Today is the national holiday, Love Your Lawyer Day! Created by attorney Nader Anise in 2003 to address and erase the negative stigma surrounding lawyers, the holiday recognizes and thanks lawyers for all of the good work they do on a daily basis. In celebration of Love Your Lawyer Day, this article will debunk common myths about lawyers.
- All Lawyers Do is Argue
Lawyers do far more than just argue in the courtroom. In fact, only about 5% of cases in the United States make it to trial. Lawyers spend a bulk of their time behind the scenes, building their client’s case. Typical tasks for a lawyer include interviewing and deposing witnesses, reading and researching relevant law, and writing.
- Lawyers are Unnecessary Evils
The line “let’s kill all the lawyers,” is one of the most misinterpreted lines in literature. The line comes from the Shakespeare Play Henry VI, Part II. Dick the Butcher utters this to one of the townspeople, because he wants to stage an uprising and become king. As the Butcher sees it, the only way to overthrow a kingdom is to remove all of the lawmakers that stand in the Butcher’s way, because lawmakers are the keepers of peace and order in a stable society. So, despite all of the negative press surrounding lawyers, lawyers do actually serve an important purpose in society.
A lawyer’s job is to protect his or her client’s rights. A lawyer does this by helping the client navigate the legal labyrinth that is the United States justice system. Cases are often complicated and emotional. Lawyers are necessary to society, because a lawyer provides the objectivity and proper perspective to solve problems and resolve cases. Lawyers also have access to the skills, resources, and knowledge to effectively advocate on their client’s behalf, and obtain the results that the client wants.
- Hiring a Lawyer is Expensive
Lawyers protect rights, regardless of how much money you make. There are many types of legal services and aid available to people of low income. Attorneys are also encouraged by their state bar association to take on pro bono cases, where the lawyer handles the case for free.
Legal fees are largely dependent on the type of case and the resources available to the client. Attorneys offer different types of fees; some charge an hourly rate, some charge a flat fee, and others work on a contingency fee basis. In a contingency fee arrangement, the client only pays the lawyer if the lawyer wins the case.
- Lawyers File Frivolous Lawsuits
Lawyers try to avoid filing unnecessary lawsuits. First, the rules of ethics that lawyers are required to follow discourage this behavior. Second, the courts will sanction attorneys for filing frivolous lawsuits, as it is a waste of the court’s time and judicial resources. Third, it’s a waste of time and resources for the lawyer to pursue a case that is a ridiculous lawsuit. Fourth, lawyers are protective of their reputations. Lawyers work hard to have the privilege of joining the legal profession. The last thing a lawyer wants to do is throw away their success and reputation with the Court, their clients, and their colleagues by filing a “frivolous” suit.
An infamous example of a suit that was considered by the general public and the media to be “frivolous” is the McDonald’s Coffee Case. For more information about why this suit is mistakenly viewed as “frivolous,” check out my companion article: “The McDonald’s Coffee Case: Fact v. Fiction,” by following this link: https://www.grahammauerlaw.com/the-mcdonalds-coffee-case-fact-v-fiction/
If you see a lawyer today, be sure to thank them for the hard work they do!