DEWAHOLIC – You’re right – I am an attorney. Specifically, I’m an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Montana.
To clarify, I don’t mind explaining legal concepts to people. Heck, I really enjoy it, in fact. When people ask (general) legal questions on the Board, I enjoy trying to answer them if I have the time – it scratches my latent teaching itch. What I mind is explaining the same thing over and over and over again to people who not only do not understand it, but who do not want to understand it. The McDonald’s case has become the poster-case for bad law, and the irony is that it really isn’t that remarkable a case. There are a lot of ridiculous cases with outrageous recoveries out there that I would have trouble explaining, but that case isn’t one of them.
In my opinion, the only dumb question is the question that’s been asked nine times before already – by the same person. That’s what I object to.
And I have no problem with that. To me, it’s more like this:
PERSON A: Hey! You just hit that guy!
PERSON B: I know it looks that way, but we’re actually practicing a fight scene for a movie.
PERSON A: Hey, everyone! Check this out! Person B just hit that guy! Just smacked the heck out of him!
PERSON B: Excuse me – didn’t you hear me? I’ve explained why this isn’t in fact what it appears to be.
PERSON A: I can’t believe you’d just hit him like that.
PERSON C: Yeah, why’d you hit him, huh?
And so on.
There are no “little people” – everyone does something different with their lives and I just happen to know more about one particular (and, really, largely useless) area of information. That doesn’t make me better than anyone else. I don’t expect you to “figure out” legal problems on your own; I do wish people would not ignore explanations where they are given. Career change? No way. I absolutely love my job.
Good luck with your new job; try not to be too wary or defensive. Lawyers are just like everyone else – mostly nice people with a smattering of assholes mixed in. Remember that the job you do at the firm is as important as the job they do (though many of them would deny that), and do it with pride and to the best of your ability. The good people will respect you for it; the bad – well, don’t let the bastards get you down.