Dateline: January, 2008, Issue 2

Do female or male criminal defense attorneys get more acquittals?

Hahn and Clayton (1996) compared reactions of male and female jurors to either a male or female defense attorney cross-examining a witness in an assault and robbery case. The attorney variously used an aggressive or non-aggressive presentation style.

Aggressive attorneys were more successful at obtaining an acquittal for their clients than less aggressive attorneys, especially for male jurors. Female jurors were not influenced by presentation style.

Male attorneys were more successful at obtaining an acquittal for their clients than female attorneys. Male attorneys were most successful when they presented their case to male jurors using an aggressive presentation style.

Female attorneys were most successful when presenting their case to female jurors.

Criminal defense attorneys are most successful when presenting their case to jurors of the same sex and when using an aggressive presentation style.

Source Hahn, P. W., & Clayton, S. D. (1996). The effects of attorney presentation style, attorney gender, and juror gender on juror decisions. Law and Human Behavior, 20, pp. 533-554.