Don’t Blame the Lawyers!

?I’ve been a lawyer here in South Jersey for? 31 years.?? Over those years, I helped thousands of people fix and prevent lots of problems.?? I wrote and reviewed contracts to make sure people who bought or sold real estate or businesses got what they expected.? I helped people get money when they were injured or suffered losses caused? by someone else?s carelessness or dishonesty.?? I prepared wills and other documents that avoided needless disputes and misunderstandings.??? I did bankruptcies to give fresh starts to people? hopelessly in debt?almost always because of illness, bad luck, or stupidity.
Nobody was ever forced to hire me.??? Hundreds of lawyers do what? I do, and people are free to choose the lawyer they want.?? Or they can look up the laws, download the forms, and do many routine legal jobs themselves.
I usually charge $200 for each hour of work I do, but I keep only about half of that.?? The rest pays for office expenses, secretaries, computers, repairs, copiers, office supplies, etc.?? Many skilled workers end up making the? same? as me.
Lots of time I work without getting paid.? In? divorce cases, clients sometimes can’t afford to pay extra for?unexpected problems that pop up.? Sometimes when I take a case on contingent fee (fee based on a percentage of the recovery), there is no recovery.?? Sometimes I underestimate a job, or a client goes broke.? I?never get paid for reading journals and updating my skills and knowledge.
I am not complaining.?? I earn a good living, and I enjoy the work I do.??? But I am fed up with ignorant people who blame lawyers like me for every problem we have in this country.?? Here are some basic facts for those people:
1.?? Lawyers, like any group (Jews, blacks, Catholics, taxpayers, senior citizens, etc.) don’t all think or act the same way.?? We lawyers are as diverse as the people we work for.??? Lawyers hired by rich landlords speak for rich landlords. Lawyers hired by government agencies for poor tenants speak for poor tenants.? (Of course, sometimes they double-cross the? poor tenants they are supposed to represent, and help rich politicians who fund their agencies–but that is a different? story.? When a lawyers run for public office, they don’t run to help lawyers.? They run to help the folks who are paying them.
2.?? Many stupid and corrupt laws in this country waste lots of? money and hurt lots of people.?? But don’t blame lawyers who make money off these laws??? If they don’t make money from these cases, other lawyers will.?? Blame the politicians who created those laws to get campaign money and support.
3.?? Lawyers as a group do not control the government, and they do not make the laws.??? NJ Governor Jon Corzine is not a lawyer.?? Neither are U.S. Senators, Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez or our South Jersey Congressman Frank LoBiondo.? There are four assemblymen in Atlantic and Cape May Counties.??? Jeff Van Drew is a dentist,? Nelson Albano is?a union shop steward, Jim Whelan is a public school teacher, and Frank Blee is a chiropractor.?? Senator Nick Asselta of Cape May County has no occupation other than professional state senator.?? The only lawyer who represents us in making federal and state laws is Atlantic County Senator Bill Gormley, who is not really a lawyer.?? He lives in South Jersey, but his law office is in North Jersey.?? I never see him in court, and my hunch is that Gormley is also a full time professional politician who may get hired by clients for political influence, not legal skills.
Most lawyers I know represent people who are hurt by the rotten and corrupt laws that have been adopted in recent years.? Nobody wants these laws abolished as much as us.
Most non-lawyers today don’t have a clue as to how bad many of our laws are.? They don’t know how much tax money they waste, or they cause houses, insurance, and health care to be so expensive, and force many industries like Lenox China to leave the state or go out of business.? But we lawyers do.
To have a free country again, we need free citizens who have certain knowledge.?? And that includes knowing that lawyers are not the problem, and may be an important part of the solution.
Somers? Point attorney Seth Grossman is executive director of www.libertyandprosperity.org.

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