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Abstract

Sex is not just a commodity for pimps, prostitutes, and pornographers. It is an asset deployed daily, though perhaps less visibly, by women in more "mainstream" professions. Lawyers are no exception. In popular film and television, female attorneys sport short skirts and low-cut blouses, and flirt outrageously with a judge or jury in order to promote a client's interest. For better or worse, hyper-sexualized Hollywood fantasies reflect the reality that sex sells and can be negotiated in the service offemale attorneys, whose very presence in the courtroom collides with still-prevailing normative constructs about the proper role of women. The lawyer's responsibility to "zealously represent" her client creates even more pressure to invoke sexualized stereotypes some feminists consider demeaning to women in order to fulfill professional obligations. If we understand and accept the power of sex appeal to sell cars, cologne, and commercial airline tickets, we can understand why women might use it to sell the theory of a case, the merits of a motion, the innocence of a defendant. In fact, we might question why they would not.

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