New Scientist reports the findings of a team led by linguist Alan Yu of the University of Chicago and legal theorist Daniel Chen of ETH Zurich in Switzerland, who played 60 recordings of male lawyers in the Supreme Court making the traditional opening statement: "Mister Chief Justice, may it please the court" for 200 volunteers, who then rated the clips for how masculine-sounding they thought each speaker was, as well as other perceived traits like confidence, education and trustworthiness.
After accounting for the age and experience of the lawyers, statistical analysis showed that only one of the traits could predict the court outcome. Lawyers rated as speaking with less-masculine voices were more likely to win.You can read an abstract of the study, The Peril of Sounding Manly, here.
...Lawyers who think they're going to lose may project a different kind of voice, perhaps overcompensating by sounding more masculine" says Yu, who is keen to stress that the findings are just the beginning of wider project looking at the impact of voice and gender in the courts.
Barely related: manly, truck-smashing Texas DUI Attorney Adam Reposa has had run-ins with the Texas Bar over his advertising. In the video below, he advertises his services in part by noting, "I'm what you want. I'm what you need... Not everyone has ten... long... hard... years of experience..."
At about the 4:30 mark, Reposa (dressed more professionally in a white Tee shirt) argues hilariously with one Mike Dobbs, of the Advertising Review Committee of the State Bar of Texas.