It is the lawyers who run our civilization for us -- our governments, our business, our private lives. Most legislators are lawyers; they make our laws. Most presidents, governors, commissioners, along with their advisers and brain-trusters are lawyers; they administer our laws. All the judges are lawyers; they interpret and enforce our laws. There is no separation of powers where the lawyers are concerned. There is only a concentration of all government power -- in the lawyers.
Most lawyers aren't trial lawyers. Most lawyers, even trial lawyers, don't get their problems solved in a courtroom. We like to go to court. It seems heroic to go to court. We think we're the new, great advocates, better than anything we've seen on TV, and we come home exhilarated by having gone to court.
The ethical practices of lawyers are probably no worse than those of other professions. Lawyers bring some of the trouble on by claiming in a sanctimonious way that they are interested only in justice, not power or wealth. They also suffer guilt by association. Their clients are often people in trouble. Saints need no lawyers: gangsters do.
Lawrence M. Friedman
The Lawyers' trade is a trade built entirely on words. And so long as the lawyers carefully keep to themselves the key to what those words mean, the only way the average man can find out what is going on is to become a lawyer, or at least to study law, himself. All of which makes it very nice -- and very secure -- for the lawyers.
Lawyers have a way of seeing that sets them apart from the rest of us. In some way this special vision makes them invaluable, and in other ways, repulsive. Lawyers are much more focused on rational, logical, and objective criteria to the exclusion of the emotional, subjective, and sometimes irrational reponses to the world. Moreover, lawyers like to show no emotion, and possess a particular disdain for the emotions that are found in others, which has the quality of making them seem inhuman.
With Congress and the S.E.C. so heavily peopled by lawyers, and with lawyers having been so heavily involved in drafting financial disclosure documents now seen as bogus, there was a new "lawyer" joke every week. One such was: "The butcher says 'the reputation of lawyers has fallen dramatically', and the check-out clerk replies: "How do you fall dramatically off a pancake?
The U.S. intelligence community is palsied by lawyers. When we were going to capture Osama bin Laden, for example, the lawyers were more concerned with bin Laden's safety and his comfort than they were with the officers charged with capturing him. We had to build an ergonomically designed chair to put him in, special comfort in terms of how he was shackled into the chair. They even worried about what kind of tape to gag him with so it wouldn't irritate his beard. The lawyers are the bane of the intelligence community.
Lawyers often face intense demands but have relatively little 'decision latitude.' Behavioral scientists use this term to describe the choices, and perceived choices, a person has. In a sense, it's another way of describing autonomy-and lawyers are glum and cranky because they don't have much of it.
Daniel H. Pink
The billable hours is a classic case of restricted autonomy. I mean, you're working on - I mean, sometimes on these six-minute increments. So you're not focused on doing a good job. You're focused on hitting your numbers. It's one reason why lawyers typically are so unhappy. And I want a world of happy lawyers.
Daniel H. Pink
One vote, one act or one person can change the course of history. I also thought of the lawyers who daily and tirelessly labor in the vineyards of justice - men and women who represent their clients with integrity, ethics and professionalism, and who think nothing of it as that is what lawyers do. Yet, often these individuals are the very people who change the world.
Lawyers have their duties as citizens, but they also have special duties as lawyers. Their obligations go far deeper than earning a living as specialists in corporation or tax law. They have a continuing responsibility to uphold the fundamental principles of justice from which the law cannot depart.
There is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague, because when we consider to what extent confidence and honors are reposed in and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears improbable that their impression of dishonesty is very distinct and vivid. Yet the impression is common, almost universal.
The lawyers' contribution to the civilizing of humanity is evidenced in the capacity of lawyers to argue furiously in the courtroom, then sit down as friends over a drink or dinner. This habit is often interpreted by the layman as a mark of their ultimate corruption. In my opinion, it is their greatest moral achievement: It is a characteristic of humane tolerance that is most desperately needed at the present time.
America with 4% of the world's population has 50% of the worlds lawyers .... tort lawyers love to point out that 1% of America's health care cost is used to pay malpractice insurance ... but most doctors practice defensive medicine to avoid malpractice litigation ... these costs are not included in the 1% number above.
Educating Lawyers succeeds admirably in describing the educational programs at virtually every American law school. The call for the integration of the three apprenticeships seems to me exactly what is needed to make legal education more professional, to prepare law students better for the practice of law, and to address societal expectations of lawyers.
I don't know who the great lawyers are, and I presume you can't get to them. I know of no case where it can be said for certain that they took part. They defend some people, but you can't get them to do that through your own efforts, they only defend the ones they want to defend. But I assume a case they take on must have progressed beyond the lower court. It's better not to think of them at all, otherwise you'll find the consultations with the other lawyers, their advice and their assistance, extremely disgusting and useless.
American government is not dominated by engineers, it is dominated by lawyers. Engineers are interested in substance and building things; lawyers are interested in process and rights and getting the ideology correctly blended. And so there is sort of no really concrete plan for the future.
The reason the lawyers lead the line to the guillotine or the firing squad is that, while law is supposed to be a device to serve society, a civilized way of helping the wheels go round without too much friction, it is pretty hard to find a group less concerned with serving society and more concerned with serving themselves than the lawyers.
Heaven knows insanity was disreputable enough, long ago; but now that the lawyers have got to cutting every gallows rope and picking every prison lock with it, it is become a sneaking villainy that ought to hang and keep on hanging its sudden possessors until evil-doers should conclude that the safest plan was to never claim to have it until they came by it legitimately. The very calibre of the people the lawyers most frequently try to save by the insanity subterfuge ought to laugh the plea out of the courts, one would think.
Some people are saying there's going to be a third World War. I hope not. I really think this is a time that people can start to mend things by negotiations, dealings. We know about dealings, don't we? We have brilliant lawyers. Why don't we have brilliant lawyers standing up and working for peace?
Over the past few years, the Supreme Court was six times more likely to accept cases from an elite group of 66 lawyers than it was from more than 99 percent of those who petitioned the court. That's the finding of a recent Reuters special report called "The Echo Chamber." It illustrates how almost half the appeals accepted by the court over a nine-year period came from this cadre of elite lawyers--many of whom have personal connections to the nine justices.
I've tried really hard to care about things that were very different from my parents. I was curious if I could care about [money] on some fundamental level, and I couldn't. That wasn't the metric of success I wanted in my life. I've talked about this to my friends who are doctors and whose parents are doctors, or who are lawyers and their parents are lawyers. It's a funny thing to realize I feel called to this work both as a daughter and also as someone who believes I have contributions to make.
We have the heaviest concentration of lawyers on Earth -- one for every five-hundred Americans; three times as many as are in England, four times as many as are in West Germany, twenty-one times as many as there are in Japan. We have more litigation, but I am not sure that we have more justice. No resources of talent and training in our own society, even including the medical care, is more wastefully or unfairly distributed than legal skills. Ninety percent of our lawyers serve 10 percent of our people. We are over-lawyered and under-represented.
Lawyers, before any other group, must continue to point out how the system is really working-how it actually affects real people. They must constantly demonstrate to courts and legislatures alike the tragic results of legal nonintervention. They must highlight how legal doctrines no longer bear any relation to reality, whether in landlord and tenant law, holder in due course law, or any other law. In sum, lawyers must bring real morality into the legal consciousness
William J. Brennan
I've heard that lawyers' children, on seeing their parents in court in the heat of argument, get the wrong idea: they think opposing counsel to be the personal enemies of their parents, they suffer agonies, and are surprised to see them often go out arm-in-arm with their tormenters during the first recess. This was not true of Jem and me. We acquired no traumas from watching our father win or lose. I'm sorry that I can't provide any drama in this respect; if I did, it would not be true. We could tell, however, when debate became more acrimonious than professional, but this was from watching lawyers other than our father. I never heard Atticus raise his voice in my life, except to a deaf witness.
The lawyers have escaped most criticism [and undeservedly so]. The tax shelters [were approved by lawyers, who got paid huge commissions to do so] and every miscreant had a high-falutin' lawyer at his side. Why don't more law firms vote with their feet and not take clients who have signs on them that say, "I'm a skunk and will be hard to handle?" I've noticed that firms that avoid trouble over long periods of time have an institutional process that tunes bad clients out. Boy, if I were running a law firm, I'd want a system like that because a lot of firms have a lot of bad clients.