I submitted the below article to the ABA as part of a contest. Although I didn’t win, I thought it would be nice to share it here- even if it doesn’t directly relate to my workers’ compensation practice……..
The legal profession is the greatest profession in the world because the world is not able to exist without it. Without law and lawyers making, interpreting and applying the law, society would crumble under the weight of its members trying to assert their dominance over each other, whether by way of money, power, or physical superiority. The legal profession brings about fairness and dignity to all aspects of our world- and this is a self-sustaining and powerful concept that allows us to celebrate and perpetuate our greatest human traits.
Perseverance. Integrity. Fairness. Courage. These fundamentally important human traits were possessed by the many great lawyers who helped form the principles of our powerful nation. Indeed, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and FDR were all lawyers. Which direction would our country have gone if it were not for these noble men?
I have to admit, I sometimes get frustrated when I hear people say negative things about lawyers. I suppose much of the negativity is simply inherent in the nature of our legal process, with a winner a loser defined in many cases. As such, fifty percent of the parties involved in most legal circumstances will be somewhat disappointed at the outcome regardless of the quality of representation. But our society, and especially our media, has perpetuated a sinister and insidious campaign against lawyers- one that has eroded the longstanding respect and dignity the profession once possessed and which it still deserves.
I grew up watching my dad practice law in such a sincere, dignified, and professional manner, that it never crossed my mind as a child and young adult that someone could hold any animosity towards him. He had such a sense of fairness and balance about him, and possessed a sharp and sometimes painfully analytical skill which seemed to often put people in awe. When he came home for dinner every night at 630pm, I never heard him talk about how much money he was going to make- just how much he loved the challenge of trying to solve complicated problems for his clients. He never had to use the word honesty- it just defined his character.
Yet my dad was not an enigma. The great majority of lawyers possess these characteristics. In my nine years of practice, I have yet to come across an adversary who was overtly underhanded or dishonest. Instead, my counterparts have tried to do the right things, and have practiced with a respect for the profession. Unfortunately, this is not newsworthy for our media who is obsessed with bad news, bad fortune and crime. I suppose TV ratings would suffer if it were reported that “thousands of cases in downtown Philadelphia last week were handled properly by the participating attorneys- the attorneys solved their clients problems, worked really hard, exchanged information fairly, and the clients were satisfied with their efforts.”
Lawyers level the playing field between powerful corporations and the hard working employees who make its existence possible. Lawyers create an equality of bargaining power between those engaged in a contract. Lawyers help the poor and disabled obtain benefits to survive. Lawyers help resolve disputes between people which stabilizes society and the economy. Lawyers force manufacturers to be responsible in the way their products are made, marketed and distributed. Lawyers serve society. What other profession has such a far reaching and pervasive influence in our world?
So go right ahead, “lawyer up” and do it with pride.
-Michael W. Cardamone
The Injured Worker’s Lawyer