A Review of Jennifer Pierce's Gender Trials

Topics: Gender role, Gender, Masculinity Pages: 4 (1432 words) Published: January 25, 2006
Gender's role in the work place has become a highly discussed topic from the twentieth century and well into our modern era. In an interesting study performed by Jennifer L. Pierce, the author of Gender Trials, she dissects the gendered organizational structure of large law firms. She began her study by dedicating time to two different law firms, both where she worked as a paralegal and completed numerous surveys while collecting data and research. She introduces her concern for these sex-segregated law firms and how these organizations have become so institutionalized. She actually describes the structure of gendered roles in the workplace as a process of reproduction. Pierce then gives the reader a historical overview of the development of sex-segregated law firms from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day. While explaining the development of the sex-segregated workplace, Pierce describes the role that each gender plays in the system. She points the reader to a very important question immediately in her book. With all the attention that gender equality has been receiving why is it that these organizations have not changed? She answers this question through various reasoning. In the conclusion of Gender Trials, the reader is able to see why these stereotypical gendered roles in law firms have been and are difficult to change. As a paralegal herself she spent time within the constraints of the legal and litigation world, she found it fascinating how differentiated the roles in law firms are. Litigators whom are usually men "muscle" the profession, while their assistants the paralegals and secretaries, which normally are women assist them with emotional support. Women paralegals are seen as "caretakers" their job usually consists of being pleasant, which usually consists of being cheerful and always presenting a smile. They also specialize in reassurance, alleviating the anxiety of the attorney for whom one works (Pierce, p.99). She...
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