Using the Media to Make Your Case in Court

Question: You talk a lot about empowerment, yet in court you often present female clients as victims. Why?

Gloria Allred:  I don't believe that women should have to suffer in silence and I would say 99 percent of all or our cases no one has ever heard of, no one ever will hear of. They will not be discussed publicly unless and until they end up in a court of law. But most are settled confidentially, so you'll never hear about them. Yes they will have to describe what happened to them to the opposing party, and in a court of law if it gets to trial, which most cases won't. But some decide to speak out publicly and speaking out publicly helps them to be empowered actually, in many cases.

And also it helps to inspire other women to know that they can stand up and fight back. That they don't have to be victimized. If they are victimized, that they can move on to the next stage which is to become a survivor and then finally to the next stage which is to be a fighter for change. So they can evolve and make others accountable for the wrongs that have been inflicted upon them. It's about accountability, it's about transparency, and it's about change. It's about justice, most of all.

Question:
  How do you decide whether or not the media will be a useful tool in your cases?


Gloria Allred:  It really depends on the case. Sometimes it's, like, an educational moment or opportunity, and sometimes it's strategic, sometimes it's both. For example, we had a case years ago of AIDS discrimination. Our client went... Paul Jasperson went to Jessica's Nail Salon to get a pedicure. He made an appointment then they heard  that he had aids and they called and canceled it or that he was HIV positive at the time. They canceled it.

And we fought them for 16 years, we said: "That's discrimination." And my client spoke out and said, "I'm not going to take this type of discrimination. It's wrong and it's also illegal." And by doing so he let another businesses know that people who are HIV-positive need to be treated with respect and dignity and have a right to enjoy their rights, to be free of discrimination under the law. That sends a message not only to Jessica's Nail Salon but other businesses as well that you better watch yourself. That you might find yourself on the wrong end of a law suit and being spoke of publicly if you make the big mistake of discriminating.

So it's a teaching moment, and I know that Paul was very happy that he did that. He was never sorry that he did that, and even though he passed away at some point we continued the battle even after his death

It's a case-by-case analysis of what we're trying to accomplish in the case and how best to accomplish it. There's no one general rule, one-size-fits-all. It really depends on the case. As I said, most of the time you'll never hear about most of my cases, and every once in a while, for example, I'll get a call from the L.A. Times or someone else saying, "We just found out that you filed this case. Nobody told us." And they just find it but most of the time they will never know what we're doing and that's the way it should be because what is best for the client is what's most important.

Recorded on June 9, 2010
Interviewed by David Hirschman

The attorney says that there's no hard-and-fast rule about when and how to use the media to help a client in court. "Sometimes it's like an educational moment or opportunity and sometimes it's strategic—sometimes it's both."

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less