Q: How many lawyer jokes are in existence?
A: Only three. The rest are true stories.
Society has been cynical about the legal profession since approximately the dawn of time. Most of us would prefer not to deal with attorneys, especially since we often only need their help when something in our own lives has gone wrong or threatens to do so. Lawyers are continuously demonized by certain political parties and criticized by the public.
Why do lawyers get such little respect? Perhaps it’s because the bad sometimes overshadows the good. After all, you’re much more likely to hear about the lawyer who invoiced a client for sex or the lawyer who, in a drunken frenzy, tossed her panties at a police officer than the attorney who passionately represented her client.
There’s no doubt some truth to the running jokes, and some attorneys are, in fact, bad apples, But that’s true of any field, isn’t it? So, what’s actually at the root of this disdain and fear?
Our Challenged Relationship with Lawyers: Three Explanations
From Gene Hackman’s portrayal of Avery Tolar in The Film to Al Pacino’s depiction of John Milton in The Devil’s Advocate, to Bob Odenkirk’s character Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, we love to hate lawyers. But why does this cynicism exist?
1. Lawyers are perceived to be expensive. The fact that many attorneys charge by the hour and bill in 15- or 30-minute increments can lead to the belief that lawyers are somehow inappropriately obsessed with getting compensated. This piece in Lawyerist offers a full-throated defense of the profession (and of lawyer rates), and it’s well worth a read.
2. Lawyers intimidate us. The images that most laypeople have of attorneys paint them as belonging to a different, privileged class. (If only!) In this fantasy, lawyers all have ornate offices with maroon leather chairs, giant desks, and wood-paneled conference rooms. They drive fancy cars and dress in expensive suits. This perceived flashiness can make lawyers as a class seem intimidating and aloof.
3. Lawyers are perceived to be smarter than us… or at least better educated. Attorneys must slog through four years of college before completing three years of law school. Then, they spend several months studying to pass the bar examination. This intense education can lead to perceptions of attorneys as overly bookish and, conversely, not grounded in common sense or street smarts.
If you have misgivings about lawyers and the legal profession, you’re not alone. But over the next few weeks, we’re going to dig a little deeper and discover that a different side to the story, one that just might force you to reassess some deeply held attitudes about our profession!
An experienced California family law attorney at the Law Offices of Silky Sahnan today can give you the insight you need to get the outcome you deserve. Call 888-228-1098 for a confidential consultation.