In just about every publication aimed at the legal profession there will be an article about the joys of being a lawyer. In such articles, the lawyer will often tell a story about his or her humble beginnings and how, through hard work and determination, they were able to complete law school and pass the bar. The article will usually go on to describe the joys of helping people and serving the community. I do not doubt the sincerity of those authors. I too am at my happiest when I am serving a noble cause and helping my fellow man. Assuming those are the noble reasons for being a lawyer, the following are the Top Five other reasons I love being a lawyer.
Number 5: Hearing lawyer jokes.
At some point, when meeting new people, someone will ask me, “So, what do you do for a living.” After I tell them I am a lawyer, they will often say, “Have you heard the one about the lawyer who….” Yes. Yes, I have. I have heard every lawyer joke ever written. In fact, I can say with near certainty that the last time I heard a lawyer joke for the first time was about six months after I passed the bar, over a decade ago. I am quite proud of my encyclopedic knowledge of the lawyer joke genre of comedy.
Number 4: Getting speeding tickets.
Let me tell you, police officers just love it when I say, “Hey, I am a lawyer.” I have to stop them from apologizing for pulling me over. When they ultimately overcome their initial fear, they do an excellent job documenting my crime. They properly note the posted speed limit, that I identified myself as an attorney, my speed, my lack of current registration, the fact that one of my tires needs air, and my slightly cracked tail light. They are also very prompt to show up for my court date. Because of my profession, the police who give me speeding tickets take special care in conducting their official duties.
Number 3: Friends, family and total strangers asking for legal advice.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I have a question for you.” That is how the I-need-some-legal-advice conversation normally begins. I got a call from a cousin, in another state, who I had not spoken to in twenty years, because he had a question about the concealed carry laws of his state. I do my best to answer all such inquiries, but my answer usually begins like this, “Now, I am not your lawyer, and I am not licensed in your state. Also, I am a civil litigator and your family/criminal/tax issue is not really in my area of practice. And don’t forgot, free legal advice is worth exactly what you pay for it. All of that being said….” It warms my soul to be so helpful.
Number 2: Everyone assuming you are wealthy.
I have to admit that I love it when people compliment me on being so humble despite being a wealthy attorney. They say things like, “It’s good to see an attorney driving a late model Ford rather than some expensive import,” or, “You don’t mind picking up the tab, do you?” Let’s be honest, it is not actual wealth, but the appearance of wealth that attracts people. Rather than buying a flashy car or throwing around cash, I just show people my bar card. Once people know that I am a lawyer, they assume that my lack of material possessions (and cash) is simply me living a bohemian lifestyle.
Number 1: Knowing you should read the fine print, but still not doing it.
I have asked numerous clients, “Did you read the contract before signing it?” While a layman may be surprised by the fine print, I am not. I know that the contract that I am signing was drafted by a lawyer. I know that if I read the contract, I would not like the terms, and I may even think twice before signing it. I also know that I want what the other party is selling, and I will ultimately agree to almost any terms. As a result, I throw caution to the wind and will sign your document without a second thought. It’s great being a lawyer.
Saunders, Walsh & Beard is a business litigation law firm in McKinney, Texas. Formed in 2012, today SWB has more than 16 attorneys. The firm assists individuals and businesses with commercial, business and tort litigation, construction law, corporate and partnership formation and expansion, employment law, insurance disputes, judgment collection, personal jurisdiction, and real estate. We believe the client’s “experience” is of paramount importance. Explore our practice areas and see why the attorneys of Saunders, Walsh & Beard are ranked by their clients and peers as among the best in their fields.