Keep Our Families Safe
What is a Lawyer?
Lawyers have become punching bags for too many corporations and politicians.
An honorable profession and many of the most famous and important figures in history are wrongly and unfairly being sullied by these attacks.
As it seems some have forgotten what a lawyer is and does, a quick refresher course is needed. To do this, we turn to former Association of Trial Lawyers of America President Theodore Koskoff.
First, we need to remember what a lawyer does:
A lawyer stands between the abuse of government power and the individual. A lawyer stands between the abuse of corporate power and the individual, too. A lawyer stands between the abuse of judicial power and the individual, as well. A lawyer stands for all of those who fight against the smugness and complacency of society. A lawyer stands for all of those who wish to mold and protect the rights of individuals for future generations.
The second part of this lesson is a reminder of who lawyers are:
Do you remember the case of John Peter Zenger? It was his trial that established the freedom of the press, and the freedom from censorship. His defender was a person named Andrew Hamilton, a lawyer.
Do you remember the Boston Massacre and Captain Preston? It was another political trial, held early in American history. One of the lawyers there was a gentleman named John Adams.
Are you familiar with the Bill of Rights and the debate of that credo of American freedoms held at the Constitutional Convention of 1787? One of the fiercest advocates of the Bill of Rights was a lawyer named James Madison.
Surely you have heard of the Supreme Court. But what you may not be as familiar with one of its, whose influence over the power and scope of the Court is still felt today. He was a lawyer named John Marshall.
Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans are familiar with the phrase, “Give me liberty or give me death.” But all of those Americans would be surprised to learn that it was Patrick Henry who uttered that famous battle cry. He was a lawyer.
“Four score and twenty years ago,” begins the Gettyburg Address, one of the most famous and often quoted speeches in American history. It was a speech rededicating our great nation to the principle of equal justice for all. It was a lawyer named Abraham Lincoln who delivered those words.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Those inspirational words were delivered by a man in a wheelchair, as he tried to lift the spirits of and inspire a nation. Those words were delivered by a lawyer named Franklin Roosevelt.
And it was a lawyer named Joseph Welch, appearing before Senator Joseph McCarthy, who finally made a nation realize that the end of a dangerous witch hunt was long overdue.
So the next time someone starts to tell a lawyer joke, stop them. Recount this lesson to them and remind them of who lawyers really are and what they really do.