Paul L. Caron

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Black 3L Says White Deputy Mistook Her For A Criminal Defendant When She Tried To Enter Courtroom To Represent Client Of Law School's Clinic

Boston Globe, Black Law Student Says Rhode Island Deputy Mistook Her For a Defendant:

A Black student at the Roger Williams University School of Law says a white sheriff’s deputy mistook her for a defendant when she tried to enter a courtroom to represent a client as part of the school’s criminal defense clinic.

Third-year law student Brooklyn Crockton posted a TikTok video about the experience soon after it happened last week, and now it has gone viral.

Update:  From Len Baynes (Dean, Houston):  Joseline Jean-Louis Hardrick (Western Michigan - Thomas Cooley Law School), ‘You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer!’: 6 Ways to Navigate Professional and Corporate Spaces (ABA Journal):

HardrickAsk most women and minority lawyers if they have had this experience, and they’ll reply with a resounding “Yes!” As a matter of fact, women and minorities hear this phrase a lot in many other professions, including professors (I am currently one), engineersdoctors (my best friend gets this all the time), scientists and many other male-dominated fields that require training, education and expertise.

It’s easy to become annoyed, upset or indifferent when this happens repeatedly. ... I’ve heard countless stories relayed on social media from my former classmates and colleagues recounting all the times in which they were mistakenly (or purposely) referred to as the court reporter or paralegal. ....

To avoid the burnout of constant microaggressions and keep a good sense of humor in the face of bias, I’ve come up with some witty responses to have ready the next time someone throws this phrase casually your way. Yes, I understand it’s a systemic problem we must continue working on, and it can have some real consequences. But at the end of the day, you have to figure out how to navigate these professional and corporate spaces and keep your confidence and enthusiasm for practicing law.

So what should you do if this happens to you? On to the [six] suggestions. ...

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