It’s O.K. to hate lawyers. I know, you didn’t need permission. But how often does your lawyer give you free rein to go ahead and hate the entire profession.
My lawyer-reason won’t be the same as your non-lawyer reasons, of course.
People hate lawyers because they represent the interests of people and corporations without really caring who they are, what they did, what harm they caused, or, how culpable they are.
Those aren’t my reasons because that’s what we lawyers do. You don’t complain about the surgeon saving the life of the sociopath, the thief, the drunkard or, someone like, say, Lance Armstrong.
We’re not a public service but we might as well be. Everyone is entitled to legal representation in pretty much the same way everyone is entitled to health care.
Here’s why this lawyer says it’s OK to hate lawyers.
It’s OK to hate lawyers because the top of the profession – which wields true economic and political power – continues to run its operations as a old boy’s club, making it less diverse than the GOP.
As I’ve written before, cronyism runs law firms. And because cronyism – you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours – duplicates itself in gender and color, the power in BigLaw is concentrated in the hands of a few white men.
This has long been the greatest obstacle to the rise of women and people of color to positions of leadership in this profession.
To engage in a little Schadenfreude, cronyism is also the reason Big Law firms are falling like termite infested redwoods.
In a searing critique of law firm “management,” the Harvard Business Review has this to say about the profession’s resistance to running their businesses like … businesses.
The half [of law firms] open to the idea that [they]needed a [business] strategy [were] completely opposed to having anything other than a consensus-built, senior partner-friendly mechanism for making strategic choices, which almost by definition is doomed to fail. Tough decisions such as which clients to serve and which not; which partners are creating value and which are not; and where to focus in terms of practice expertise and geography are nearly impossible to make by committee.
Why does this make it OK to hate lawyers? Because the biggest and most powerful of them, influencing the top of business and politics and serving the interests of the one percent, are blissfully ignorant of and often hostile to more than half the population of the United States.
And that’s a problem for the rest of us.
by Victoria Pynchon