A Penguins Ponderings: Why Do People Hate Lawyers?

Why Do People Hate Lawyers?
This is a question I have asked on Twitter and in real life, because I can’t quite understand why people say they hate

Lawyers.  So why do people say they hate Lawyers?
Let us first recognise that ordinary people do not usually have any contact with a Lawyer or Barrister in real life unless they have need of their legal expertise.

From asking the question in real life, there seems to be a genuine venom used when people talk about Lawyers.

A lot of people I had spoken to had used the services of a Lawyer when having to deal with a very stressful divorce or when their children had been removed from them by Social Services for various reasons.

Their experience of the Legal System was at a time in their lives which was frightening and extremely stressful and usually involved Family Law cases in the Magistrates or County Courts.

A lot of people told me that their Lawyer seemed to be caring at the beginning of their situation, then aloof and distant as the case dragged on and they became frustrated at not being able to contact the Lawyer dealing with their case, or that their Lawyer gave them very little information or updates on any progress and even when their Lawyer did do this, they didn’t understand the Legal speak, or jargon that the Lawyer was using. They also complained about the cost of using a Lawyer when they were not entitled to Legal Aid.

There was also great animosity towards the Lawyers “on the other side”, especially in divorce cases.

How could this extreme animosity and hatred towards Lawyers have come about?

Is is because Lawyers do tend to distance themselves, in regard to their clients, during a case because of other pressures, which the client is not aware of.

Is it because the Legal process is slow and frustration sets in because ordinary people do not understand the Legal process and blame their Lawyer for being slow to act on their behalf in their cases.

Is it because Lawyers are seen as snobs by ordinary people due to the history of Lawyers being from the “Upper Class” in the past.

Is it because ordinary people are suffering emotional stress at the time and need a scapegoat to blame for their troubles and take it out on their Lawyer.

Is it because ordinary people perceive Lawyers to be rich and treat clients as second citizens, or could this also be because Lawyers are generally well-educated and intelligent and this “rubs people up the wrong way” especially if no one in their family has ever been to University.

Have they been given bad Legal advice or received an inadequate service from a Lawyer in the past and now mistrust all Lawyers.

Could it be because ordinary people have no understanding of the Legal Profession and see it as an alien world that they are afraid of and reject.

Or perhaps, it could be that some Lawyers do actually come across as aloof and uncaring because of a lack in their social skills.

It could also be that there are some really bad Lawyers out there giving the rest of the Legal Profession a really bad name.

What I think may be the problem:

I think the reason why people hate Lawyers as much as they do are all due to the above reasons and more.

Many ordinary people do not realise that a Lawyer has to deal with some awful and often horrifying information whilst dealing with such a variety of cases on a daily basis. Some cases may involve child abuse, others, may involve murder or serious assaults where severe harm has been inflicted on a person. Other cases may involve other sickening items of what one human being has inflicted upon the other, which is why I respect Barristers and Lawyers so much. Some of the information they receive must be horrendous and harrowing. With this in mind, a Lawyer must exercise some level of detachment from a case in order to be able to function for their clients interests and this is not understood by the general public.

Some Lawyers are really bad at dealing with people in general terms and fall back on what they know, i.e., legalese and not contacting their clients with updates on cases, (sometimes they really are too busy to pick up the telephone to enact a courtesy call to a client). This again, is woefully not understood by ordinary people who do not circulate in the Legal pond.

Lawyers are often perceived not to have a soul, because of this and are though of as heartless and remote from ordinary life, when quite the opposite is often true. Many Lawyers do a lot for charity or take on cases Pro Bono because they feel they can make a difference, and a lot of Lawyers are quite sociable outside the world of Law.

The instances of “bad Lawyers” spread through word of mouth in the ordinary world of the public and this then transforms into a sort of legend of pain and suffering for the unfortunate soul who had chance to have had dealings with them, thus tainting Lawyers in the public psyche and making them into a kind of Boogeyman.
It could also be that some people feel very ashamed and embarrassed at getting into a situation that they do not have the knowledge and experience to deal with themselves and have to pay a Lawyer to act on their behalf making them hostile to Lawyers before they even contact one.

All of these things may be why ordinary people seem to hate Lawyers with such venom and I understand why ordinary people come to the conclusions about Lawyers that they do.

However, what I still do not understand is how some Lawyers can also hate other Lawyers.
I myself have a very high regard and respect of both Lawyers and Barristers having met with them either in the requirement of their legal expertise to get me out of a pickle, or interacting with them in the social arena away from Law.

Lawyers are after all, human…aren’t they?
If I am right or wrong, I would be happy to engage in a cordial debate and to discuss what others opinions are on the question, why do people hate Lawyers?

So why do people hate Lawyers?


About miriamsaid

I meddle in everything and I sprout ponds of awesomness. I throw pebbles in ponds and make ripples. I am eclectic and surreal with a bit of randomness thrown in for good measure. I giggle a lot.
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6 Responses to A Penguins Ponderings: Why Do People Hate Lawyers?

  1. Bill says:

    Lawyers are a-holes – 80% of them……here is some pondering of why the suck so much:

    42 Reasons Why I Hate Lawyers
    by Jim Olsztynski

    Wait’ll you hear about the lawyer who billed a client for
    the time spent having sex together!

    1) Because University of Texas finance professor Stephen
    Magee has calculated that each U.S. lawyer drains the economy
    of an average of $1 million a year in productivity.

    2) Because the U.S. harbored 748,028 creatures of the bar as
    of 1990, according to the American Bar Association.

    3) Because if Magee is right, those leeches now suck some
    three-quarters of a trillion dollars out of our economy annually.

    4) Because the emotional turmoil caused by all those lawyers
    is every bit as costly as the economic toll.

    5) Because the ABA expects there to be, ouch, a million lawyers
    by 2000.

    6) Because the U.S. had one lawyer for every 350 people, while in
    Japan it’s only one for every 9,000.

    7) Because most lawyers are very smart people who would have
    made superb teachers, engineers, craftsmen, etc., had they only
    decided to be productive members of society.

    8) Because there is no limit to the lies, deceit and character
    assassination that can be rationalized by a lawyer under the
    excuse of zealously representing a client’s interests.

    9) Because those are the best tactics to use when the client is
    a scumbag.

    10) Because it is possible to use plain English and still achieve
    the precision required for unambiguous laws. Lawyers torture our
    magnificent language merely to differentiate them from us.

    11) Because lawyers casually toss around Latin terms memorized
    by rote, but how many have ever learned to decline a Latin noun?

    12) Because the bar always lobbies to squash legal reforms.

    13) Because the bar always wins.

    14) Because when a lawyer achieves success, it usually means
    that someone else got shafted.

    15) Because most politicians come from the ranks of lawyers.

    16) Because lawyers bill by the house and they keep track of the time.

    17) Because lawyers appeal to our worst instincts.

    18) Because rampant litigation has given rise to de facto tyranny
    as people hesitate to speak their minds or engage in innocent activities
    that may leave them vulnerable to a lawsuit.

    19) Because the ACLU should take an interest in this but instead
    spends most of its time these days championing causes that are
    ridiculous or offensive.

    20) Because what reason is there not to file frivolous lawsuit if
    an attorney is willing to work on contingency?

    21) Because there are an estimated 6 million laws on the books
    in this country — yet only 10 Commandments.

    22) Because I’m from Chicago, home of the best justice money can buy.

    23) Because the “Operation Greylord” federal investigation of Chicago
    courts during the 1980s ended with bribery convictions of dozens of
    judges and lawyers.

    24) Because anyone familiar with Chicago courts knows that Greylord
    nailed only a fraction of the offenders.

    25) Because a lawyer in Illinois was found to have billed a divorce
    client for time spent having sex with her! (An Appellate Court made
    him refund that part of the fee.)

    26) Because that same lawyer as later appointed to the Illinois
    Supreme Court’s Committee on Character and Fitness!!

    27) Because the Client’s Security Fund, set up by the Illinois and
    Chicago bar associations to provide up to $10,000 in compensation
    to people defrauded by their lawyers, went broke from paying out

    28) Because lawyers react like vampires to a crucifix whenever it’s
    suggested their profession ought to be policed by outsiders.

    29) Because “psychic stress” is one of the hottest new grounds
    for litigation.

    30) Because these “victimization” gambits have turned us into a
    nation of whining neurotics.

    31) Because when New York’s CEO Club sponsored its
    “Honest Lawyer Contest” last year, no attorneys qualified.

    32) Because it was a serious contest.

    33) Because they extended the contest deadline from July 1
    to October 31, and still couldn’t find a winner!

    34) Because lawyer’s professional ethics say nothing about
    right and wrong, fairness and unfairness, justice and injustice
    — only about striving to win.

    35) Because as a result, the best lawyers get hired by the worst

    36) Because the legal profession regards such amorality as a
    lofty principle.

    37) Because lawyers are as responsible as anyone for the
    worker’s comp problems described on page 48.

    38) Because lawyers are responsible as anyone for our nation’s
    economic problems.

    39) Because malpractice is at least as common in law as in
    medicine but far fewer perpetrators ever get called to account.

    40) Because I’m sick of seeing vanity license plates with some
    variation of LWYR or ATTRNY or CNSLR.

    41) Because it takes monumental gall to brag about it.

    42) Because I feel guilty about a youthful indiscretion that had
    me considering law school after I scored in the 90th percentile
    on the LSAT. In the end I decided to earn an honest living.

    Do not think for a moment that I have run out of reasons.
    I merely ran out of room.


    • miriamsaid says:

      Thank you for your comment Bill, however, I note that you do not list your personal experiences with Lawyers and most of your comment seems to regard what you may have read or is heresay.

      I would like to hear about your personal experiences of Lawyers and the Law and whether you actually know any Lawyers in a personal capacity.

      As in any profession there are good and bad and it’s usually the bad ones that get all of the press. Lets try and look at the good guys who do amazing Legal things, like getting innocent people off of Death Row.

  2. Veloci Vizzuti says:

    I know Someone who has said it so well that no one can top Him. Read His view on lawyers in Luke 11:46-52 . This can be considered a diatribe.

    • Barry Fazekas says:

      When Jesus was referring to experts in the law, he was referring to the pharisees and sadusees in the Gospels who were experts of the Old Testement law; the law contained in Leveticus, Deuteronomy and the rest of the law books. He was talking about how they used these books to shame people instead of helping them. He’s talking about the people who point to one verse in Leveticus and base their whole life off of it, an example could be the people who are so indignalt about homosexuality and referred to the Old Testement law or the ones who pointed to a verse in Leviticus to “justify” slavery. He warned these people that it is more important to help people than to shame them with the law.

      See, this is the type of stuff lawyers do. Read the laws, contracts and even passages and interperet them instead of taking what people hear about it. They’re not evil people, they’re just good at reading and interpereting the law. Above all, an attorney’s job is to give people legal counsel and to represent them in court. They do this because they want to be payed to help someone and they can help them by using their skill with the law.

  3. Xyila says:

    And because to hire a lawyer is to declare oneself incompetent to handle one’s own affairs.
    For this very reason, common law exists to protect us from those who sue the law to predate on others.
    usacommon law.com

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