When the Girls Are Not Welcome in Court

This look is nice but a NOPE for court.

While trying to come up with a catchy lead into this post, all I could think of was bad – and mostly offensive – puns, so I’m going to skip cute, and just express my sympathy for the poor Illinois paralegal whose allegedly generous physical attributes are the basis of a motion in limine to remove her from plaintiff’s counsel’s table during a small claims trial scheduled for next month.

Defense counsel wants the “large breasted woman” sitting next to plaintiff’s counsel banished to the spectators’ gallery, formally kvetching to the Court that there is no evidence she has any legal training or legal background, and that her presence is just a lowbrow ploy to distract the jury from the proceedings.

What are the proceedings about? Believe it or not, an alleged piece of crap 2005 Cadillac purchased from defendant Exotic Motors, which no one cares about anymore, because now the dispute over “the girls” is a hot ticket national news item.

You can get all the details at the Jezebel post, but I like that the paralegal’s boss stood up for her in his responsive motion, calling her “clearly qualified for the work she performs before and during trials,” and arguing that defense counsel cites no legal arguments or cases barring well-endowed ladies from counsel’s tables at a jury trial.

Defense counsel told the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (subscription required) that he is merely questioning the paralegal’s qualifications, and that he personally likes large breasts. But apparently not so much when they’re with opposing counsel. He called her presence a “sham,” and said she was “dressed in such a fashion as to call attention to herself.”

Without pictures or a resume, it’s kind of hard to weigh in as to whether the individual in question is a paralegal, with or without a pair of motion-worthy distractions, but the media coverage that this story is receiving does illustrate that, rightly or wrongly, when we assist at trials, especially if we are female, we do face extra scrutiny in the courtroom, and it’s hard to go wrong with an extremely conservative suit (when in sartorial doubt, lean towards Amish Country).

ADDENDUM:  Since I originally published this post, Above the Law has gotten the scoop. Turns out the paralegal accompanying plaintiff’s counsel is also his lovely wife. The ATL post contains more information regarding the paralegal’s qualifications, as well as a photo provided by her husband – and her reaction to being the subject of a motion questioning her appearance in the courtroom. If this motion in limine was being tried in the press, defense counsel would be slammed with sanctions for being a sexist tool.

Sources: Above the Law; ABA Journal; Jezebel; Chicago Tribune

Leave a Comment