Friday, September 11, 2009

A long time ago...

...meaning back in Middle School and High School, DairyStateDad wanted to be a lawyer.

(I was telling DairyStateKid #2 this yesterday and he asked why. I said because I envisioned lawyers as helping folks who were wrongfully accused of crimes or who were harmed by others and sought justice. By which I meant product liability plaintiffs' lawyers and malpractice lawyers. OK, remember, this was the naivete of adolescence. Early adolescence.)

Then I discovered film-making and later I discovered journalism and that was the end of that. But I still have a fascination with the law and write about it when I have an opportunity. And notwithstanding the fact that I laugh at most of the jokes that people make about lawyers, I generally admire the law and people who practice it. Good thing too, given that DairyStateMom, although not a lawyer herself, works very closely with them.

But I've always felt just a little bit frustrated with the standard adversarial system of law. Winston Churchill's line about Democracy being "the worst system, except for all the others" has a ring of truth.

This post really captures exactly why.


  1. Needless to say I have had people tell me that if you represent yourself in court you have a fool for a lawyer. Needless to say these people were mostly lawyers. My response to that adage is that one can hire a lawyer, spend a lot of money on a lawyer, and still have a fool for a lawyer. . . Personally I think that I have done reasonably well representing myself in criminal court. Of course it helps if you are innocent and there is virtually no evidence supporting the prosecution's case against you.

  2. About 1970 I thought of attending the University of Missouri School of Journalism. I never went there but I seem some of the same problems in journalism as you and smijer see in law. In both professions there is probably a complete breakdown in transparency in communicating the truth. Others will see the same problem in ministry or just about any other profession. I think it is up to each of us as individuals to see to it that we act above reproach. Unfortunately ethics is not easily taught.

  3. "I think it is up to each of us as individuals to see to it that we act above reproach."

    Or at least be ready, willing and able to admit it when we fail to do so. . . Consistently acting "above reproach" is difficult to impossible, especially since *some* people will find a way to reproach you no matter how well you behave. . . If more people in this world were ready to admit mistakes in a timely manner, take corrective measures, and make amends wherever it is possible to do so, the world would be a lot better place. Heck a whole lot of lawyers would probably be out of a job. . . :-)

  4. I went from journalism to law, and I agree with the Churchill quote.



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