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trust me
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 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.
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