Two Orthodox Jewish women are shocking all criminal lawyers- dressed head to toe in matching pink outfits as ‘Barbie lawyers’.
Criminal defense attorneys Sara Shulevitz, 40, and Mindy Meyer, 26, of Meyer Kessner own Shulevitz Law Group. They are well-known in Miami and New York law circles for their outlandish style and upbeat attitude.
Mindy grew up in Brooklyn while Sara is the daughter of a rabbi and grew up on the Upper East Side of New York.
While their methods are in opposition to the norms, they say their results speak for themselves.
Sara said: “At first glance we might appear a little ditzy but we are fighters, we are tough lawyers and we get the job done.”
Mindy added: “I always loved Barbie, the glitz and the glamour and the sparkles and the jazz – so we decided to bring that to the courtroom.”
The duo have represented defendants accused of murders, rapes and even alleged members of Colombian cartels.
Mindy said: “We won’t take on any client that is unethical or asks us to do things that are illegal. Other than that, everybody is entitled to a defense subject to the constitution.”
Orthodox Jewish women practicing criminal law are considered a rarity and Sara and Mindy bond over their shared conservative heritage.
Sara said: “Both of us come from ultra-Orthodox Jewish homes and it was expected that an Orthodox Jewish woman gets married at 18 and they have children, seven, eight, nine, ten children – however many God will give.”
“I was in an arranged marriage at 18 and that didn’t work out. So then I went to law school.
“I was already practicing when Legally Blonde came out and I think that they copied me with the pink resume. I used to have pink, scented business cards and I used to throw them into the cells. My clients love it.”
Although, their struggle to be on the top list of criminal lawyers has had (many) hurdles.
She said: “I started out as a young attorney in my twenties and people just think a lot of times that you are idiot. You have to work hard to prove yourself.
“When I switched sides to be a defense lawyer, one of the hardest things was being taken seriously.”
“In a case I tried alone where my client was facing 15 years, I got an acquittal; the jury acquitted my client in five minutes.”
“I was so proud and the next day, one of the male attorneys said, ‘who did you sleep with in the jury to get that result?’
“It was very painful because you work so hard and no-one would say that to a man attorney.”
Whereas, Mindy, who is married with a young daughter, never envisioned a traditional Orthodox future for herself.
She said: “I always had a fascination with criminals and politics and I always knew I was not going to be in the kitchen all day.”
She added: “I feel I have known Sara my whole life. At this point we can’t survive without each other. We refer to each other as sisters-in-law.”
As well as a love of everything pink, they share a passion for high-fashion, with a particular love for J.Crew, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and Christian Louboutin.
These criminal lawyers believe their look represents ‘new feminism’ and that they don’t need to ‘look and act like men’.
Judge Stacy Glick of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court, Florida, where Sara defends many of her cases, said: “Sometimes I think maybe some of the defendants might not take her seriously because, don’t forget, you have people in here that are potentially facing a life sentence.
“On the other hand being such a positive person, being such an upbeat person, and not automatically attacking the prosecutor, can sometimes be a good approach and bring good outcomes for her clients.”
She added: “I think some judges might not appreciate it because they might take it seriously. It’s a different approach.”