Does being a lawyer automatically earn one’s trust?

May 12, 2014
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Would you wear a T-shirt that says “Trust me, I’m a lawyer?”

Or perhaps, more importantly, should I trust you because you are a lawyer?

This T-shirt popped up as a promotion in our paper’s Twitter feed this morning.  As of 10 a.m., the website says 35 have been purchased.  The description of the shirt even says, “Are you a lawyer? Then people better trust you. Wear this shirt with pride!”

I see this T-shirt being worn for two reasons: by a lawyer who’s wearing it to be funny (ha ha, I’m a lawyer and my shirt says so!) or by a non-lawyer who’s also wearing it to be funny (ha ha, I’m not a lawyer, but people trust lawyers, so you should trust me when I tell you to …)

We – the general public – should trust lawyers because these men and women have dedicated time and resources to learning the law. They are a small group of people that we can turn to when we have a serious problem: divorce, an arrest, being sued by someone, etc. We expect them to know what they are doing. We TRUST them to know what they are doing. That’s why they get paid the big bucks, right?

But sometimes, just as in every profession (Hello, Jayson Blair), there are bad apples who cause us to second guess or bad mouth attorneys. There are attorneys who take advantage of their clients, only look out for themselves, and abuse their positions of trust. They become the inspiration for bad lawyer jokes.

But I know – and I hope the general public realizes – that these few bad apples aren’t representative of the legal profession. The majority of attorneys are out there working hard and earning the trust of their clients.

So wear this T-shirt with pride, lawyers. I trust you will.


 

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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