Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kill All the Lawyers!

        Shakespeare said it best in Henry VI (Part 2): “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” He may have had the right idea. Still, I need to find a lawyer for my eighty-six year old mom so she can get her affairs in order. The other day she reminded me that she was always interested in the law and tried to push me in that direction when I was a kid. By this she means she made me watch Perry Mason with her every afternoon. My mother talked through every scene, making me wish that, when the murderer stood up in the courtroom yelling, “I killed him! He deserved it and I’d do it again,” it would be Mom who was cuffed and hauled away. 
     I never became a lawyer, but I did fall in love with Della Street. It seemed to me that Della was the perfect woman. Day or night, she was forever doing whatever Perry asked. She was always happy to pour Perry’s coffee or bring him sandwiches, and she never looked frustrated at not having the slightest idea as to who the weekly murderer was.
     I’ve yet to find a lawyer like Perry Mason. The last one I visited used the word “technically” sixteen times in the hour I spent with him and charged me hundreds of dollars, thirty bucks for each “technically.” 
     In 1566 the brilliant Italian painter Arcimboldo depicted a lawyer in his painting “The Jurist.” Arcimboldo clearly  shares Shakespeare’s sentiments about lawyers. Notice the details making up the lawyer’s face. I believe that’s a plucked pigeon serving as the nose.    
   How appropriate.
     What are your experiences with lawyers? There must be good ones out there.  


  1. I was around lawyers my entire career. Many were good and some needed to go back under the rock from which they crawled out from under. A necessary evil, but the one's running the country need to be dealt with post haste.

    I love Perry Mason too.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  2. I am currently in law school, so I guess I hope that I am somewhat of a good one, but that is probably a falsely optimistic sentiment. At least I don't say literally that often, literally.

  3. Well, I should take this personally! But I don't. I'm a lawyer, and a good one (albeit an expensive one) but I am no fan of lawyers, at all. I find that many lawyers make things far more difficult than they have to be, and many more misunderstand how things REALLY work, making it more expensive than things have to be.

    What you need to look for in a lawyer is recommendations from other lawyers; never find a lawyer through a referral service or online. Ask someone you know if they know a lawyer and what they think of that person; then ask that lawyer for some information about his or her practice and/or who she/he might recommend for your area of law. Call a few lawyers -- if all of them point you in the same direction, that's probably right.

    Also: never ask a lawyer whether he or she wins his or her cases. That says nothing about the lawyer; when I see that a lawyer has 'never lost a case' I think to myself "How nice, that you are only choosing those unchallenging cases that are guaranteed to win." (Or: "He's lying.") Lawyers worth their money take on cases that are difficult, and difficult cases may not always be won.

    More importantly, "winning" isn't always "winning." You want a lawyer that gets you closer to your goal, not one who will "win" at trial.

    Anyway, I ramble. Nice post.

  4. Briane P, thanks for the great advice. I'll be sure to take your thoughts into consideration while looking for a lawyer.