Lawyers in the Courtroom: Gender, Trials and Professional Performance in Israel*

Bryna Bogoch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The effect of gender on the legal profession in Israel is discussed on three levels: the ascriptive level, the performance level and the evaluative level, with particular emphasis on the evaluative dimension. On the ascriptive level, it was found that although women comprise about one third of the legal professions in Israel, they comprise a majority of the State Attorney’s Office where they have reached the peak of the professional pyramid, and comprise 40 per cent of the judiciary, including three of the 14 judges in the Supreme Court. Two criteria were used to measure the effect of gender on the performance level: the sentences imposed by men and women judges in serious criminal offences, and analyses of interaction in the courtroom. While some differences were found between the sentences imposed by men and women judges, these were not in accordance with theories of a different voice but were more successfully explained by the still tenuous position of women in the judiciary. In the analysis of courtroom interactions, it was found that women judges were more attuned to the face needs of lawyers, but that both men and women judges displayed less respect to women lawyers than to men. On the evaluative level, it was found that the comments of both witnesses and judges challenged the professional competence of women lawyers, and that similar strategies on the part of men and women attorneys were assessed differently, to the detriment of the woman attorneys. In addition, it was found that the sentences were higher for defendants represented by women attorneys than those represented by men attorneys, while the reverse was true for prosecutors. It was concluded that gender was the interpretative framework within which the action of the lawyers was measured and the persuasiveness of their case was judged.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen in the World’s Legal Professions
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781847312075
ISBN (Print)1841133191
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oñati I.I.S.L. 2003.


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