For decades now a coalition of business interests have conducted a campaign to belittle the role of attorneys in our society. In fact, if you believe the common stereotype, lawyers are ruining the world.
I come across this attitude a lot when socializing, in the form of jokes or the occasional hostile comment. A lot of people adopt this attitude … until they need help, and that’s the point of this blog: trial attorneys are the anti-heroes of our society.
Maybe cast in a role as troublemakers, we are the ones who resolve conflicts before they spill over into violence or anarchy, oppression or repression. Without a civil justice system as a rampart, society would quickly degenerate into violent anarchy, and trial lawyers are the ones who walk those ramparts.
Without trial lawyers, the power of government would go unchecked into totalitarianism, corporations would be free to justify any behavior. Remember, it wasn’t a government agency or reporter who exposed the GM ignition danger. It was a trial attorney, doing what we do: fighting for clients, mining the truth, taking on the powerful. It might sound cliché, but it is true far, far more often than not.
I don’t consider myself a troublemaker, but I plead guilty to being an agitator. I consider it to be my duty to effect social change toward a more just society. It is my job to find and correct injustice. I don’t chase ambulances: I am the ambulance. Although I would rather have the public recognize my fellow trial lawyers as the heroes they are, it is enough for me to be a hero to my clients, and a thorn in the side of the powerful.