In Defense of the Lawyering Profession

The Scene: Potluck at the in-laws yesterday. Median age: 63. Population comprised of conservative Adventists, women with big hair and flower print dresses, and men with strong opinions.

One very kind woman asked me about lawyering. And how it’s too bad lawyers have a bad rap. I said it really is too bad because most of the people I know genuinely want to help people, many pledge pro bono hours, etc. The old man sitting next to her heard none of this. As soon as I was done speaking he launched into a diatribe about how lawyers contribute nothing to the gross national product and only succeed in moving money sideways; even doctors, he said, actually help people even if they charge too much.

I didn’t tell him he was welcome to pay off my $100K+ in student loans (and if he did, then I wouldn’t have to work as a despised lawyer), that if he was sued he would probably want good representation by a well-educated lawyer, and that it’s okay to charge people a fair amount for that good representation. I didn’t say anything because the old man couldn’t hear me.

Sabbath Potluck: high-fat veggie food and mean conversation.


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