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Working as a paralegal, Pierce did ethnographic research in two law offices, and her depiction of the legal world is quite unlike the glamorized version seen...
Working as a paralegal, Pierce did ethnographic research in two law offices, and her depiction of the legal world is quite unlike the glamorized version seen on television. Pierce tellingly portrays the dilemma that female attorneys face: a woman using tough, aggressive tactics—the ideal combative litigator—is often regarded as brash or even obnoxious by her male colleagues. Yet any lack of toughness would mark her as ineffective.
Women paralegals also face a double bind in corporate law firms. While lawyers depend on paralegals for important work, they also expect these women—for most paralegals are women—to nurture them and affirm their superior status in the office hierarchy. Paralegals who mother their bosses experience increasing personal exploitation, while those who do not face criticism and professional sanction. Male paralegals, Pierce finds, do not encounter the same difficulties that female paralegals do.
Pierce argues that this gendered division of labor benefits men politically, economically, and personally. However, she finds that women lawyers and paralegals develop creative strategies for resisting and disrupting the male-dominated status quo. Her lively narrative and well-argued analysis will be welcomed by anyone interested in today's gender politics and business culture.
|Preface and Acknowledgments|
|1||Gendering Occupations and Emotions in Law Firms||1|
|2||The Gendered Organizational Structure of Large Law Firms||26|
|3||Rambo Litigators: Emotional Labor in a Male-Dominated Job||50|
|4||Mothering Paralegals: Emotional Labor in a Feminized Occupation||83|
|5||Women and Men as Litigators: Gender Differences on the Job||103|
|6||Gendering Consent and Resistance in Paralegal Work||143|
|Appendix 1. Articulating the Self in Field Research||189|
|Appendix 2. Lawyer Jokes||215|