Counsel for the Offensive

Raymond Burr  as  Perry Mason

Raymond Burr
Perry Mason

When I was young, I had aspirations of being a lawyer. This was, of course, based on my perception of lawyers on television, and mainly Perry Mason at that. For whatever reason (the grace of God?) my life took a different direction.

The law is a noble profession. All of us need lawyers from time to time. It’s good to have a guide in matters of property, wills, and other issues that are both important and complex when one enjoys the rule of law. In my Polish neighborhood, the lawyers offices were labeled “Adwokat” – or advocate. I like that.

Unfortunately, somewhere as a society we got in the habit of resolving all our problems by confrontation. Punching the other guy; drive by shootings; road rage. At least we don’t carry grudges for 300 years and plant IEDs – but I digress.

Today, the really successful lawyers are the hard-hitting litigators, with television ads saying, “Tell them we mean business,” or “Call me the hammer!”

However, I can’t help but think – if a lawyer represents a person who pours hot coffee in his lap, or falls through a skylight of the building he’s trying to burglarize. If a lawyer helps a guilty celebrity get off with community service, or a banker who pays bonuses from a taxpayer bailout be declared “too big to fail.” Or the rich kid who should be excused because of “Affluenza.”

Does this mean that the cream of the legal profession is focused on the survival of the stupid and the greedy?

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