find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Why do people hate lawyers so much?

Why do people hate lawyers so much?

I love lawyers

Why are lawyers at the butt end of so many bad jokes when the legal profession can boast some of the most distinguished and learned people as members?

Society’s deep-set anathema towards lawyers has always been a mystery to Folklaw. In an, admittedly lazy, attempt to determine the underlying causes of this serious problem, Folklaw decided to consult a free think tank (i.e. Facebook).

Three main causes for the bad reputation of lawyers emerged from the 47 responses: 1) lawyers “cost shiploads” and “come across as leeches feeding off human suffering”; 2) ignorance of the law and legal ethics generates unfair stereotypes; and 3) lawyers are “smart arses” with “egos the size of Texas”.

Folklaw’s hands-down favourite comment came from Justin Case from Melbourne, who wrote that lawyers’ litigious lifestyles are to blame for their lack of popularity. 

“[People hate lawyers] because it is an adversarial system … The losing person is going to hate not only his own lawyer but also the other side’s,” noted the upbeat Mr Case.

This means that effectively, 50 per cent of all people engaged in litigation will end up hating at least two lawyers, he added. You can’t beat this logic!

Melissa Asimus put dislike of lawyers down to their awkward habit of leaving clients in financial ruin after “tortuously slow” legal disputes.

“It is so rarely about truth and justice. It is more usually about who can access the most funds to keep kicking the other side while [they are] down and/or dragging the proceedings out until the other side can no longer keep fighting,” she said.

Sandaldeep Singh said working with lawyers is rarely a positive experience since clients approach lawyers when they have a problem and are often burdened with exorbitant fees. “Problems and fees both are negative things,” he said. 

Additionally, most lawyers are perceived to be more concerned with the six-minute unit than with actually helping the client, Mr Singh continued.

Kellie Pledger argued that the general public misunderstands the structure of the justice system and does not realise that there are ethics in the profession — and that ethical lawyers actually exist.

Berk Karcioglu alleged that at the heart of the problem was an elitist conspiracy to condition the masses to believe that lawyers are “money-motivated shysters”.  

“After all, the lawyer is the guardian of the rule of law — the notion that all humans are equal before the law. This notion is grossly at odds with the elitist mindset,” he wrote.

The top comment (by popular vote) came from Patrick Spelman, who said that people dislike lawyers “because they do not appreciate our witty and insightful humour and are intimidated by our classical good looks”.

While the evidence is clearly on Mr Spelman’s side (just ask George Clooney!), others took issue with his point: “Even lawyers hate lawyers,” Ella Rose noted. “We can be pretentious jerks,” added Kim Richardson.

Edwin Nelson from Sydney went so far as to jokingly describe members of the legal profession as “evil”, while others used the words “liars” and “scum”.

Meanwhile, Penelope Trundle patiently explained that, “the amazing learned [lawyers] are busy quietly becoming amazing rather than strutting around like they own the world because they have a law degree”.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Why do people hate lawyers so much?
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Dec 13 2017
Young humanitarian lawyer California-bound
A young Australian lawyer will be travelling to the US next year for a prestigious nine-month study ...
Jackie Rhodes
Dec 12 2017
Report sheds light on LGBTQI inclusion in law firms
A recent report has revealed the varying perceptions on LGBTQI diversity and inclusion in the Austra...
Women in business
Dec 12 2017
Annabel Crabb headlines Women in Business Forum
Political journalist Annabel Crabb has appeared at the Coleman Greig Lawyers Women in Business Forum...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...