Why Do People Hate Lawyers?

I think this belongs in GD for obvious reasons.

There has to be some reason for all the jokes and negative feelings.

My take:

  1. Lawsuit: People are afraid they will be sued over some triviality (i.e. someone trips on your sidewalk and breaks their arm).

  2. Self-perpetuating profession: Lawmakers are (IIRC) mainly lawyers so they tend to pass laws that are favorable to there being more lawyers.

Disclaimer: I have professionally dealt with a total of two lawyers; neither interaction fit any type of negative stereotype.

What’s the old saying?

“People hate lawyers… until they need one.”

I think there is a perception that lawyers makes vast sums of money as parasites without producing any true value. particularly in civil law.

Oh, and from what I understand, people hate lawyers because they think it is the LAWYER that sues people and it is the LAWYER that dishes out “justice” in our society.

In fact, it is the lawyer’s CLIENT that brings the lawsuit, the COURT (judge or jury) that dishes out “justice” and awards damages, and the LEGISLATURE that writes many of the the laws that are percieved as kooky.

The lawyer’s job is to simply make an argument on behalf of the client. If the court agrees with the argument, which is most often rebutted by a lawer representing a client on the other side (a fact that is often forgotten), then the court, not the lawyer, renders a decision accordingly.

There seems to be a common misperception of what a lawyer actually does… a zealous advocate on behalf of someone else.

Some people think that profiting from someone else’s misfortune and then taking 60% of the settlement is not a good thing.

Other people think that lawyers are at the root of the “sue for any darn thing” problem in the US right now.

Here is a web site, the I Hate Lawyers Club, which will tell you all about why lawyers should be hated.

Disclaimer and opinion: I am not a lawyer. I do not hate lawyers. If there were no lawyers, I’d be out of a job.

Don’t doctors and wheelchair manufacturers profit from people’s misfortunes? Consultants?

There’s nothing wrong with making a living trying to help people solve legal or other problems.

I am a lawyer, and I hate a lot of lawyers. Truthfully, the job tends to attract a lot of hyper-competitive assholes. Not a majority, by any means, but seemingly a higher percentage than in many other lines of work. And one hyper-competitive ass-hole lawyer can really ruin a lot of peoples’ days.

I am going to be a lawyer, and right now I work for a firm that does mainly plaintiff’s law and works mainly on contingency fees.

We have to get evidence in order to survive motions for dismissal from the defendants, and that means that we have to hire doctors, engineers, psychologists, and so on. Even a fairly simple trial can cost our firm over $50,000 in expenses (some cost hundreds of thousands), and if we lose, it’s gone – just like that. But the main point is that most people don’t have that kind of money to pay up front to a lawyer. So getting rid of contingency fees entirely has the effect of precluding poor people from filing suit.

This isn’t saying that there aren’t some bad lawyers out there – man, there are some sleazy plaintiff’s lawyers. However, watch that wide brush; there are plenty of good ones too.

IMO lawyers can be a tool to mock justice. As stated before, if a lwayer makes a better arguement, no matter the guilt, then justice is another victim. I have heard it said before that justice and law do not necessarily coincide. And lawyers are the reason. Yet they wear the mantle of so called justice while they intentionaly make a mockery of it.

Death to all surgeons, firefighters, ambulance drivers, EMTs and nurses!!

Kindly point me to the part of the country where it is legal for a lawyer to take 60% of a settlement. I’ll move there tomorrow. :smiley:


P.S. AlaItalia - I read your disclaimer and the above is not directed at you.

Hey, SuaSponte, I don’t know if your “Location” is helping our cause here.


Sua, I can find you some lawyers who charge 50% contingency fees.

But, I won’t tell you where - I’m not telling that secret

A faulty argument. All of those professions produce a tangible benefit for the public. For the most part they are paid ordinary salary. Surgeons make large fees but that’s not the same as getting a huge windfall from convincing a jury to make a high award.

I’d like to know what jurisdiction permits 50% contingency fees, Robb.

Doesn’t working to assist in the just resolution of legal disputes benefit society?

Lawyers, like myslef, in business litigation, work on an hourly fee basis. The fee is not based upon the amount of an award. Is that better?

Yeah, but they don’t break their legs themselves. The misfortune I inferred from AlItalia’s post is getting sued.

I wholeheartedly agree with this statement, but I think the effects of hypercompetitive jerk lawyers are felt mostly by other lawyers and the jerk’s own family. Most of our direct interaction is with opposing counsel (although the effects of obnoxious actions are certainly felt by the adversary).

I think a lot of the lawyer hate has to do with resentment over the perceived power of lawyers. Lawyers are required for so many transactions in this society that it’s hard to do anything without feeling the effects of the legal system or without consulting a lawyer. Have a kid? You need an estate plan. See a lawyer. Buy property? Often (always?) there are lawyers involved. Get in a car accident with a jerk who makes noises about suing you? You’ll probably consult a lawyer. Getting divorced? Better call your lawyer.

Lawyers have their fingers in a lot of pies. Sooner or later, it starts to look like a conspiracy to most people. And some lawyers definitely are out to find new business for lawyers. (Although the thing about lawmakers just out to help lawyers–I don’t think you’d say that if you knew how many problems I’ve encountered in my short three months of practice that were caused by poorly written statutes.) But, as someone has already said, for the most part, clients (meaning the public at large) shares equal blame for the litigious nature of our society. They urge their lawyers to push the legal envelope, to “sue creatively,” to be aggressive. Is it any wonder that lawyers seek to please their clients? And that other clients then come forward and ask for the same “creativity” and aggressiveness?

From a personality perspective, I find most lawyers are anal-retentive types who always need to “win” in everyday interactions. They need to constantly compete with and compare themselves to others to validate their self-worth. Also, most of the lawyers I know are excessively materialistic, often for the sake of simply showing off to their peers. Some are out-and-out snobs who’ve lost touch with reality. I find most lawyers annoying and difficult to get close to, because they’re often working so hard to present an image that they forget that one of the most appealing traits a person can possess is the ability to admit that they’re fallible. Many female lawyers have serious problems with depression and anxiety, and many have eating disorders (far more than the general population, in my experience), which in my experience are either caused or exacerbated by the personality traits above. (Can’t speak for male lawyers, as I’m not really close to more than a couple.)

These are not pleasant people to be around on a daily basis. As a result, I think non-jerk lawyers and would-be lawyers are scared away from the profession, thus perpetuating the high percentage of jerkitude amongst lawyers. I know that this is a big reason I will not be working in private practice in five years.

Class action suits can sometimes produce that result (although I suppose the lawyer’s remuneration wouldn’t literally be a contingency fee.)

IANAL nor do I know any personally, nor have I ever needed one, so I can tell you that my ‘dislike’ of lawyers stems largely from anecdotal evidence and Law and Order episodes :D, so I’m happy to have these rumors dispelled. But lawyers make me afraid to do anything. My husband once held a man’s skull together after he fell off a motorcycle and it struck me that I wouldn’t want to get involved with something like that because if something went wrong, his family could sue me.

Also, it just strikes me as icky (That’s the technical term) that people would try their best to get criminals out of jail. Everyone should definitely get a fair trial and the like, but you always see stuff on The Practice or whathaveyou, where a lawyer gets a nun murderer out of prison on a warrant technicality. Seems…cold.

I’d like to think these things don’t really happen, but I just assume they do.

Unenlightened, ignorant bigotry, in my case. Before my enlightenment (thanks to Muffin, minty green, SuaSponte and others), I had the incorrect perception that all lawyers are/were “hypercompetitive assholes,” as shelbo so delicately puts it. Jonnie Cochran and fictional movies/TV shows did little to correct my perception.