In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate

Nancy Gertner, Beacon, $26.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8070-1143-0
In 1975 Gertner, an aggressive, dogged, and idealistic lawyer, began an illustrious career defending high-profile cases involving women's or civil rights issues just as those movements were being tested in the courtroom. Now a federal judge, Gertner tells familiar courtroom dramas along with the less familiar chronicle of how the legal culture responded to the growing number of women in the ranks and how the law changed in response to the gender-driven legal issues they raised. Gertner's first high-profile case was in defense of Susan Saxe, a Vietnam war protestor accused of murder and bank robbery. Gertner lost, but the ultimate plea to lesser charges was perceived as a victory. In 1989 Gertner took on Merrill Lynch in a sex discrimination case; made history by asserting the battered woman syndrome in defense of a woman charged with murdering her husband; and in 1987 challenged Harvard's denial of tenure to a woman law professor. Gertner adeptly describes insider courtroom strategy as well as both the blatant and insidious institutional sexism she faced. Her story is a well-told reflection of the growth and growing pains of the legal system regarding women as advocates, educators, plaintiffs, and defendants. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/07/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Paperback - 249 pages - 978-0-8070-1148-5
Open Ebook - 143 pages - 978-0-8070-9548-5
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