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here for a reason. 
12th-Mar-2008 09:40 pm
GL - Nia - I want to see the world anew
Dear World,

Though it's hard sometimes, I love my job. I love that I can do what I can do, and I love that I'm learning more so I can do more. I love that sometimes in the middle of what I'm doing I think, Yes, this is where I'm supposed to be, and there are those priceless moments in which I think,
I am here in this world for a reason, and this is my reason.

And hey, I get that not everybody loves this job, and I sure get that a whole lot of people don't love the people who do this job. I get that from my own family often enough, from the relatives who tell me, Go corporate, that's where the money is, from my brother, whom I love dearly, but who thinks lawyers are scum and won't hold back that opinion even from me, from my uncle, who backed away when he heard that I'd be qualifying soon - and even though some of it is in jest, I can't say I'm completely unaffected.

But it's not going to stop me.

I get that most people's experience with lawyers haven't generally been the sort that leave favourable impressions. Hey, I get that most people's experience with lawyers are pretty darn godawful never-to-be-repeated I'll-never-touch-a-lawyer-with-a-ten-foot-pole experiences.

My first experience with the legal profession was an experience like that, after all.

It left such a deep impression on me that it was the biggest unspoken reason I became a lawyer. It's the one I rarely ever talk about. But I know how awful it is to be on the other end of a nasty situation (and I'm not even going to say nasty lawyer, because the situation is sometimes bad enough that whether the lawyer's good or bad makes no difference).

And I'll never forget what it feels like. There's so much fear, anger, and frustration when you or someone you know is on the recieving end of the law or a nasty lawyer. But it doesn't take away the good that lawyers can do, and are doing, in the world. We're not perfect. Nobody is. There sure are a lot of lawyers out there who could be doing a lot better. There sure are a lot of lawyers out there who shouldn't be lawyers at all. But there are lawyers out there who are making life easier for their clients and for the people who can't afford lawyers, by volunteering and just doing their best. And I think that that shouldn't be forgotten.

I've always thought that the problem with the world was that you never heard enough about the lawyers who were doing good in the world. Most of what everybody hears and remembers are, Guess which lawyer ran off with what spectacular sum of money? Guess what they're suing for? Guess who's helping them sue for it?

You want jokes about why hell's got all the lawyers? I've heard all of them.

And I know I'm going to develop a much more robust attitude towards this, but I'm still new to this, and every time I hear of someone who's had a bad experience with a lawyer, however near or far away to my life it is, I can't help but think I'm sorry. I'm so sorry that that happened to you. And I wish you'd met someone else who could've showed you that lawyers aren't all like that, and that it doesn't have to be that way. Just like the way I'm disgusted for hours and outraged on some indefinable level for longer than I should be whenever I read about a misbehaving lawyer in the papers, as I think, This is why people hate us!

But, you know what? There are good people in this profession, too. People who don't forget that it isn't all about the money. There are so many ways in this profession to make a good difference in this world. Sure, we have our share of total bastards. But so does every profession. We have people who make lawyers ashamed to be lawyers.

But we're not all like that.

You can be a lawyer and a good person. I've met people like that: lawyers who are kind, gentle, and completely wonderful people, people who made me think, I want to grow up to be like you. Lawyers who are kind to those whom they work with and to those who they're up against. Lawyers who have shown me that even in the most heated legal battles that there is room for courtesy, and there is room to respect everyone you're dealing with.

And God help me, I'm going to grow up to be like that.
And I'm going to do everything I can to not become the sort of lawyer I'd be ashamed of sharing a profession with.
12th-Mar-2008 02:31 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I guess it's the bad things that people remember. Sad.
It's great that I got to know you, or I don't know what you guys feel doing your job and all. (Great that you do what you love and love what you do, BTW. :) )

Not too sure about the lawyers in hell jokes. Never heard of them. :|

Somehow I find it hard to imagine a person still being able to be courteous to people you have been fighting against all day.
Or maybe it's like chess when you "fight" against you opponent for an hour or so. :/

It's cool to have a job where you can do some good in the world.
12th-Mar-2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
A whole bunch of lawyers-in-hell jokes. Here's (a variation on) the most recent one I heard:

It seems that there's a fence between Heaven and Hell, which is cared for in alternate aeons by the two sides. It has fallen into disrepair.

St. Peter seeks out Lucifer. "Hey Lou, it's your turn to fix the fence. The Boss says it looks awful. Get it done."

"I don't care how it looks," says Lucifer. "I'm not doing anything."

"You have to," says St. Peter. "It's your official obligation. We have a contract to that effect. You're committed."

"I don't give a fig for any contract," says Lucifer, "as you should know by now, I don't care what it says -- I'm not going to do anything."

"You have to," insists St. Peter. The law is the law. If you force us to, we'll have to sue you."

"Sue me?" cries Lucifer, breaking into that famous nasty laugh, "Where are YOU gonna get a lawyer?"
12th-Mar-2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
Somehow I find it hard to imagine a person still being able to be courteous to people you have been fighting against all day.
I've seen it done. Um! Maybe it runs counter to conventional wisdom, but if the other side is able to take a step back and remember that it's not personal, it's kind of nice being able to be courteous to the person you've been fighting all day. Just remember that when you leave the courtroom you leave the fight in there.

Not all lawyers do this or can do this, though, so you treasure the ones who can all the more.

I don't know what chess is like, but maybe it's the same?

(Great that you do what you love and love what you do, BTW. :) )
XD! I must admit it's not always fun! In fact, sometimes it's downright frustrating, tiring, all that GOOD stuff. But I think those emotions are present in every job, and that everyone feels that way whether in work or school sometimes. It's not perfect, but sometimes it's pretty good.

Eh heh. It's definitely a job where you can do good in the world, but it's also a job where you can do a lot of damage in the world and to the people you're working with. But I think that's the nature of any job in which you work with people and have some measure of power over what happens and how you deal with people; and that sort of thing can be abused as easily as it can be used for good.

Thank you ♥
12th-Mar-2008 03:16 pm (UTC)

Not all lawyers do this or can do this, though, so you treasure the ones who can all the more.

Okay. Noted. :)

Oh! I have a question, after reading some of the jokes. Why do some lawyers fight for cases even when they know it is wrong? (Is it for money?)
Like, I dunno.. um.. saying that a killer is mentally unstable when he isn't so that the killer gets a lighter sentence?
12th-Mar-2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
But seriously! XD There are some lawyers who can be so petty and small-minded, and who forget the common courtesies like holding doors open for opposing counsel. I mean! I'm glad I got to see that type of lawyer, it showed me early on what I don't want to be.

And there are the lawyers who make more copies of the relevant documents before a hearing, and when the opposing counsel forgets, will give them to the opposing counsel, saying, "I knew you'd forget! So I made copies for you!"

It really makes me happy, seeing something like that.

Why do some lawyers fight for cases even when they know it is wrong? (Is it for money?)
I can assure you, many of the criminal cases that appear on the papers involve very little money. Sometimes the lawyer does the case pro bono - for free. The reason they do this is because they believe that every accused person deserves to have a good defence. That means every accused person. No matter how guilty he looks.

Also, because in this country, murder means death. If there is even the slightest chance that the person is innocent, or there is a case that it's manslaughter (a lesser degree of murder), then the argument must be made for his innocence.

Also, because the justice system is very very very heavily weighed in favour of the prosecution. The accused person gets very little protection at all. The police take all the statements and have all the evidence, and the defence lawyer must be given them. It's an uphill battle for defence lawyers, all the way.

It all comes down to the principle that everyone should be protected by the law. Even for a murderer, there are defences. Provocation, for example: perhaps the victim did something awful to him that made him do it. There have been cases where rape victims have killed their rapist: sure, you can say self-defense, but someone has to fight that case for that murderer. There can be a situation where someone is clearly guilty of murder, but the facts say that he shouldn't be punished for it. Life and the cases that come under the law aren't that simple. Say a battered wife, who's been abused for years by her husband, finally decides to kill him to end her pain. Say a murderer kills his victim in self-defense, to protect himself. Say was truly an accident.

Guilt and innocence aren't always black and white. And sometimes the facts aren't clear even to those involved in the situation. It's so easy to point the finger and place the blame. And that's where someone else has to step in and say, no, there's a chance that the person you think is guilty is innocent.
12th-Mar-2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
Ahahaha I actually made a post about this once: Because Sometimes They're Innocent. And I said:

To be true, it probably comes from the fact that when I was young and impressionable and didn't know I was going to go to law school yet, I read an article I remember to this day, entitled Why I Defend Guilty People, written by a lawyer far more eminent and practiced than I am, and the main reason behind it was, Because sometimes they're innocent. And sometimes they are. The problem is proving it, really, because the criminal justice system is so weighted against the offender, and while I understand why it should be that way: the system's there to protect the innocent, but it doesn't mean that due process should get thrown out of the window. I honestly do believe that people are innocent until they're proven guilty, although that may not be the way things seem to get done sometimes, and in practice the principle really is more along the lines of Guilty Until Proven Innocent, but still.

The point is, everyone is entitled to legal representation (and I'm not making a point for lawyers here for the money, because most of the public defenders don't take any money from the people they're defending, they're paid by the state because a lot of people who need it the most can't pay for legal representation, and the system has got to recognise that fact). And even though in this country it's been decided that while an accused has a right to legal representation, he doesn't have a right to be told that he has a right to legal representation (we don't read the Miranda here, guys, different jurisdiction), they're still entitled to legal representation. Everyone who comes before the court should be entitled to have someone who knows the law to speak their case for them, someone who knows the system, someone who can represent them and their interests, because the judicial system was made to be formal and this is scary to people who are already scared and thrown into a system they never wanted to be in trouble with. I'm not saying that they're not guilty, but that even if they are guilty, they should have someone to look out for them, to make sure their case is being handled right. Even if a lawyer can't prove a client innocent, legal representation can make a difference in sentencing, and maybe it doesn't seem so to the outside world, but even one month less in prison means something to the defendant.
13th-Mar-2008 10:12 am (UTC)
Thanks for explaining that. Whoa, it's great to have a friend to explain this kind of things. :D
So in an ideal case, it should be justice for all, right?
22nd-Mar-2008 03:28 pm (UTC) - (omg late)

*grin!* Glad to help! I'm always happy to be able to explain these things and that I can help someone with understanding something! ♥

Actually, the ideal is justice for all, but I've come to find that justice can be a very difficult thing. The reason there are two sides in every court case is that justice for one isn't always justice for the other, so the concept of justice for all isn't an easy thing at all. Justice can be a very harsh thing, sometimes. It makes one wonder: what is justice? Is it the right thing? Is it following the law? Is it what's best for everyone involved? They're not always the same thing, and it can get really complicated at times. And sometimes nobody is innocent, which makes finding one person to blame a difficult thing.
23rd-Mar-2008 12:29 am (UTC) - Re: (omg late)
Oops, I totally forgot about our conversation. :P
It's okay. :D

I see what you mean, but if nobody is innocent, it means that both parties are to blame, so does that mean that both of them have to serve a sentence (different ones from each other?)?

I'm sorry to trouble you with my never ending questions. 8|
It's just so interesting...

(sorry, another question)
Some time ago you said something about a Phoenix Wright case was conflict of interest, so I was wondering, since the lawyer cannot be helping his friend, could the lawyer be helping the other party? Or does both the lawyers have to be strangers to both parties? (Gah, sorry for my lack of appropriate terminology. DX)
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