great things are happening in Wayne County and it isn’t just the fall semester starting at the College of Wooster.



  • 24 Aug 2017 3:39 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    Jack B. Weinstein, a judge in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, has informally encouraged young women and minorities to participate in court more actively over the years. CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times

    It is common for judges to publish guidance for lawyers who appear in their courtrooms on how to conduct themselves with regard to minor matters like how and when to file motions. But on Wednesday, Jack B. Weinstein, a senior federal judge in Brooklyn, used this typically mundane process to address an issue of growing concern to many in the legal profession: the lack of female lawyers in leading roles at trials and other court proceedings.

    Following the lead of a handful of other federal judges, Judge Weinstein issued a court rule urging a more visible and substantive role for young female lawyers working on cases he is hearing.

    The issuance of the rule was just one jurist’s effort to chip away at the traditional old-boy network that has dominated the legal profession for decades. While some women have, of course, ascended to the top of the legal field, serving on the United States Supreme Court, many still face challenges getting heard in court.

    Judge Weinstein has informally encouraged young women and minorities to participate in court more actively over the years, but in an interview on Wednesday he said he decided to codify the guidance after a recent New York State Bar Association report found that female lawyers appear in court less frequently and that when they do, they are less likely to have a prominent role.

    At least one other federal judge in Brooklyn, Ann M. Donnelly, has an analogous rule in place, but that sort of guidance is rare. Of the hundreds of other federal judges around the country, only about 20 have established similar provisions, according to the bar association.

     “I’ve been doing this on my own for some time, but not in a systematic way,” Judge Weinstein, who is 96, said. “It’s particularly important because we have so few trials these days so some of the youngsters don’t get the same training they used to. It’s important for everyone, and for the litigation process, that the upcoming generation understands the fundamentals and just gets up on their feet.”

    While acknowledging that lawyers, not judges, should be the ultimate arbiters of who stands up to speak on behalf of a client, Judge Weinstein’s revised rule sheet now says that “junior members of legal teams” are “invited to argue motions they have helped prepare and to question witnesses with whom they have worked.”

    The rule sheet notes that the decision was taken after the release of “studies of underrepresentation of female attorneys and minorities.” It adds that Judge Weinstein is “amenable to permitting a number of lawyers to argue for one party if this creates an opportunity for a junior lawyer to participate.”

    In the interview, Judge Weinstein said that he had been influenced by the report’s findings that showed, among other gaps, that women were the lead lawyers about 25 percent of the time at trials and court hearings across New York State last year. “The low percentage of women attorneys appearing in a speaking role in courts was found at every level and in every type of court: upstate and downstate, federal and state, trial and appellate, criminal and civil, ex parte applications and multiparty matters,” according to the report.

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    Among the authors of the report was a former federal judge in Manhattan, Shira A. Scheindlin, whom Judge Weinstein credited with pushing him to issue his rule. Earlier this month, Judge Scheindlin, who is now in private practice, wrote an opinion article for The New York Times, saying she had served on the bench for more than 20 years and that the gender dynamics in her courtroom had barely changed in that time.

    “The talking was almost always done by white men,” Judge Scheindlin wrote. “Women often sat at counsel table, but were usually junior and silent. It was a rare day when a woman had a lead role — even though women have made up about half of law school graduates since the early 1990s.”

    A few weeks ago, Judge Scheindlin said, she had lunch with Judge Weinstein who asked her, as he always does when they meet, “What good are you doing in the world these days?” When Judge Scheindlin mentioned the bar association report, Judge Weinstein asked what he could do to help. “I said, if you’re so inclined,” Judge Scheindlin recalled, “you could amend your individual rules. He said, ‘I’m going to do it!’ and started taking notes.”

    Judge Weinstein is “such an icon and so respected,” Judge Scheindlin added, “that maybe other judges will follow. I’m hoping his choosing to do this will jump-start others to do the same.”

    Judge Weinstein’s new rule has been praised by female lawyers all around New York.

    “There isn’t, and hasn’t been, a great deal of representation in federal court with respect to women lawyers, so it’s great that Judge Weinstein has embarked on doing something that will increase the role of women in federal court,” said Sara J. Gozo, the immediate past president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association.

    Ms. Gozo added that she had recently discussed the issue of women in the law at a lunch she hosted with Dora L. Irizarry, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, where Judge Weinstein serves.

    “There are just pockets of different practice areas in certain courts where, for some reason, women aren’t there,” Ms. Gozo said. “It’s nice to see that some people are now doing their part.”

    Full Article from The New York Times, here.

  • 23 Aug 2017 1:19 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor headed back to her alma mater at Cleveland Marshall School of Law to encourage students to get out of their academic comfort zone.


  • 22 Aug 2017 10:54 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor issued the following statement today on the shooting in Steubenville of Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr.


  • 22 Aug 2017 10:52 AM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)

    The Ohio State Fair was winding down as people of all ages flocked to the dairy barn to taste some of Velvet Ice Cream’s popular flavors.


  • 17 Aug 2017 2:58 PM | Kim Fantaci (Administrator)
    Northeast Ohio Lawyer Susan E. Petersen Elected into International Society of Barristers. Click here to read the full press release. 

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