A Message for Lawyers...

I recently posted a blog about a $10,000 a year lawyer position in the greater Boston area. In that post, I linked to a Boston Business Journal article (by way of CBS Boston) which told the same story. One thing that was very striking about that story was the aggressive vitriol exhibited toward the legal profession in the comments section.

Granted, comment sections are not really for the faint of heart at the best of times, but that is often because people are being so uncivil to each other. In this case, it seemed to be the rare case where nearly everyone agreed; the condemnation of lawyers was almost universal, and barely restrained.

Why such negativity? I am not quite sure. Many people likely associate lawyers with particularly unsavory (divorce, death, a lawsuit?) times in their lives. Maybe it is the cost of having legal work done. Maybe it is the contributions some lawyers have made to creating the over-litigious society we live in. Maybe it is the fact that the ranks of the political class are swollen by those with law school diplomas hanging on their walls.

While the recent graduate going for the barely-paid position might not be a 'bloodsucker' just yet, it would behoove him/her (as well as anyone involved in the legal profession) to remember that public perceptions of lawyers are about as unfavorable as they are of politicians and cannibals. I am not sure what the solution to this might be, or even if a solution is required. However, members of the legal profession, even those unemployed and seeking to be paid less than a fast-food restaurant cashier, better not look for sympathy from the general public even in this epically poor job market.

Maybe, similar to working for a year for basically free, those entering the legal profession can view the vitriol as training, or an extension of their legal education. After all, it takes a pretty thick skin to operate in a courtroom or explain a slip-up to a partner...

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