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In Days of Old, When Knights Were Bold

I received feedback about the attorney who thought he was being considerate by allowing me sufficient time to apply make-up first.  One colleague was incensed that he had used the word “gal.” She shared that her old boss, who called every woman “Hon,” was the “biggest pig” she’d ever met.  I replied, “He may be in the contest, but he’s not the winner.  I’ll re-tell a story on my blog that describes a champion sexist!”


At the closing, everything seemed to be proceeding normally. As Seller’s counsel, I had prepared the Deed with the woman buyer’s name first and the man’s second. I listed ownership as “Tenants by the Entirety,” the legal designation when a married couple purchases together. 


Once I passed the Deed over, the Buyers’ attorney acted as if it burned his hand.  He flung it back towards me, as he hissed, “I don’t want any of your estrogen-soaked agenda on my clients’ Deed! You can’t impose your feminist views on my clients.  Change the Deed to make it read properly.”


You should know that many attorneys, from another era, always put the man’s name first, followed by the woman’s, along with the designation “his wife” or “u/x.”  Those designations harkened all the way back to medieval property laws, when wives were considered chattel without independent rights.


 As soon as I collected my thoughts, I decided that this knight jester from King Arthur’s court was too set in his ways to engage in a real debate (it helped that the buyers’ checks were already in my client’s pocket.) I took a deep breath, turned to his clients, and said, “I can’t give another attorney’s clients’ advice, but you should ask your attorney why he doesn’t want the Deed to your home to reflect your equal worth as a married couple. He wants to designate you, Ms. Buyer, as Mr. Buyer’s chattel.”


Then I waited for the fireworks, which didn’t disappoint. Mr. & Ms. Buyer angrily yelled at their attorney in the next room, to the utter amusement of the rest of us left at the closing table.


Nothing was said when the three of them returned to the room. Title was promptly conferred with that estrogen-soaked and radical Deed, with its obvious feminist agenda.




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