My job was to win every skirmish in the long war of attrition that is litigation. There was no reward for looking good, only for being good. And it didn’t take me long to realize that I could be good using their low opinion of my abilities as my own secret weapon of attack. When I needed their favor, I did not hesitate to use “feminine charms” to gain it. Those “charms” included warmth, flattery, playfulness, and sexiness. Bringing them onto the field of play in no way diminished my intelligence, growing savvy, meticulous preparation and growing reputation as a worthy adversary.

I possessed, as so many women do, a lively curiosity about other people’s motivations, the ability to locate and praise that which is praiseworthy in even the worst of people, and a strong sense of who I was and who I could never be.

When I teach young lawyers deposition and beginning trial practice skills for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, I encourage all of them, male and female, to use every one of their authentic personality traits to get as many people as possible up in their tree house, playing their games.