February cover evoked a strong response for some readers

Maryanne B. Cooper
2015 March

We recently received two letters to the editor from readers who had a strong response to our cover image for the February 2015 Ready for Trial issue of Plaintiff. In hindsight, we should have included a different image to represent female trial attorneys in the courtroom. It was never our intent to offend our readers. We apologize to those who felt the image was inappropriate.

We appreciate the feedback regarding the cover image. One reader commented that “[w]omen lawyers are portrayed as sexy, petulant young broads wearing pink and blue boxing gloves.” The other reader wrote that “the one with the pink gloves, it looks like her bra is showing.” And “[a]dd in the girly boxing gloves and you may as well throw jello on the photo, because it’s about on par with that kind of sexist stereotype this image conjures.”

Our staff would never intentionally print anything we thought would be perceived as inappropriate. Our authors – your peers – work hard on their material. We try to find images that draw in potential readers. This particular selection, in retrospect, was a mistake.

With our community of over 5,300 readers, it is not surprising that certain images are perceived differently by some. This is not meant as an excuse for publishing an image that some found offensive. Rather it is intended to explain the challenges we encounter in appealing to a diverse audience. We attempt to take a light-hearted approach to selecting images on the one hand, while still acknowledging and appreciating the serious challenges women – and minorities in general – face in the legal profession every day.

Along those lines, the majority of our staff at Plaintiff Magazine is female. While some of us weren’t particularly fond of the cover image, we did not find it offensive in the way the two readers who took the time to write us did. It is important we are made aware of these differing opinions so we can attempt to avoid negative responses in the future. We encourage readers to continue to provide feedback, whether positive or negative. And we will do our best to strive for more of the former.

Maryanne B. Cooper Maryanne B. Cooper

Maryanne B. Cooper is a partner at Coopers LLP in San Francisco. She represents seriously injured individuals and their families, primarily cyclists and pedestrians. Maryanne lives in a car-free household, and through her practice helps ensure that those who use active transportation – transit, walking, and bicycling – are appropriately compensated when they suffer injuries caused by others. In addition to a full law practice, Maryanne serves as the editor of Plaintiff Magazine, a role she has held since 2010.

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