Voted by her peers as one of the best lawyers in America, and described by Time magazine as "one of the nation's most effective advocates of family rights and feminist causes," Allred has devoted her career to fighting for civil rights and has won hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of abuse. She has taken on countless institutions to promote equality, including the Boy Scouts, the Friars Club, and the United States Senate. And as the attorney for numerous high-profile clients—including Nicole Brown Simpson's family, actress Hunter Tylo, and Amber Frey, Scott Peterson's girlfriend—Allred has helped victims assert and protect their rights.
Throughout her memoir, Allred offers colorful—sometimes shocking—examples of self-empowerment from her personal and professional life. Presenting nearly fifty of her most memorable cases, Allred takes us deep inside the justice system to show how it's possible to win even in the face of staggering odds. Her inspiring true stories serve to remind us that winning justice depends on the righ-teousness of the cause and an individual's willingness to stand up, speak out, and fight back. Fight Back and Win is a powerful testament to Gloria Allred's trailblazing career and the battles she has fought alongside countless brave individuals to win justice for us all.
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About the Author
Gloria Allred is the most prominent women's rights attorney in the United States and is one of the highest-profile attorneys in the world. She has been a television commentator on Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and Court TV, and is a three-time Emmy nominee for her television commentary on KABC Television Eyewitness News in Los Angeles. She was rated one of the most important radio talk show hosts in America by USA Today, and has won the President's Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers and the 1986 President's Volunteer Action Award for her work in child support enforcement, presented to her by President Ronald Reagan at the White House. A founding partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Allred, Maroko & Goldberg, Allred lives in Southern California.
Read an Excerpt
Fight Back and WinMy Thirty-Year Fight Against Injustice--And How You Can Win Your Own Battles
By Gloria Allred
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Gloria Allred
All right reserved.
To Conquer, You Must First Conquer Yourself
My Life Lessons
My address is like my shoes. It travels with me. I abide where there is a fight against wrong.
-- Mary Harris "Mother" Jones
I was born Gloria Rachel Bloom on July 3, 1941 -- an only child in a working-class home in southwest Philadelphia. My dad, Morris, was a door-to-door salesman with an eighth-grade education. Selling Fuller brushes and photo enlargements, he worked twelve hours a day, six days a week, and rarely had time to spend with me, except on Sundays. We never had a car. We lived modestly in a row house with a view of a stone wall. I always wanted to get beyond the stone wall in my life.
My mother, Stella, was originally from Manchester, England. She didn't work outside the home, but devoted her life to me and was adamant that I get a good education. She had been forced to leave school in the eighth grade to support her family. Even though she was lighthearted and easy going, my mother never seemed content about being a stay-at-home mom. All her life, she looked back with regret and imagined what she could have achieved if she had been able to get the education and enjoy the opportunities that her intelligence warranted. My mother insisted that I grow up to have the opportunities she missed.
"Don't grow up to be like me," she would tell me.
My father was very strong; some called him stubborn. He was like a rock, which was good because you could lean on him, but bad because he was hard to move. He made up his mind fairly quickly. He seldom talked, except to tell jokes. In order to challenge him, I had to be really strong and use my wits. My father agreed with my mother that I should have a career if I wanted it. He always told me I would be going to college. I wasn't supposed to worry about it -- the money would be there.
Even though they were poor, my parents tried to give me the best of everything. If we could afford only one ticket to a movie, my father would pay my way and wait for me in the park. I earned extra money by selling potholders that I made myself. I also sold new and used comic books and, of course, the old standby -- lemonade. I was fairly successful at sales. Every birthday I would ask my parents to put some money away for me, in case I ever needed it for a rainy day.
I didn't have much in the way of toys. I had Scrabble, Monopoly, a checkers game, and a couple of dolls. I loved to read, and my father regularly took me to the library. I enjoyed books by Charles Dickens and Somerset Maugham. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott was one of my favorites.
I was fortunate to be accepted into an all-academic, all-girls public high school, the Philadelphia High School for Girls (aka Girls' High). It was like a private school. Many people believed that girls could receive a better education there than at the public coed high schools in Philadelphia, where more attention was paid to boys. To attend Girls' High, a girl either had to have a high IQ or be at the top of her class. No one ever told me which category I'd qualified under, but I was excited to be admitted. I met my best friend, Fern Brown Caplan, during my first week at school and she remains my best friend to this day.
The faculty of the school consisted mainly of women who emphasized the academy's motto: Vincit Qui Se Vincit ("She conquers, who conquers herself"). The vice-principal once told us, "Girls, your husbands or your boyfriends will probably say to you, 'Send me to medical school or law school, or graduate school.' You just look them in the eye and say, 'No. You send me.' "
It was a truly rebellious statement for that time. I remember all of us looking at each other as though somebody might burst through the door at any minute and arrest the vice-principal for saying something that radical. I think, for many of my classmates, she was their first exposure to a feminist.
It wasn't mine. My father's cousin, Rachel Ash, was -- as far as we know -- the first female cardiologist at the Children's Heart Hospital in Philadelphia. I considered her a revolutionary. She never married and never had any children. In addition, she was the only woman I ever knew who didn't cook. We would see her about once a year, and during those visits she would have food delivered to the house (remember, there were very few take-out places in those days) then serve it right out of the take-out containers. She didn't cook and she didn't care. That was extraordinary to me. Aunt Rachel, as I called her, wasn't particularly interested in my mother and father (they seemed to be a bit of an annoyance to her) but she took an interest in me. She sent me to a special science seminar in Philadelphia one summer, and stayed in contact with me over the years.
At Girls' High, we were encouraged to aspire to fulfillment through careers and community leadership, in addition to marriage. The classes were hard. I remember thinking at one point, "This is too much for me. I'm going to drop out." I was also feeling insecure because my parents only had eighth-grade educations, and the parents of many of my classmates were lawyers, bankers, and other leaders in Philadelphia. I felt that they had an edge over me.
I went to the counselor and asked to return to "regular" high school. "I'm not smart enough for this school," I told her.
"Gloria, who do you think the smartest person in this school is?" she asked me.
"Sandra Walkowitz," I replied.
Excerpted from Fight Back and Win by Gloria Allred Copyright © 2007 by Gloria Allred. Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents
Foreword Lisa Bloom xiii
To Conquer, You Must First Conquer Yourself: My Life Lessons 5
Don't Be Victimized Twice: Amber Frey's Fight for Justice 25
You Can Fight the Power: Politicians and Other Good Ol' Boys 45
The Schmitz Smear: The day California state senator John Schmitz calls me a "slick butch lawyeress" marks the beginning of the end of his political career 45
Ilene Hill and the Grandstanding Deputy District Attorney: A battered woman who places her child for adoption is persecuted and prosecuted by a California district attorney with an agenda 50
How to Bring Down a Politician Gone Wild: I take on one of the biggest old boys' clubs of all-the U.S. Senate 56
It's Not the Office, It's the Action: My support of women's rights brings me into conflict with President Bill Clinton 61
You Can Catch a Fallen Star: Taking on Celebrity Bad Boys 67
Marv Albert and the Blonde Bombshell Witness: The boys club closes ranks around sportscaster Marv Albert during a sex scandal, and my client breaks the case wide open 67
Tommy Lee's Motley To-Do: Rock star Tommy Lee attacks a photographer and ends up facing the music with me 73
The Pakistani Cricket Star Plays Gaines with Paternity: I teach Imran Khan never to play games when it comes to children 76
MyThree Rounds with Mike Tyson: I take on Mike Tyson in the legal arena 78
Avoiding Fallout from Robert Blake's Media Storm: I protect the only surviving ex-wife of Robert Blake 83
Princess Diana, the Model Kelly Fisher, and the Frog Who Wished to Become Prince Charming: I take on a man who hurt a woman, but the tale of romance and betrayal ends in tragedy 86
Fight Back at Work 93
Debbie Thorne Volkert and the Double Standard: A woman who applies to be a police officer challenges sex questions on a polygraph 93
Not Part of the Job Description: A museum guard is sexually harassed by her boss 95
The Man Who Was Man-Handled: Our male client is sexually harassed by his male boss 98
Fighting for Patients Who Can't Fight for Themselves: Sandra Bardenilla just wants a comatose patient to get food and water, and Robert Herring tries to make Michael Schiavo an offer he can't refuse 101
Fighting an Old Argument: A forty-nine-year-old doctor is told he's too old for the job 105
You Can Knock Down the Boys' Club Door 107
I Get the Last Laugh at the Friars Club: I don't find men-only membership rules very funny 107
Locking Horns with the Elks: You're never too old to fight back. I help a group of women in their sixties and seventies teach some old Elks new tricks-like admitting women 114
Katrina Yeaw and the Boys-Only Boy Scouts of America: My eleven-year-old client fights to join the Boy Scouts 117
Even Stubborn Organizations Can Be Persuaded to Change: Jan Bradshaw fights for equal rights on a country club golf course 121
Little Things Start Big Changes 125
The Case of the Costly Shirt: I get the spots out of Flair Cleaners' discriminatory pricing policy 125
Saks Makes Alterations to an Unfair Policy: Men and women pay different prices for alterations at Saks, until I step in 126
The Clip Joint: My three-year-old client gets an L.A. hair salon to even up their haircut prices for boys and girls 128
A Priceless Case of Menu Bias: I change L'Orangerie's policy of giving women menus without prices when they dine with men 129
Curtains for Papa Choux's Policy: I have reservations about same-sex couples being forbidden to dine in this restaurant's romantic curtained booths 131
A Toy Story: I help a group of pint-sized clients put an end to a California drugstore chain's policy of separating their toys into "girls" and "boys" sections 134
The Case of the Deceptive Pregnancy Counseling Clinic: When Shanti Friend goes to a local clinic for a pregnancy test, she is horrified at the "counseling" she receives 136
Paul Jasperson's Courageous Crusade: My client struggles heroically to end AIDS discrimination at a West Hollywood nail salon 138
You Can Fight High-Profile Killers 143
I fight to keep O. J. Simpson, the courts, and his legal team from creating new victims during the Trial of the Century
You Can Fight Rapists and Other Sexual Predators 165
Lori Brown and the Serial Rapist: We bring her rapist to justice after a battle with a legal system that initially seems unresponsive to victims of this horrible crime 165
A Rapist Is a Rapist, Regardless of the Victim: I take action when an L.A. County Superior Court judge decides to dismiss a rape prosecution because the alleged victim is a prostitute 168
The Pillowcase Rapist and the Hollywood Assault: I fight an attempt by Hollywood producers to pay a rapist for his story 172
Desiray Bartak and the House of Horror: My preteen client takes a courageous courtroom stand against the man who sexually abused her-her godfather 175
Rita Milla and the Seven Priests: Rita Milla fights a twenty-year battle with the Catholic Church to bring the priests who sexually abused her to justice and determine which of them fathered her child 180
Beware of Bigotry 191
Mel Mermelstein Fights the Holocaust Deniers: We help a Holocaust survivor win a ground-breaking judgment against groups who claim Nazi death camps were a hoax 191
"Gwen" Araujo-Transgendered Teen Dead at Seventeen: A young woman trapped in a man's body is brutally murdered because of who she is 195
Our Fight for Equality in Marriage: My same-gender clients want the right to legally marry 198
Motherhood is Powerful 203
Women in Chains: I expose and overturn the L.A. county sheriff's policy of chaining pregnant women inmates to their beds during labor and childbirth 203
Get Creative to Get Child Support: I use creative methods to help moms change restrictive child support policies and laws 204
Stolen Eggs, a Stolen Son: Years after undergoing an egg-harvesting fertility procedure, a woman is shocked to find that, without her consent, doctors have secretly implanted her eggs in another woman who then gives birth to her son 210
Sometimes Moms Need to Move On: I fight to help moms relocate to better their lives and those of their children 213
The Cruelest Kind of Custody: Why should men who are accused of abusing and killing the mothers of their children be allowed to raise them? I fight for Toni Dykstra and her daughter 215
Fight the Boobs Behind The Tube 233
The Scarlet "P": We fight for justice in the case of actress Hunter Tylo after she is fired from Melrose Place because she is pregnant 233
Hooters' Secret Reality Show: Women who want to be waitresses at a Hooters restaurant in West Covina, CA find out they were secretly videotaped while changing into their uniforms during the interview process 238
Dude, Your Reality Show Sucks: My teen-aged clients are excited to be part of the audience at a television show, until they are sprayed with human feces 240
The Interview from Hell: Thea Robinson's potential employer takes her to a restaurant for the worst interview she's ever encountered. It turns out to be a reality TV show 242
Fight for the Children 245
Cheerleading Busted: Teenager Vicki Ann Guest learns there's nothing to cheer about when her female coach tells her she cannot be a cheerleader because of her breast size 245
A Different Kind of Child: St. James and LaDonna Davis fight to protect their chimpanzee, Moe 248
The Mystery of Michael Jackson: I fight to protect children from Michael Jackson 254
Conclusion. What I Have Learned in the Past Thirty Years Can Help You 267
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was enjoying reading this book so much that I do not forgive my self for leaving it behind at the Burbank aeroport in CA. last week while I was waiting for my ride. I readed it once but I have to buy this book again to read it every time I travel this book is a must, every woman should buy it and read it, not just buy it.
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Gloria Allred is an inspirational leader that has brought many changes in the legal system to benefit women. She encourages readers to fight back against injustice and wrongdoing. She provides insightful looks into some of the landmark cases she has handled throughout her 30 year legal career. The book is excellently written and gives the reader much information on her plight for equality and justice. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
I was convinced my situation was hopeless, but then I read this book and I decided I should fight one more time. It worked. After three years I finally got a settlement and I never would have even tried if I hadn't read Fight Back and Win. Thank you!!!!
Poorly written and very one-sided and pretentious. I thought Gloria might be an interesting read, but no go.
if you're looking for a guide to self-promotion this could be it! if you're looking for honesty, insight or easy to swallow prose look elsewhere