It’s the “first divorce” for most American women.
But in America, the gender gap is so huge that women lawyers are underrepresented at all levels of the divorce process, from judges to juries, according to new research from Stanford Law School.
“Women attorneys often do a poor job of understanding the law and how to defend themselves in court,” said Jennifer Cote, a professor of law at Stanford and one of the co-authors of the study.
In the study, published on Tuesday in the American Journal of Law and Gender, Cote and her co-author, Jennifer M. Tannenbaum, a law professor at Stanford, found that only about 10 percent of lawyers in the United States were women.
That was far below the national average of 20 percent.
And even though women represented about 6 percent of the US population in 2016, they accounted for only about 4 percent of divorces and legal malpractice lawsuits, Cotes said.
In some cases, the women lawyers represented were just plain unlucky.
In one study, a woman lawyer from New Jersey who was representing a man who had filed for divorce in Florida was charged with battery because she failed to show up to a hearing.
That lawyer was later exonerated, but it was the case for many other women lawyers, the study found.
The study also found that the legal representation of women is often overlooked because it’s often a more difficult area of practice.
Women attorneys in the US represent only about 30 percent of all couples in their cases, and the vast majority of women lawyers were underrepresented when it came to representation in the legal system.
Women lawyers often have to learn new, unfamiliar ways of representing themselves and their clients, the authors wrote.
For example, women lawyers may have to hire experienced litigators who can handle complex divorce cases.
But they may also have to teach the lawyers how to argue their cases in court and explain complex issues in their own words.
Cote said that in order to help women lawyers become more effective in representing themselves, more of them should be represented in divorce courts.
She also suggested that the courts provide more representation for men.
“In general, women attorneys tend to be more likely to represent themselves,” Cote said.
“It’s very hard for men to make that leap to representing themselves when they’re facing a female lawyer.”