“Manly-Sounding” Lawyers Are More Likely to Lose

At least that’s the buzzy headline the ABA Journal put on this study, in which 200 volunteers rated the “manliness” and confidence, among other qualities, of 60 male lawyers’ opening statement to the Supreme Court. The manliest-sounding lawyers more likely to lose, and the most confident-sounding lawyers were more likely to win. Presumably there was not a lot of overlap between the two.

One of the researchers, Alan Yu, wonders if men tend to compensate for a lack of confidence by using a “manlier” voice at oral argument.

Sam Glover
Sam is the founder of Lawyerist.com, the best place for lawyers to learn how to start, manage, and grow a modern law practice, and home to the community of innovative lawyers building the future of law.


  1. Avatar Bina Besiege says:

    Some times research throws up interesting statistics and results but that does not mean that most of the ‘manly’ sounding lawyers are going to lose. Key to win a case lies in being well prepared and nothing to do with sounding not manly enough. Remember a confident person can also sound manly.

    Bina Besiege

  2. Avatar Arttu P says:

    I might agree with this but because I am relating “manly-sounding” to low voice (low frequency). I myself do speak quite low and quite often I get “excuse me” and even feedback that I cannot be heard properly. Partly this may have something to do with too low volume of my speech but the low frequency is not helping either.

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