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Does It Matter Whether My Lawyer is a Man or a Woman?

When people look for a family law attorney, there are many choices.  After finding several who are qualified and experienced, sometimes it makes sense to choose among them by gender.

Texas family courts are forbidden to treat men and women differently.  That means there is, or isn’t supposed to be, any bias.  The most famous bias-myth is the idea that mothers are favored in custody issues.  That is not the case.  The court looks at the best interest of the child.

So if the Court is not paying attention to the gender of the parties, does the gender of the lawyer matter?  Many people believe that a man should hire a woman attorney because that will make him sympathetic, or conversely that a woman should hire a male attorney who will be tough.  These are self-fulfilling prophesies – if you believe in them, they will probably come true.

If you believe that your story has a hole or gap in it, then the gender of your attorney might help fill it.  Particularly in a jury trial, there is often a perception that, if a woman is representing him or her, they couldn’t be all bad.   Any lawyer you choose will present you in the best light possible and represent you zealously.

When one or both parties are from a culture in which women are not treated with a great deal of respect, the gender of the attorneys may be of help.  For example, if an ex-husband does not listen to his ex-wife, he may listen to her male attorney better.

More important than gender, though, is whether the attorney you choose will communicate with you and be a strong advocate for you.   You need to feel comfortable with the lawyer you choose for a family case because you will be sharing intimate details of your life.  Sometimes that means choosing a lawyer of the same gender as yourself.  You need a lawyer who is compassionate toward you and tough to the other side.

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