If you want to joke about a particular profession, you’ll find plenty of material in lawyers. There are probably more jokes about lawyers than there are actual lawyers who have passed the bar exam. Even Shakespeare made a lawyer joke when he had one of his characters say, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
The law profession isn’t terribly well understood, and there are a lot of jokes in part because there are also an awful lot of myths. Lawyers have their quirks, but they’re a lot like normal people, even if they do write a lot of legal briefs that use seemingly random Latin words.
Myth: All lawyers are the same
“If you’ve met one lawyer, you’ve met them all.” But that’s no more true than saying, “If you’ve met one dog, you’ve met them all.” True, a lot of dogs bark, but that’s not all they do.
There are definitely some areas of law that have a worse reputation than others. A lawyer who regularly defends terrorists may get some flack, certainly more so than a lawyer who goes to court to battle gigantic corporations that are polluting the earth. But all lawyers are performing a service, even if we don’t always understand the service that’s being performed.
Personal injury lawyers have a reputation as greedy ambulance-chasers, and there are definitely unscrupulous attorneys capable of giving everybody else a bad name. But personal injury lawyers are there to help vulnerable fight back.
Let’s say someone is injured in a car accident. This person suffers both a concussion and a spinal contusion, and they are also diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. If the accident happened in or around Vancouver, the injured victim can hire a personal injury lawyer Vancouver to ensure that they receive the accident benefits they’re entitled to under local law. These are often known as “Part 7 benefits.”
In many personal injury cases, the lawyers aren’t paid unless they win the case. That hardly fits the stereotype of a money-grubbing lawyer who cares nothing about the people he or she represents.
Myth: You can represent yourself and save money
This myth is partially correct, at least in the most technical sense, because you can save money if you decide to represent yourself in either civil or criminal court. But there’s such thing as being penny-wise and pound-foolish, which means that you can save money in the short-term by costing yourself a lot more in the grand scheme of things.
Think of it this way: Would you want to perform brain surgery on yourself to save money? No, because you might die. The stakes for representing yourself in court might not be as immediately apparent, but as the saying goes, “A man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer.”
A criminal record is capable of doing much more than sending you to jail. Even a relatively minor criminal offense can make it that much harder to achieve any sense of financial security.
Bosses will be less likely to hire you, and landlords will be reluctant to rent to you. You may think, “How often can a background check come up?” They can come up surprisingly often, especially in an era where we’re increasingly reliant on technology.
You may think you can just waltz into your child’s school and have lunch with him or her, but if you have a criminal conviction and the school has a visitor management system with automated background checks, then Junior might have to take a raincheck.
Once you’re in the criminal justice system, it can be hard to find a way out. If you’re arrested, hire a criminal defense attorney who will do their level best to keep you out of that system.