A group of woman lawyers in Canada have formed what they call a "feminist law practice." To the founders, a feminist law practice doesn't require fighting for legal changes to benefit women or only taking on sexual harassment cases or legal work specific to women; it involves providing a vast range of legal services to people of both genders and not representing men in violent criminal matters. Is that feminist? Or just a marketing technique?

Because, at least according to their description, they don't only represent female clients — that would be sexist, and possibly illegal. But I'm all for fewer women lawyers defending rape suspects and wife-beaters (sorry, JD Regent) because being entitled to a good defense should not mean being entitled to get to look like women are standing up for you instead of the woman you raped or abused.

Advertisement

Still, the idea of calling themselves a "feminist" law firm leaves me with a lot of questions. Like, what about male victims of abuse? What about abuse within a lesbian relationship? Mother-child abuse? Is contract law a feminist issue? Is it feminist to use the word feminism to market yourself to a certain kind of clientele? It seems like feminism should be more than a "holistic" approach to legal services (see: cross-selling opportunities) and an agreement not to represent violent men. On the other hand, their commitment to pro-bono work on behalf of woman clients is pretty cool and it would be pretty awesome if labeling themselves "feminists" meant that they made more money rather than just got called humorless dykes.

What Makes a Feminist Law Firm? [Feminist Law Professors]