Skip to content
Who's in the Video
Gloria Allred is a founding partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Allred, Maroko & Golberg. A noted feminist and women's rights attorney, she has represented a wide variety[…]

“In many cases there is no justice; there’s just minimizing the injustice,” says the lawyer. Doing so to the tune of many millions of dollars can have an “educational impact,” she says.

Question: Does a large monetary settlement really translate rninto justice?

Gloria Allred:  Well, in many cases rnthere is no justice. There's just minimizing the injustice. We're rnmitigating the injustice. For example, if a woman has been raped or rnbattered, you can't undo the rape and you can't do the battery, the rnbruises, the broken arm, the other injuries that may have been inflictedrn upon her. But what you can do is try to minimize the injustice by rnwinning her compensation and sometimes criminal prosecution as well for rnthe wrong that has been done to her, civilly and sometimes criminally.

It'srn all about accountability, and imposing appropriate consequences for thern person and on the person who has inflicted the wrong and the harm, and rnthe damage. For me, it's all about winning whatever it is my client is rnseeking that is possible in the legal system. We do not live in an idealrn world. We live in a world that is somewhat flawed and we work in a rnflawed justice system. Having said that we want to win as much justice rnor minimize the injustice to the fullest extent possible.
rnSo in some cases that means criminal prosecution and civil settlement. rnSometimes it's just civil settlement but I would like to win whatever rnand whenever it is possible to do so, as much justice as the system can rnafford.

Do large monetary settlements rnactually serve as a deterrent for crime?

Gloria Allred:rn I do think it has an educational impact. Having to reach into one's rnwallet and pay out a large amount because of the wrong that one has donern definitely makes one think about whether one wants to do this again to rnsomeone else, because there is a cost to inflicting wrongs.  The real rnquestion is who should bear the cost of the wrong?  I say it should not rnbe the victim, should be the wrongdoer.  And that's the message I'm rntrying to send.  So for example in many cases involving sexual rnharassment—that's mainly what we do is plaintiff sexual harassment for rnindividuals who have been sexually harassed. Then, you know, we want thern full measure of damages that is possible under the law from the sexual rnharasser and/or those who might have condoned or encouraged that sexual rnharassment.  Because sexual harassment is a barrier to the enjoyment of rnequal employment opportunity. So, for example, a woman who is sexually rnharass in a workplace is going to have to battle that... fight that. If rnshe says, yes to the sexual harassment because she's afraid she'll lose rnher job if she doesn't, then she's in a no-win situation. If she says rnno, then she's in a no-win situation. It's not fair. It's not right and rnit's against the law. So we want to get her compensation so she can go rnon with her life and be free of that barrier of sexual harassment.
rnWe've done child sexual abuse cases, we've been able to get the abusers rnprosecuted—the child molesters prosecuted. And also sometimes filed rncivil lawsuits against them resulting in very significant damages that rnhave to be paid to the victim of child sexual abuse. Same with rapists rnand others who have inflicted wrongs against women and children.

Recorded on June 9, 2010
Interviewed by David Hirschman