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A question to all lawyers about public perception of lawyers

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Thik Nongyow, Aug 3, 2002.

  1. Thik Nongyow

    Thik Nongyow Well-Known Member

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    This is question for all practicing or retired lawyers (other people do not reply!) on this forum:

    With the "Stella Awards" thread regarding frivolous lawsuits in mind, how do you react to the demagogic attitudes of some people, the media, literature, popular culture etc. regarding the legal profession and lawyers as opportunists? Are the attitudes disturbing, ignorant, misguided, absurd or downright slanderous?
     
  2. MikeF

    MikeF Well-Known Member

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  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    I was an engineer, working in defense, for 18 years before I ever dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Then them damned Russkies gave up and my defense career evaporated. So at the age of 40 I began law school, taking the CA bar and the US patent "bar" upon graduation.
    I do think that the country would be in better shape with respect to the legal profession if more lawyers had done something else prior to going to law school. I know I got a lot more out of it at my age. Having a background at just making a regular living would help a lot of lawyers.
    But lawyers in general are not nasty devious folks. There are a few that worship money but that's true in many lines of work.
    I got tired of working the hours in a law firm so I now work in the legal department of a corporation as a patent attorney. Patent attorneys do real work as the handmaiden of inventors. And when patent litigation occurs it's the real thing: hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars are at stake. So I personally don't do "bullshit" legal work: neither do any of my peers.
    Don't forget that the media is in the business of "selling" the news to make money. Hysterical headlines sell newspapers. Thoughtful commentary is buried deep inside if at all. Most of the cases cited in the press as "bullshit litigation" have the facts of the case grossly oversimplified. If you read the trial transcripts of any of these cases - including all the facts - you may end up with a different opinion about the merits of the case.
    But hey I love good lawyer jokes.
    How many lawyers does it take to shingle a roof?
    Depends upon how thinly you slice them.......[​IMG]
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

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    I'll put in a brief for the prosecution in this thread.
    I've always assumed that stereotypes about lawyers were like most stereotypes: either totally invented or gross exagerations of the traits of a few applied to a whole group. (Because, let's face it, most of us know a few people who are the living embodiment of certain stereotypes: the dumb jock, the socially inept science nerd, the bubble-headed cheerleader.)
    Then I worked at a law firm for a little over a year. I won't go into detail, since I use my real name here, but I'd say that out of the 100 or so attorneys I had dealings with in six offices (in five different cities) there were perhaps a dozen who didn't conform to one or more of the worst stereotypes of the profession. Almost universally they were arrogant and condescending, acting as if they'd been handed the Holy Grail rather than a license to help people.
    I'm sure there are plenty of decent lawyers in the world, but the ones I saw there, and most of the ones I see television (the real ones, as on Court TV) make me think they must all be in hiding somewhere.
    To end this post on a lighter note. [​IMG] :
    An engineer is sent to Hell by mistake. When The Lord finds out, he calls downstairs.
    The Lord: That engineer doesn't belong there. Send him up ASAP.
    The Devil: No way, the guy's a genius. He's already put in air-conditioning, I have an ice maker in my office, and he's working on a skating rink.
    The Lord: Look, you send him up here right now, or I'll sue!
    The Devil: Right! Where are you gonna get a lawyer? *
    [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Joe
    * I know, he has one. I'm pretty sure that Sir Thomas Moore is the patron saint of lawyers.
     
  5. Anthony_D

    Anthony_D Well-Known Member

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    Most Lawyers are the scourge of the earth.

    It used to be unethical for them to solicit their services, now you have all of these shisters putting their ugly mugs on TV saying "we'll get money for you."

    Damn ambulance chasers.
     
  6. MikeF

    MikeF Well-Known Member

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  7. Anthony_D

    Anthony_D Well-Known Member

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    I didn't say all, i said MOST
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

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  9. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    Actually personal injury lawyers mainly sue client's OWN insurance companies, because you often will find that your own insurance company tries to get out of paying.
    Anyway here's the great resource for lawyer jokes:
    www.nolo.com/humor/jokes.cfm [​IMG]
     
  10. Holadem

    Holadem Well-Known Member

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    My father used to be a defense attorney in my country. There (and in France), they enjoy a deep respect from people. It was very shocking to get to the US and realise the horrible perception (and often justified) that people have of that profession here.

    BTW, in France it is illegal to advertise ones practice like it's done here. It takes away from the prestige of the profeession and it is considered unethical.

    --
    Holadem
     
  11. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Well-Known Member

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    MikeF is right. As the law stands, that burglar is due damages.
    That's why you change the law so stuff like that never happens. Yes, create laws to create the exception. [​IMG]
     
  12. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Well-Known Member

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  13. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Well-Known Member

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  14. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Well-Known Member

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    Ditto. If the circumstances are right, I can terminate his life, but now he has to be made comfortable?

    Glenn
     
  15. Holadem

    Holadem Well-Known Member

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  16. MikeF

    MikeF Well-Known Member

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  17. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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  18. David Singleton

    David Singleton Well-Known Member

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    This is a rather interesting discussion.

    Common Perception #1: In the United States, the perception of a lawyer is of a person that has no morals, and attempts to abuse the system to their personal gain first, client's gain second. In their attempt to abuse the system, lawyers clog the system with frivolous lawsuits for outlandish sums of money- of which they split with the client 80-20 to their favor.

    Common Perception #2: The goal of the American Judicial System is to seek justice.

    Common Perception #3: When an obviously, to everyone but the jury, guilty defendant is released on a "technicality", the defense lawyer is smeared as scum. This is especially the case when the defendant is charged with a particularly heinous crime such as murder or rape.



    Let me comment on Perception #2 first. As I am not a lawyer, those who are please correct me when I stray from fact in my upcoming diatribe. On the whole, and without entering into politics, the goal of the American Judicial System is to seek justice. However, the goal of a lawyer is to defend/prosecute to the best of his/her ability. If they do their job well, regardless of the results, theoretically justice is served. The obvious problem here is that loopholes exist that are not "in the spirit of the law." Unfortunately, we humans cannot foresee every possible result of a law. This segues very nicely to Common Perception #3.

    What else should a defense lawyer do when they are trying to defend a client they know to be guilty? Their job is to represent their client. If their client admits to the deed, should the attorney, as officers of the court, be required to inform the police of their clients confession? That obviously would go against the attorney-client privilege. In some cases a lawyer who is found to be derelict in their job could easily lose their job. I'm sure there is further ramifications in the military. I don't know whether there is any impact from the Bar Association.

    That leads us back to Common Sense Law. In today's world, loopholes in the law are fixed after they are exploited. How do you argue Common Sense Law? With the instructions given to a jury by a judge, and the lawyers on occasion, how do you also tell the jury to use common sense even though it goes against some law on the books? That's the question, and I don't know the answer.

    As for Common Perception #1, there are many apparently frivolous lawsuits in our country. There are also many rich lawyers. Sometimes, a lawyer's fee appears to be outrageous. I don't know if there is any difference however between a lawyer and several other "white collar" professions. Most "white collar" professions pay well above the poverty line. In regards to the frivolous lawsuits, how do you cut those down without infringing on one's right to sue?

    Seems like all I have is questions. Sorry.

    David Singleton
     
  19. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Well-Known Member

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    It's a damn good thing I've got a lawyer for a friend.
     
  20. ToddS

    ToddS Well-Known Member

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    Everyone hates lawyers until they need one.
     

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