8 08 2008

In my short lifetime, I’ve met at least 50 lawyers. In total, I’ve liked exactly one of them: my sister in law. She’s extremely successful at it and has a work ethic that could only come with the laser-beam focus that seems to be innate in most asian people (she’s Korean) – but best of all, she doesn’t throw the fact that she’s an attorney in your face. In fact, if you didn’t think to ask, you would never know she was a lawyer. She never talks about it, never finds a way to bring it up ‘accidentally’ in conversation, and doesn’t throw shit like ‘J.D. or Esq.’ at the end of her name in emails.

This is the way all lawyers should be. In fact, this is the way most people with any amount of education should be. I once met an asshole who graduated from UMD’s business school and had the nerve to add ‘MBA’ to his name in his email signatures. I thought this was the worst thing I’d ever seen until I recently received an email from someone who had the nerve to attach ‘B.A.’ to their name. Motherfucking goddammit, unless you have a Ph.D, shut the fuck up about your goddamn academic/professional credentials.

Figure 1: Nobody cares. Get a job and shut the fuck up.

Pretty much all attorneys irk me unless they’re litigators, and the only reason I like litigators is because without them there would be no Law & Order. For those who don’t know, an attorneys are ‘people’ who spend their undergraduate careers not knowing what the fuck they want to do with their lives, so they wind up majoring in something like English, Economics, or Political Science. They graduate completely unemployable, and decide to go to law school to figure themselves out. Next, they spend three years becoming intimately familiar with the tedium of American law, taking internships at law firms that exhibit blatant displays of evil from overbilling to sexual harassment to marital infidelity (this is a favorite pastime among partners), and becoming functioning alcoholics.

Figure 2: Is your husband a lawyer? 80% odds are that he is in this picture, and you are not.

If you have a soul, you drop out of law school and wind up doing social work or joining Greenpeace. If you do not have a soul, you complete your studies and try to pass the bar. Once you pass the bar, you parade your attorney status around like a raving jackass while people who pass their medical boards to save lives get didley fucking squat. For the next 30+ years of their professional careers, 9 out of ten 10 attorneys charge $300+ per hour to file and manage insanely complicated paperwork for people that actually make an impact on the world. Fucking awesome.

The most frustrating thing about attorneys, however, isn’t their insane rates given the fact that most of what they could do could be fairly easily replaced by a robot with a DFA algorithm. Rather, it’s the level of prestige associated with being an attorney that makes absolutely no fucking sense.

Excluding the stratospheric income of some attorneys which naturally breeds kissassery from those with lower incomes, is there any true MERIT BASED justification for this prestige? There are some attorneys who have genuinely make the world a better place. Prosecutors take crooks of the streets, and defense attorneys make sure innocent people don’t get railroaded.

Figure 3: Correction – there are TWO attorneys that I like

ACLU lawyers defend the constitution (or some shit), and environmental lawyers at least pretend to try to keep nuclear waste dumps from getting put on Indian reservations. Aside from these people (who constitute a tiny minority)…lawyers are just people who have everyone by the balls by virtue of the complicated insanity of American law. They don’t save lives. They don’t build anything. They sure as hell don’t make the world a better place.

In fact, the main reason lawyers exist is to protect people from other lawyers.

Imagine that. A profession built upon getting clients to pay you to protect them from members of your own peer group. The legal profession effectively boils down to this:

1.) You and a friend each buy a machine gun
2.) You tell your friend to threaten a rich guy on the street “Gimme $10,000 or I’ll blow your head off”
3.) You then approach the rich guy and say “If you give me $500, I’ll blow his head off if he tries to kill you.”

I suppose it’s no wonder that law in the #1 gateway into the cesspool of politics. At least the world makes sense sometimes.

Figure 4: Laywer. Seriously.