Disrespect for Lawyers and the Courts
So Hay doesn’t understand why lawyers have become (as a group, if not individually) a despised, resented profession. He reminds us that “our modern institutions . . . are inconceivable without lawyers.” I remind him that it was lawyers who almost destroyed our modern institutions in the Watergate affair.
Hay says that many lawyers “work at low salary or for free for the public good,” and he can’t think of other professionals who do so much pro bono work. Visit your local public school, Mr. Hay. We teachers work our entire careers with mandatory pro bono and at a fraction of a lawyer’s hourly rate.
The true source of the disrepute in which lawyers currently find their public selves, however, is clear in Hay’s recognition “that lawyers are not an endangered species.” The proliferation of lawyers has led to a glut in the courts, an inability (and perhaps unwillingness) of the profession to police itself sufficiently stringently, and a feeling on the part of the public that the legal system no longer protects the innocent and punishes the guilty, but rather sustains the notorious and crushes the little guy. And that, Mr. Hay, is not funny.
WILLIAM E. RAABE