Why do divorce lawyers have such a bad reputation?
I’m sitting here wondering why divorce lawyers have such a bad reputation? It’s crazy how there isn’t one person I’ve ever met who had a positive thing to say about lawyers in general or divorce lawyers in particular. Having been a divorce lawyer myself, and knowing what a good person I am, basically, it puzzles me. I mean, I’m not going to say that I’m a perfect human being, but I would definitely say that I am a good person. I am kind. I am fair. I am empathetic. I am sensitive. I am honest. And I am a lawyer. I know I am not the only lawyer with these qualities. Yet, the lay persons of the world just absolutely think lawyers are scumbags and they generalize in a way that normally would be tantamount to prejudice and discrimination — the type of behavior you expert in, say, uneducated, unevolved people who generalize entire groups in an irrational way. So, for example, it is totally not socially acceptable to voice prejudicial opinions against racial groups, gender, sexual orientation, religion and stuff like that. But it is totally acceptable to do it when it comes to lawyers generally, and divorce lawyers in particular. It’s a new ism: lawyerhate-ism. It’s a kind of lawyer-phobia. You know?
Why is there so much vitriol? I mean, in every profession I am certain there are scumbags. There are people without a profession who are scumbags too. It’s not exclusive to those who are in a profession or who are employed, or whatever. But there is just something about lawyrs that brings out the bile and venom in a lot of people.
I mean, don’t get me wrong: I’ve met scumbag lawyers — mean, bullying, awful people. But I don’t think they are that way because they are lawyers. I think even if these folks were engineers or architects or politicians or stay-at-home entrepreneurs, they would have been mean, bullying and awful. Their profession is incidental to the thing. I’ve had clients who, while I would not describe them as scumbags, I would definitely say they were not honest and they were not “good” people.
But the law business definitely is sludgy. And divorce lawyers are probably the most reviled of the bunch. And some of them have done their clients wrong, no question. Some lawyers have cremed their clients and have done their clients wrong. But this blanket condemnation of every single lawyer in the world? I don’t understand it. Maybe I’m a bit naive. But sometimes I think to myself “you know what? Since I’m going to be judged anyway, maybe I should have been a scumbag. Maybe I shouldn’t have spent my entire career trying to be the good girl. Because nobody cares and they will dismiss you anyway and lump you with the one or two bad apples. So what’s the point.”
I get sensitive about it, yes. It’s embarrassing that that is the reputation that lawyers have. Unfortunately, I can’t speak for the entire profession. Just like I can’t speak for my entire race, gender, religion, ethnicity, educational institution, neighborhood, or what have you. I am just one. Just one individual lawyer who has tried to practice my profession as ethically and honestly as I can. At the same time, though, I can’t work just for thanks and praise. If I work, I want to be paid. And I want a rate that we agreed to in our contract, in good faith. Which, like most lawyers (all divorce lawyers are required to disclose that up front) I disclose up front. What’s so wrong with that? I’m a bad person because I want to be paid when I work? When did involuntary servitude for lawyers become the norm?
I think a lot of lawyers get into trouble when it comes time to be paid. Clients turn on you and accuse you of being a crook, when you ask to be paid what was agreed to upfront. I don’t think I will ever understand that dynamic if I live to be 125.
But I will say this, and I’ve said it before: the job of “divorce lawyer” should be banished. All peoples who are divorcing should work out the details amongst themselves or try a mediator or negotiation–outside of courts. Then, it’s going to be that the mediators and negotiators are scumbags. Because everyone needs someone to blame. Then you know what? Absolutely, I advocate that all peoples who are going through a divorce should absolutely represent themselves from beginning to end. HANDLE YOUR OWN CASE!
As for other lawyers who are not in the business of divorce? It’s not like we can do away with the entire profession. Can we? Cause I’m thinking I want to become a rapper. I’ve got these rhymes I’m working on:
Yo, yo, yo! Jeannie Goldstein in da house!
I got rhymes coming out the Kazoo
I wanna tell you
something’s gonna go down
cause its like dat, yo, yo
It’s like that, and you know
when you live in this town
you gotta understand the rules, yo
cause google be wacked, son
I’m gonna go viral, son
yo, yo, yo.
Don’t you know?
Like my lyrics? I can even tell you the rest. It’s so good. It’s off the hook. But see? I’ve got skillz, yo. I’ve got talent. I am leaving this divorce business and becoming a rapper. Yo. Cause that’s what’s up……………..but seriously, rappers make a lot more money than lawyers. I shoulda gotten into the rap business. I shoulda woulda coulda. I bet you I’d have less aggravation from people calling me and my kin “crooks.” And my house would cost nine figures. And people would love me.