“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
— William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2
Society has hated lawyers since the dawn of time. The law is a profession that often gets little respect, in part because the bad tends to overshadow the good. After all, you’re far more likely to hear about the lawyer who allegedly masturbated on a coworker’s dress or the lawyer who billed a client for sex or the lawyer who drunkenly tossed her panties at the police than the lawyer who zealously represented a client.
As if the Rodney Dangerfields of the professional world weren’t reviled enough, Americans have stepped forward to slap lawyers in the face yet again. Please, take your law degree and wipe your ass with it, because in the court of public opinion, you’ve contributed nothing to society…
According to the latest Pew Research Center survey on professional public esteem, lawyers were rated at the bottom of the barrel. As shown in this chart, outside of the profession, no one really cares about your prestigious legal pedigrees. Lawyers are apparently the dregs of society. From Pew:
Only 18 percent of Americans surveyed think lawyers contribute “a lot” to society. Who knows what could have possibly brought about such high praise — perhaps people were sucked into watching one of TNT’s countless Law & Order marathons? The rest of Pew’s respondents weren’t as thrilled:
While there have been modest declines in public appreciation for several occupations, the order of the ratings is roughly the same as it was in 2009. Among the 10 occupations the survey asked respondents to rate, lawyers are at the bottom of the list. About one-in-five Americans (18%) say lawyers contribute a lot to society, while 43% say they make some contribution; fully a third (34%) say lawyers contribute not very much or nothing at all.
Please, even if you think lawyers contribute nothing to society, surely you must appreciate their sheer entertainment value. So what if that damn lawyer made you pay more child support? So what if you had to pay that f**kin’ lawyer more than you thought you should’ve to defend your DUI? After all of the allegations of attorney misconduct we’ve covered here, you must have chuckled at least once.
If you don’t think lawyers have contributed to society, take a look at the desegregated school you or your children attended. Go register for a concealed-carry permit in a state that once restricted their issuance. Attend a same-sex marriage and bask in the newlyweds’ joy. Burn a flag. Watch a film with a sex scene at the movies. Protest at the funeral of a soldier who gave his life for America.
Do you enjoy any of these things? If so, then reconsider your thoughts on the most despised profession in America.
Public Esteem for Military Still High; Clergy in the Middle, Lawyers at the Bottom [Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life]
Only lawyers valued less than business executives, Pew survey finds [Washington Bureau / Business First]