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It's the first Friday in November, known around the world as Love Your Lawyer Day. Yes, we've heard all of the lawyer jokes and shark comparisons. But for every stereotypical ambulance-chaser or over-zealous divorce lawyer you hear about, there are many more attorneys working their tails off for their clients with little recognition. And it's more likely than not that a lawyer has actually made your daily life better in some way.
So, for one day at least, let's all show our lawyers some love. Here's why, and how.
If the U.S. Constitution is the foundation of our democracy, lawyers are the gardeners of its legacy -- working to trim, prune, and guide its branches and keep it healthy. Throughout our history, lawyers have worked to expand the promised civil rights to all citizens, not just a few. The right to attend desegregated schools, the right to marry the one we love, and the right to privacy (and all the rights that flow from it) were all won in a courtroom and all because of the bravery and compelling arguments of a few lawyers.
Many of our greatest Americans, from Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln to Ally McBeal and Jack McCoy, have been attorneys. Although we must admit that when it came time to portray Satan in modern times, Al Pacino was a lawyer in The Devil's Advocate. When Keanu Reeves asks why, Pacino responds, "The law, my boy, puts us into everything." And it's true -- attorneys have an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives, from discrimination at work to DUIs. This may be why lawyers are held to a higher standard than most other professions.
Every profession has its good and bad practitioners. There are bad plumbers, bad politicians, and yes, bad lawyers. And it does seem like bad lawyers get an awful lot of the spotlight when they screw up.
But even if you think some personal injury lawsuits are out of hand, those same attorneys are making sure the food you eat and the cars you drive are safe. Even if you can't believe someone would defend a murderer in court, those same criminal defense attorneys are there when you're arrested or falsely accused of a crime. And of course you're not too happy with your ex's divorce attorney, but how about yours?
Lawyers in the United States work in an adversarial system, meaning most are going head-to-head with other lawyers, creating a winner and a loser. For each case, the good and the bad, the righteous and the frivolous, there's at least one attorney doing what she believes is right. And even if you disagree with the outcome of a case, remember that for the most part lawyers only argue the cases their clients bring to them, and it's up to judges and juries to arrive at verdicts.
So how should you celebrate Love Your Lawyer Day? A simple card or a call is probably enough, but who doesn't love a muffin basket or nice bottle of wine? Or perhaps just encourage those around you to think of lawyers as actual people, rather than stereotypes. No group is all bad or good, so give a little love to the lawyer that's looking out for you today. I guarantee they'll appreciate it.
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