I now understand why people hate lawyers
Thursday, August 2, 2007 by Dave Winer.
I guess I'm lucky in a way. I made it this far without understanding why people curse the legal profession. Today I get it.
A few weeks ago I found myself in a room with a half-dozen lawyers, I was the only non-lawyer present, and guess who was paying for all those lawyers' time?
Did I ask for this? Did I get a service I actually wanted? I wanted out. They wouldn't let me out. Sorry Dave, the legal profession owns your ass. And if you want to fight it, we're going to take your house, your car and your bank account.
Lawyers are like the Mafia. You don't dare criticize them for fear they'll send you a subpoena and tie you up in court for the rest of your life and take everything you have.
When I talked with another lawyer about it, in a social context, she suggested I shouldn't seek revenge. That's how lawyers think. I wasn't seeking revenge (although inside I do admit I enjoy the fantasy of decapitating an imaginary lawyer). What I want to do is fix the system.
But I think it won't be fixed as long as lawyers are in charge.
I'll tell you this, if the tables were turned and I was one of six programmers in a room with a non-programmer, and one of them was shafting the non-programmer (maybe putting viruses on their network or stealing passwords), I'd ask the non-programmer to leave the room with the promise that we'd make sure the asshole programmer would stop the unethical behavior now.
Lawyers own us, all of us, and none of them care about the ethics of other lawyers. I say that in a deliberately challenging way, because I'm sure there are some lawyers who care about the lousy way their profession deals with the rest of us. If you're one of them, come forward, speak up, tell us what to do.
We need to reform the legal system in the US. But no reform will take place until it's possible to take a lawyer up on ethics charges without having to be represented by a lawyer.
But somehow I think blogs are the answer. If a lawyer sues you, sometimes just saying This Lawyer is Suing Me is enough to get them to think again. Most of them have to sell their services to someone, and one thing's for sure, there are a lot of lawyers to choose from. So I think if we arm ourselves with tools to evaluate them, if we practice the ethics they don't, and only hire ones who treat others fairly, we could put the worst ones out of business.
Some lawyer once said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Yeah, I believe that's true.