Retired U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin told an audience at a Reed Smith LLP symposium on gender diversity in the courtroom on Tuesday that she hoped to see more senior male attorneys acting as allies to help younger, female lawyers more regularly take on prominent roles in litigation.

Scheindlin, who currently serves of counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, said she hoped that recent attention to the lack of gender parity in the courtroom — highlighted by a recent report that women represented just one quarter of lawyers in civil and criminal cases in New York state — would not be seen as an affront to the class of white, male lawyers who have traditionally taken the lead in litigation.

"There are a lot of white males in this room, and I like you, I love you," she said to laughter. "I do not want you to think I have any animus towards white males, because I don't. We need you. If you're on our team, we're going to win, but if you're adverse to us, nothing will change."

The retired judge's keynote address in Philadelphia comes after she co-authored a report released by the New York State Bar Association in August finding that female attorneys made up only 24.4 percent of all attorneys and 23.1 percent of lead counsel to appear before the bench.

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