All too often lawyers are lambasted, ridiculed and made the butt of malicious jokes.
"Trial lawyers" especially are targets for so-called "lawsuit abuse," and most
people never realize that insurance companies and large corporations are behind such
accusations to protect their own pocket books. Big billboards that claim to be
"citizens for tort reform" are often funded by big money interests through some
innocent sounding "foundation". There are bad eggs in all areas of life from
stockbrokers to preachers to business people. But let us not forget that the United
States Constitution was largely written by lawyers. To my knowledge, there is no
better form of government anywhere else on the planet. It is the pinnacle of human
Law has always been considered one of the three learned professions: law, medicine
and theology. Today, Certified Public Accountants, Registered Engineers, and
Architects could be added to that list.
Lately, the concept of a profession has been cheapened by people with a vocation
calling themselves professionals. "Professional window cleaners" may make your
windows sparkle, but they are not truly professionals in the primal sense of the
word. Dividing athletes into professional and amateur makes sense, as professional
football players who are paid can be distinguished from unpaid college football
To me, a real profession is marked by the requirement of an extensive, specialized
education, by an agreed language, by an established literature, by a code of ethics,
and by the grant of a license to practice that profession by the governing powers. A
minister of a church receives his "license" by ordination from the authority of a
church. True professionals are people under authority.
Professionals who violate their code of ethics by improper conduct will be stripped
of their licenses to practice their professions. Professions have been termed higher
callings, which impose a heavy duty on the practitioner. We read or hear of lawyers
who have been disbarred and of doctors who lost their medical licenses. Most
professionals strive to adhere to the ideal of those standards, standards of
competence as well as ethics.
To lawyers of "the old school," the law is a jealous mistress. A lawyer may devote
more time to his practice than to his family. This also means the client's interest
comes before the lawyer's interest. The client is due complete loyalty and zealous
representation. A conflict of interest is a no-no between a lawyer and his client.
A lawyer should see a client through his problems, even if the client runs out of
money. A lawyer has a duty to inform the client of any act of commission or omission
that might cause a loss to the client, even if the lawyer may open himself to a claim
of malpractice. Forgetting to timely file a suit for a client is an example. A
lawyer "of the old school" cares for the welfare of his client, and he treats his
client with respect, remembering that he is his client's counselor and advocate. In
other words, as an old school lawyer, I believe in following the Golden Rule.
Law is a noble calling, and I am proud to be a practitioner of it.
Attorney at Law