Friday, August 28, 2009

In Defense of Lawyers

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."
William Shakespeare, Henry VI, (Act IV. Scene II.)

So we have a bad reputation. We've heard the jokes, we've seen the shameless DUI defense billboards, we watched as OJ was found not guilty, and we've personally witnessed various other miscarriages of justice orchestrated at our hands. We get it. We deserve it. We're sorry.

Recently, however, I have been reminded why I am more than willing to take up the flag for lawyers. I like lawyers. Lawyers, as it turns out, are some of my favorite people. (That's not to say I don't have favorite people who aren't lawyers, of course . . .) As a general matter, we're funny. We are. You can't endure the circus that is law school, complete with the socratic method, existing and still applicable legal principles from the time of the covered wagon, and the mania that is class rank and law review, without at least a modicum of humor. Not to mention what you have to do to get through the billable hour and, in the case of women, the still testosterone laden practice, and the deadlines . . .oh the deadlines. I recently attended a small all-women, all-attorney party where the banter was faster than Usain Bolt, and (she says proudly) baser than any bachelor party. Love those lady lawyers. . .

And we're not just a funny bunch. Several weeks ago someone dear to me was in need of an attorney--and for something serious, and not of their own making. I wrote a few e-mails, made a few calls, and within minutes had helpful responses from, if you can imagine, several busy lawyers. So, you see, we're useful. Sure, kind of like flashlight useful or baking powder useful--you never think twice about us, but if you need us, you really need us--but useful nonetheless.

Then, of course, there's my writing partner Laura, without whom this blog, The Pecking Order, Done Fell Out, my razor thin margin of sanity, my love for Chico chai would not exist - and what kind of life would that be?

So as I sit looking into the future, after 18 months of voluntary unemployment, and see the practice of law on the very near horizon, all I can say is, put down the Shakespeare and bring on the jokes. I promise we'll laugh.