As the author of a novel called MURDERING LAWYERS, naturally I can be a lightning rod for pro-lawyer and anti-lawyer rants. As you might guess, the antis seem to have it over the pros by at least 5 to 1. This gives rise to two questions: 1. Why do people feel this way? And 2. Are these feelings fair?
The answer to these questions are: 1. Because lawyers rule the world and everyone else can do no more than complain impotently, and 2. Yes.
To some extent, we only have ourselves to blame. Most of us have chosen civilization over barbarism, and civilization requires the establishing of rules that must be followed and mechanisms for enforcing them. Lawyers are the people who make, understand, and manipulate those rules. Lawyers know a language that gives them power over non-lawyers.
There are more layers to the social disparity onion, though. It’s not enough to take the LSATs, manage to get into law school, study hard for three years, get good grades, and graduate. You have to compete for the small percentage of really good (high-paying and/or influential) jobs, which is tough without multi-generational family connections. Then you have to push yourself ahead ruthlessly at that firm or political job until you get your first real taste of power.
The Average Joe and Geraldine have very little chance in this rigged game. If you’re not among the powerful, well-connected few then you have to save up to rent a small amount of their time. Whether it’s “Please, sir, will I get in trouble with the law if I do this?” or “Please, sir, you’re my only hope of surviving this baseless lawsuit,” you need them in order to survive in our society. They’re seldom gracious about it, and never cheap.
So every time you hear about a plaintiff lawyer getting $X- million in legal fees in a class settlement that returns less than a dollar to each class member, or a bankruptcy lawyer getting paid over $30-million for his work in distributing cents-on-the-dollar to creditors, or a client receiving a light sentence for vehicular manslaughter due to the debilitating effects of the very “Affluenza,” which enabled him to pay the steep legal bills, or judges with lifetime tenure deciding that corporations are entitled to more protection of their religious freedoms than their employees, you’re tempted to take out that lawyer voodoo doll and remove its head. Or start a revolution. Or write a really angry tweet.
You wonder how the masses will ever escape from their heavy legal yokes…
One last query springs to mind: Am I totally serious about all of this? No, not quite.
Luckily, lawyers are widely known for their unusually good-natured sense of humor… Right???