Lawyers or Philosophers

Quite a few of the blogs I read on a daily basis are written by lawyers (or lawyers to be). Fistful of Fortnights, Feisty Repartee, the Llama Butchers, Oddybobo, and Random Pensees spring to mind (there's that Glenn guy too). I've wondered why so many lawyers also blog. If there was a common theme to their blogs it would be an easily answered question, however all the blogs above are as unique as the author.

From there my schitzo mind started to wonder why people dislike lawyers so much. Rarely do you find someone that doesn't appreciate a lawyer joke among my favorites:

The devil visited a lawyer's office and made him an offer. "I can arrange some things for you, " the devil said. "I'll increase your income five-fold. Your partners will love you; your clients will respect you; you'll have four months of vacation each year and live to be a hundred. All I require in return is that your wife's soul, your children's souls, and their children's souls rot in hell for eternity."

The lawyer thought for a moment. "What's the catch?" he asked.

There's also the saying:
The trouble with the legal profession is that 98% of its members give the rest a bad name.
However if you spend much time reading the blogs above you'll soon realize the jokes above don't really apply to the bloggers mentioned. Those bloggers are all extremely devoted to their families and with the exception of one of them they're all respectable members of society (I'm not gonna name any names that would just be mean).

Then I realized the reason people like to pick on lawyers is because people with MBA's aren't in one particular field. After spending two and a half years in graduate school getting my MBA I realized that a majority of them would make the most dishonest, money grubbing, slimy lawyer look like Mother Theresa. Seriously folks most of the MBA's I know would push their own mother down a flight of stairs if it meant a promotion.

My mind rambled a bit and I started to realize that much of the distain we have for lawyers comes from us having to admit we need help. In general I've found that most people hate to ask for help; especially to resolve a situation we've screwed up. Personal observations have lead me to believe that once we've shit the bed we're typically not happy until we've also to flung poo into the ceiling fan trying to take care of the problem ourselves. We'll finally quit when we're neck deep in our own crap with no way out and we call somebody else to clean up it up. It's that moment of being helpless, when we realize that we can't solve the problem and we've made it worse, that causes us to loath lawyers.

Thinking back to the philosophy and law courses I had in college I started to realize the main difference between the philosophers of yesteryear and lawyers is the spelling. I'm sure there were chariot chasers in Ancient Rome, who must have been considered the scourge of the philosophy profession as ambulance chasers are at the bottom of the law profession. There are also great lawyers that help to improve our daily lives through interpretation of the constitution (granted the Supremes screwed up earlier this week); however they tend to get it right most of the time. I know I wouldn't want to be the one making decisions setting legal precedent with ramifications for centuries to come.

I wondered if Socrates knew he would be quoted for centuries and if he knew he would be so influential even in today's teaching methods. Then I started thinking about philosophers and philosophy in general and I thought about Mel Brooks playing the roll of a standup philosopher in History of the World Part I.

Dole Office Clerk: Occupation?
Comicus: Stand up philosopher.
Dole Office Clerk: What?
Comicus: Stand up philosopher. I coalesce the vapors of human existence into a viable and meaningful comprehension.
Dole Office Clerk: Oh, a BULLSHIT artist!

And I realized philosophers and lawyers are pretty much the same profession separated by a couple of hundred years.

Posted by phineas g. at 12:10 PM on June 24, 2005

I definitely think you are on to something. I have long thought people are uncomfortable with attorneys because they feel a certain "lack of control" in their lives, particularly in family law cases (although, I see the parallel in criminal cases) because a judge (or jury as the case may be) controls one's fate.

It's much easier for people to blame someone else (their attorneys) for an outcome they are unhappy with than their own actions for getting them there in the first place.

Astute observations, my friend.

Posted by: Christina at June 24, 2005 02:39 PM

The Socratic Method bites the big one. Nuff said.

Posted by: sadie at June 25, 2005 02:50 AM

I have to disagree. I've been sued for reasons that I had nothing to do with, to the point that the other side's expert witnesses said I had nothing to do with. Yeah, they eventually dropped my part, but not after much effort and anxiety on my part. I think we're overlawyered, and lawyers have to go out trolling to find cases to make ends meet.

Lawyers make good bloggers [IMO] because they're taught to argue, they read and write a lot, and they will often have an opinion on a political issue. [and maybe other reasons].

MBAs may be evil. Philosophers may even be evil. There are lawyers who are good. But I don't think the legal profession itself is a net good for us right now.

Posted by: owlish at June 25, 2005 06:37 PM

I don't know if this is a good thing or bad thing...but most of those people...I never knew they were lawyers. And I DO read them.

Posted by: Sissy at June 25, 2005 09:27 PM

My father is a lawyer, and even he thinks there are too many lawyers, and too many unscrupulous ones.

Most of the lawyers I know personally are pretty good people though. However, they do seem to like to argue just for the sake of arguing, especially the trial lawyers :-)

Posted by: Pluto's Dad at June 27, 2005 10:30 AM

Yep, too many lawyers. But the evil lawyer thing, I think I know where it started it started when the first lawyer made partner or shareholder. They got a brick on their shoulder and started throwing it at lowly associates to ease their conscience a bit. Partners and Shareholders, for the most part, though there are exceptions, get this aura about them that oozes arrogance. That's just my take.

Thank you for the honorable mention my fine fishy friend!

Posted by: Oddybobo at June 27, 2005 11:08 AM