Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Bruce Kaufman, Attorneys Faulted for Scarcity of Female Expert Witnesses
An astonishing 80 percent of expert witnesses chosen by attorneys are male, and those male experts get paid on average 60 percent more than their female counterparts, according to a leading provider of courtroom experts across the U.S. Judges, attorneys, service providers, and professors spoke to Bloomberg BNA about the wide gender gap and paint a troubling portrait of an industry that is wearing blinders when it comes to bias against female expert witnesses.
And though everyone agrees that the sparsity of female expert witnesses is worrisome, the likely explanations for the gender preference are equally troubling.
Chief among them: disparate treatment by the attorneys who make hiring decisions.
These predominantly male attorneys may be biased themselves.
Or they may believe that hiring female experts will put them at a competitive disadvantage when they appear before jurors with outdated views on gender roles, those who talked to Bloomberg BNA said.
Educating attorneys and jurors on their biases, both conscious and subconscious, and coaching experts on how to overcome those prejudices could lead to more female experts and reduce the stark pay gap for female experts, interviewees said.
Part 1 of this two-part series explores the scope of, and reasons behind, the gender gap for expert witnesses. Part 2 looks at possible solutions, all rife with uncertainty.
Bruce Kaufman, Gender Gap for Female Experts Won't Be Easily Narrowed