Jun 02, 2018
The Power of #metoo
Jun 02, 2018
By Robert Rosborough
Did you attend MCBA’s latest membership luncheon? If not, I recommend reading Nestor Schnasse’s report on an excellent panel on the latest developments regarding gender inequality, primarily in the workplace. (Many thanks to Nestor not only for this article but for being our Guest Editor this month.) Our panelists had plenty to say about the #metoo movement but also noted how what is happening today is possible because of decades of brick-by-brick legal work. Of course, what is happening today makes clear just how many bricks still need to be added to create a level surface. Those of you closely following #metoo may not be surprised by the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and violence across entire industries and our panelists painted a compelling picture of it while discussing the progress being made, such as the SEIU announcing that addressing harassment is a priority in its next round of collective bargaining (alas, to the literal boos of some men in the SEIU’s audience.) One of the more interesting points to me was how much economic circumstances help perpetuate harassment—but then we shouldn’t be surprised that people put up with a lot when your economic choices are limited. You don’t need to be an employment lawyer to want to learn what these experts had to say.
As a companion piece, Barbara Monty has written a highly personal and candid essay—indeed, a cri de coeur—that takes the continued pervasiveness of sexual harassment and violence everywhere as a rallying cry for all of us to do something about it. Barbara gives a bit of the history of #metoo and then quite literally says, “#metoo,” recounting her own experiences, including in the legal profession. I know that many men find the pervasiveness hard to believe and are discomforted by questions of acceptable behavior. MCBA is not trying to discount any of the questions raised or offer its own solutions here. Barbara’s essay and the #metoo movement invite all of us to examine our own assumptions and feelings raised by these issues. As a conflict resolution teacher, I teach the wisdom of those very things in preventing and resolving all conflict.
For those of you looking for a meaty, “what the law is” article, financial advisor and attorney Mike Zaidlin offers a comprehensive overview of an issue that, if it hasn’t already been, will be important to all of us one day: filing for Social Security benefits (note my optimism that it will remain important to all of us.) I have heard Mike speak on this topic and he does a great job of enabling his audience to “issue spot” on a complex topic. Many of you may not realize that a married couple’s poor timing in filing for benefits can leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table. The topic is too complex to outline all the answers but Mike’s article enables you to know when to ask the right questions. I highly recommend that everyone read it—not just for your clients’ benefit but for your own and your friends’.
Marin Law Library trustee Jonathan Frieman has written a concise update on what’s new at the law library. It left me impressed with what the library offers, including benefits I didn’t know about, such as access to online CEB material. We are publishing a little bit early this month because Greg Brockbank, our newish political columnist, not only updates you on the races and propositions but ventures a few predictions for Tuesday’s election.
Finally, based on your feedback, we here at the Marin Lawyer are endeavoring to offer a convenient non-web-based format for those of you who want to take the Marin Lawyer with you for reading. We are still working on a more sophisticated approach and may experiment a bit but for now, we are trying out a new feature that allows you to create a pdf of the articles in the current issue with just one click.
If you click through from the e-mail announcement of the issue, just scroll down to the first "Notice" right after the main articles and you'll see the link. Depending on your browser settings, the link will either open a pdf of the articles in your browser or download the pdf. If it opens in your browser and you want to download it, you can probably do that in several ways, including going back to the link and right clicking (or if you're on a Mac like me, option-clicking begins the download immediately.)
If you are already on MCBA's website and want to get the pdf, you have to go to the "Current Issue" of the Marin Lawyer and scroll down in the same manner. (Going to "In the News" will not show a pdf option.) The link works the same way as described above. The pdf is not formatted like the old printed version, but it is easy to read and of course you can print it if you want to take a paper copy with you. And we are still working out kinks with our web developer; for example in a few places you'll see some code, such as for live links. The pdf also has only the articles--no event listings or notices.
Let us know what you think. And as always, let us know what you think of any other feature or article when you run into me (or Mee Mee, Kiersten or another board member) at MCBA events or by email or otherwise. Until next month, your editor is signing off. Enjoy the start of your summer!
Rob Rosborough is Of Counsel to Monty White LLP. He mediates disputes where an ongoing relationship is at stake, particularly adult-family conflict such as disagreement over caring for an aging parent and HOA disputes. He maintains an estate planning and general advisory and transactional law practice focusing on personal and small business issues. Rob also teaches at USF’s Fromm Institute (conflict resolution and history of science) and helps lawyers cope with the practice of law by teaching them meditation skills as a certified iRest® meditation teacher.