On a recent night in San Francisco, the woman representing the Google engineer famously fired for arguing women aren’t genetically suited to work in tech doesn’t have it in her to attend a dinner of her peers. Those peers—other San Francisco judges and attorneys—run the spectrum, in her view, from liberal to far lefty. The sort of people she’s surrounded by and specializes in riling up. But it can be exhausting.
“If I go today, I’ll be devoured by judges and attorneys asking me how I could represent James,” Harmeet Dhillon says of the annual bar association dinner. This was in January, months after her new client, James Damore, became an inescapable flashpoint in the workplace-gender war. Dhillon had just finished an interview on Fox News, where she makes regular appearances. She ditched the dinner and sat down for another interview instead.