September 2018 - #MeToo – Revealing and Reshaping the Legal Field

by Rachel M. Sposato

 On August 23, 2018, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (“WLALA”) presented a panel discussion on “#MeToo – Revealing and Reshaping the Legal Field.”  The event was hosted by the Feminist Majority Foundation in Beverly Hills.  WLALA’s current president, Amy T. Brantly, moderated the event, and the three-person panel was comprised of Phyllis Cheng, ADR  Services mediator and former DFEH Director, Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber, and Rebecca Torrey, a partner at Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside LLP. 

            Amy Brantly led a lively and stimulating discussion with the three panelists as to the current issues involving sexual harassment and sexual violence in the workplace, and possible solutions moving forward.  Phyllis Cheng informed the audience of past and current statistics within California with respect to reporting sexual harassment, provided a perspective as to why the statistics are so low, and discussed new bills currently making its way through the California legislature that will help strengthen the rights of sexual harassment victims.  Prof. Dauber discussed an alternative solution to help address sexual harassment and sexual violence: the electoral process.  She then regaled the audience with the efforts she led to recall Judge Persky as support for this alternative solution.  Rebecca Torrey discussed the nuts and bolts of sexual harassment and sexual violence in the workplace from recapping the legal definition and standard to explaining why sexual harassment is still worse in law firms.  Ms. Torrey highlighted the changing landscape she is witnessing (in a positive direction) from law firms and businesses following the emergence of the #MeToo movement.