I’m not trying to make this too personal and I am not looking for personal advice, so let’s assume all of the following is true, but some is not to protect the innocent:
I have a small law firm with only one paralegal. The previous paralegal was male. As part of my job I represent incarcerated people on their post-conviction matters. Our prisons are spread all across the state and a long drive away from home. To save on time and to fit these visits into the schedule, I typically leave after work, drive to the remote location, reserve a hotel/motel room near the prison and stay overnight. I visit the client early the next morning and get back in the late afternoon to take care of any fires which have arisen throughout the day.
Now, sometimes it is crunch time as we are approaching trial. Many times the clients are lying to me, but I am not sure, and many times I took the paralegal along to try to gauge the client, get a second opinion, and to simply make sure that I am not getting tunnel vision so I can be sure as to how the client will come across to the jury.
The previous male paralegal would come with me on these trips, have a few beverages at the local watering hole and come back to the hotel/motel. It started with separate rooms, but we got close enough (not in a sexual way) so that as long as we had two beds, then one room was fine. Drive back the next day, no hassle.
The new paralegal is female. Her husband is none too fond of these overnight trips, even with renting two rooms. My wife will be none too fond either. (We have not done this yet).
My random thoughts: Even though there is equality in the workplace, is this a line that should remain (no overnights with the opposite sex)?. Are our spouses being unreasonable? There is definitely no sexual relationship in play. Is it “asking for trouble” if at some point we are having relationship problems and we make a mistake (not happening yet, hopefully never).
In a more general sense, will this make me at least unconsciously want to fill this position with a male so that this conflict does not exist?
Further, I think having a female perform this one particular task enhances my ability as I can get a perspective on how female jurors may perceive the client.
This isn’t a trick question or a set up for a larger issue. This is a serious dilemma that I respectfully would like serious responses to. Many thanks in advance.