Do Female Attorneys Get Along Better With Men Than Women?

By Vivian Sobers - January 30, 2015
Do Female Attorneys Get Along Better With Men Than Women?

NYC virtual office lawyer, Vivian Sobers, finds that she prefers working with men rather than women, and wonders if her female colleagues feel the same.

A few months back, the editor I worked with on this blog series had moved on to a different position. Lunch plans had been made for me to meet the newly assigned editor.

When I arrived at the restaurant, a very lovely female staffer was there together with a principal of the company.

They were both slightly taken aback when I told them, very directly, that I do not like working with women. The fact is, for my entire working life, I have gotten along better with men than women; since practicing law, I have found that I struggle to get along with other women, especially adversaries.

I seem to have a strong personality, and people tend to either love me or hate me. Often, there is very little in between. But of the people I meet professionally, I seem to get along with 90% of the men, but only 40% of the women.

In my career so far as a lawyer, I have always noticed I get along better with men than women Click To Tweet

The other female solos I know seem to have better working relationships with men.

I began thinking about some of the other female lawyers that I know. These are my colleagues in the shared law office space where my NYC virtual office is located.

My general perception is that most of these women seem to be the type who get along better with men, or at least have an easier working relationship with men. However, these women are all self-employed solos, and it takes a certain kind of person to be self-employed.

Can the same be said for female attorneys employed at firms?

In thinking back to the female attorneys I knew who worked for firms when I was a paralegal; I would have to say that, for the most part, I would draw the same conclusion.

Why is this?

Are women just more complicated than men?

I may get a lot of flack for saying this, but based on my own personal experience, women seem to be more competitive with each other than they are with men. Women seem to be more complicated than men.

There’s always a “secret” or “ulterior” motive behind everything we do. Apparently, there is a scientific reason for this.

I know that I am guilty of this.

Everything seems to be more of face value when it comes to working with men. They bring less personal B.S. into their professional interactions.

The men I work with seem to focus entirely on the task before them. For women, it is so much more complicated. We typically check out the other person to gauge who they are, what they are wearing, how they are looking at us, and so forth.

I feel that when I work with another woman, I may have to consider her feelings about me to have a good working relationship. Men seem to care much less.

I do get along with some women.

Of the small portion of female attorneys that I do get along with, I tend to have really solid relationships with them.

These are usually women who also have strong personalities like mine and are usually a little older and very secure with themselves. These are women who just do not care what anyone else thinks.

I think it is this kind of attitude that usually rubs other women the wrong way.

Oddly enough, of the women I have met, it is the more secure women with strong personalities I have seen be the most supportive of other women.

For example, the women I have met on the litigation committee at the Women’s Bar Association want nothing but to see you succeed. These women are leaders.

Leaders, followers and those who want to lead but can’t.

Some people lead and some people follow. Then there are people who wish they can lead but don’t have it in their personal makeup to do so. These are the women who, when they learn that I have my own law firm, often say: “I always wanted to do that, but…” or “I don’t know how you can do it…”

Based on my observation, it has been this third group with whom I have had the most trouble getting along with.

Of course, I’m no social psychologist, this is just me speaking “off the cuff” from my own experience.

Some people lead and some people follow Click To Tweet

I may struggle to get along with other women, but I prefer female judges.

My experience (as it relates to women leaders) has been the same in the courtroom. While I may generally prefer to work with men, I prefer to work with female judges.

Not that I believe female judges have been more supportive of me as compared to my adversaries, I just feel like I have had the most fair outcomes with female judges.

Judges are leaders. You can’t sit on the bench and make critical decisions about people’s lives every day without having strong leadership skills and an abundance of self-confidence.

There have been times in court where I have done things that I believed to be in the best interest of my client that annoyed the judge. I knew that she would never let my bravado shape how the law was supposed to be interpreted. Nearly every time, I was confident that she would make the right decision.

Most female judges I encounter are able to cut through all the B.S. and get to the point of interpreting the law. The female judges I have observed take their duties very seriously. In a male dominated profession I think most female judges don’t want to play into the stereotype of the emotional woman.

Did I get this right? I would love to hear from my female colleagues on this one. Leave a comment below.
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Vivian Sobers is a commercial litigator pursuing a solo law practice right out of law school. She is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Virtual Office Program. Vivian’s weekly blog series “Young, Hungry and Committed” documents the trials and tribulations of a young attorney navigating her way through the challenging world of self-employed legal practice.

One thought on “Do Female Attorneys Get Along Better With Men Than Women?

  1. I recently started following your blog here and appreciate your openness and insight into your personal and professional life on the solo journey, so thank you. I have heard other women both in and out of the legal field make the “I get along better with men” or “I prefer to work with men” and find such statements disheartening. I worked at a couple of firms before going solo and developed equally strong working relationships and friendships with male and female associates and partners. The same is true with opposing counsel. It is important for female professionals to support each other and I truly believe we should walk into the relationship free of judgment and assumptions. Stop thinking that we are being judged, or women are full of drama and ulterior motives, but instead go in with the intention of being a resource and having an interest in the other person’s success. At the very least, that would decrease the “hard to work with female” population by one.

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