We have some strong feelings on the nature of the law as a profession. And by “profession,” we don’t mean the colloquial usage of “job description.” We’re talking about the concept of a calling — a calling to the service of others where one’s own personal interest must be secondary to the interest of those served. A true professional is not one who does his job well, but one who truly acts first and foremost for those he serves. There are only three true professions: the clergy, medicine, and the law. It not much of an exaggeration to think of it as a sacred calling.
Here at the Criminal Lawyer, we haven’t been too shy about saying that if you’re in the law for the money, then you don’t belong here. There’s nothing wrong with making money as a lawyer. There’s nothing wrong with making a lot of money as a lawyer. But if the money is the reason why you go to the office, then you do not belong in our profession. And we’d both be happier if you left. (And if you’re a law student thinking of joining our profession in order to get a nice income, you doubly don’t belong here. Because on top of having the wrong reasons, you also seem to lack the basic research skills to realize that most lawyers aren’t exactly making a killing.)
We’re not going to rehash all our thoughts here. Feel free to scan our archives for the tags “legal profession” or some such, if you’re really interested. But we took a moment during a break from trial this afternoon to skim Scott Greenfield’s blog, and he had a great post today coming at this issue from a different angle. So here’s a paragraph which we are offering for its truth:
The underlying problem, which cash-obsessed lawyers fail to recognize, is that they never should have been lawyers at all. It’s hard to practice law. Being a professional requires sacrifice, dedication to someone other than yourself. it’s fine that some people don’t have a feel for such things, but then they have no business being lawyers. Let the brain drain happen, and let’s rid the ranks of the legal profession of those who elevate profit over dedication to their clients. They never should have been lawyers to begin with, and their loss is not only a non-problem, but a benefit to those who remain.
And you can read the rest of it here.