100 Reasons Why I Hate Lawyers
1.Because Emory University Economics Professor Paul Rubin calculated yearly U.S. tort liability costs of $132 billion, with $82 billion amounting to waste that costs the average U.S. household $900 in higher prices for goods and services. ($132 billion equals about 2.3 percent of our gross domestic product.)
2.Because the emotional turmoil caused by all those lawyers is every bit as costly as the economic toll.
3.Because at last count the United States harbored an estimated 950,000 creatures of the bar, rapidly approaching the, ouch, one million mark. (The late Chief Justice Warren Burger warned that we were "on our way to a society overrun by hordes of lawyers, hungry as locusts, and brigades of judges in numbers never before contemplated.")
4.Because that gives the country about one lawyer for every 275 people, while most of the rest of the world gets by with one per thousands or tens of thousands.
5.Because every trial lawyer is taught this fundamental rule: "If the law is against you, emphasize the facts; if the facts are against you, emphasize the law; and if both are against you, impugn the integrity of your opponent."
6.Because lawyers see nothing wrong with this.
7.Because there is no limit to the lies, deceit and character assassination that can be rationalized by an attorney under the excuse of zealously representing a client's interests.
8.Because Bill Clinton and his lawyers don't even snicker when they look us in the eye and tell us his behavior with Monica didn't constitute sexual relations.
9.Because most lawyers are very smart people who would have made superb engineers, teachers, etc., had they only decided to be productive members of society.
10.Because it is possible to use plain English and still achieve the precision required for unambiguous law. Lawyers torture our magnificent language merely to differentiate themselves from us.
11.Because sexual harassment and employment discrimination have been turned into protection rackets by attorneys who sue on one end and get rich conducting anti-harassment and "diversity" training sessions on the other.
12.Because the bar always manages to quash tort reform.
13.Because Texas lawyers filed suit against the Nolo Press and threaten to ban their legal self-help books, saying they amount to "the unauthorized practice of law."
14.Because I, too, could get busted for publishing something that might be construed as legal advice, even though lawyers have otherwise extended the First Amendment to cover virtually every indecency imaginable.
15.Because most politicians come from the ranks of lawyers.
16.Because lawyers bill by the hour and they're the ones who keep track of the time.
17.Because lawyers appeal to our worst instincts.
18.Because rampant litigation has given rise to de facto tyranny as people hesitate to speak their minds or engage in innocent activities that may leave them vulnerable to a lawsuit.
19.Because the once admirable ACLU now spends most of its time championing causes that are ridiculous and/or offensive to any sensible person.
20.Because what reason is there not to file a frivolous lawsuit if an attorney is willing to take the case on contingency?
21.Because there are an estimated 6 million laws on the books in this country, but only 10 Commandments.
22.Because I'm from Chicago, home of the best justice money can buy.
23.Because the lawyer heading in the 1997 Chicago Consumer Yellow Pages spanned 119 pages, with display ads throughout the first 74.
24.Because a Washington, D.C., judge recently ordered a child be removed from a foster care family interested in adopting the youngster and returned to the custody of his natural mother, who had recently been released from prison after smothering the boy's six-week-old sister in a blanket and tossing her in the trash, after which Mom went out partying.
25.Because a lawyer in Illinois was found to have billed a divorce client for time spent having sex with her. (An appeals court made him refund that part of the fee.)
26.Because that same lawyer was later appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court's Committee on Character and Fitness.
27.Because the Illinois Bar Association is still debating whether to include sex with clients among its ethical taboos.
28.Because several years ago the Clients' Security Fund, set up by the Illinois and Chicago bar associations to provide up to $10,000 in compensation to people defrauded by their lawyers, went broke from paying out claims.
29.Because when a prominent Virginia attorney was found to have stolen as much as $42 million from clients-reputedly more than any other lawyer in history-a newspaper investigation found that at least a dozen colleagues had discovered wrongdoing by the man, but never reported him.
30.Because lawyers react like vampires to a crucifix whenever it's suggested their profession ought to be policed by outsiders.
31.Because psychic stress litigation and other victimization gambits have turned us into a nation of whining neurotics.
32.Because Bill and Hillary are both lawyers and act like it.
33.Because class action attorneys stand to make millions off the fund established by Swiss banks to compensate aging Holocaust survivors.
34.Because you can't get truly hot coffee at a drive-through anymore after McDonald's got sued by that idiot who spilled some on herself.
35.Because the legal profession's ethical code subordinates right and wrong, fairness and unfairness, justice and injustice, to the quest for winning the case.
36.Because as a result, the best lawyers get hired by the worst criminals.
37.Because the legal profession regards such amorality as a lofty principle.
38.Because lawyers on both sides are the main beneficiaries of our worker compensation laws. (In California, legal fees for handling worker compensation claims totaled $2.2 billion in one year, which was more than physicians received to treat injured workers.)
39.Because "damned if you do, damned if you don't" minefields are strewn about employment law.
40.Because malpractice is at least as common in law as in medicine, but far fewer perpetrators ever get called to account.
41.Because I get nauseous seeing so many vanity license plates with some variation of LWYR or ATTY or CNSLR.
42.Because if Adolph Hitler came back to life, he would have no trouble finding a prominent attorney willing to defend him and cast aspersions on his accusers. Probably his victims as well.
43.Because tree huggers with law degrees, in cahoots with the California attorney general, have gone berserk over inconsequential traces of lead in faucets.
44.Because the same eco-maniacs are responsible for those stupefying signs on California buildings telling us that it's dangerous to breathe inside.
45.Because thanks to lawyers, our nation's hard-pressed school districts have been forced to spend some $6 billion ridding themselves of harmless asbestos.
46.Because a 1993 Rand Corp. study found that of the estimated $7 billion spent to clean up toxic waste dumps, about one-third went to lawyers or to shift blame for the pollution.
47.Because the number of lawyers now working in America tops those working in the steel (700,000) and auto (800,000) industries, and there are more lawyers than doctors, nurses, college professors and computer engineers, and more than twice as many lawyers as police officers.
48.Because despite all those attorneys, the American Bar Association (ABA) said that about 100 million U.S. citizens can't afford legal help when they need it.
49.Because in 1994 several New York lawyers, in collaboration with some cutting edge psychiatrists, conjured up an illness deemed "Failure to File Syndrome" to rationalize not filing IRS returns. Most of the "victims" turned out to be some of the city's top lawyers.
50.Because a partner in a Chicago law firm was found to have billed clients for 6,022 hours of work in 1993. That averaged out to 16 hours per day, seven days per week, 52 weeks of the year. He charged $350 an hour.
51.Because a federal appeals court voided the wishes of the electorate in the last best hope to rescue our political system by overruling the 1990 term limits vote in California.
52.Because up to 75 percent of U.S. companies have been sued during the 1990s, according to the Economic Strategy Institute.
53.Because the ABA refuses to make its National Discipline Data Bank of 25,000 misbehaving lawyers available to the public at large.
54.Because when a disciplinary panel finally did the right thing by disbarring an attorney who had faked the signatures of his wife and a notary public on court documents granting him a divorce and custody of his children-while never telling his wife and continuing to live with her-the Utah Supreme Court overruled it.
55.Because of Johnnie Cochran, Barry Scheck and the rest of the creepy characters who let O.J. get away with murder.
56.Because the tortured logic of modern court rulings pokes so many loopholes in the fabric of law, we are veering toward anarchy, defined as the absence of law.
57.Because prosecutor misconduct is just about as prevalent as defense shenanigans.
58.Because, for example, prosecutors in Florida (Janet Reno, in her previous incarnation), Washington, California and Massachusetts have concocted bizarre tales of mass child sex abuse that have sent innocent people to jail in cases resembling the 17th century Salem witch trials.
59.Because when a 16-year-old drove into a lake and drowned after sniffing computer cleaner to get high, his parents sued the computer store, the road builders and the engineering firm that designed the lake.
60.Because I met an HVAC contractor who got sued because a customer's "preventive maintenance" agreement did not prevent an equipment breakdown.
61.Because the contractor's attorney charged the guy for advice telling him to change the terminology to "protective maintenance"-never telling him that someone else can always sue him for failing to "protect" their equipment.
63.Because lawyers always show up on the battlefield to shoot the wounded.
64.Because the California State Bar Association tried to make citizens think it was cracking down on bad lawyers by reporting a huge increase in disciplinary proceedings, but inflated the figures by counting each charge, so that if 10 lawyers faced 10 charges, the Bar would report 100 disciplinary actions.
65.Because dozens of lawsuits had been filed against Boeing and TWA long before investigators had reached any conclusions about the cause of the TWA 800 crash.
66.Because lawyers breathe life into junk science.
67.Because every business has to keep its fingers crossed when selling anything to a lawyer.
68.Because class action lawsuits target corporations that do nothing wrong, on behalf of people who don't even know they have a grievance.
69.Because defendants in class action settlements end up with pennies while the lawyers make millions.
70.Because class action litigators purposely try to get the cases heard in backwater towns filled with poor and uneducated citizens.
71.Because a lawyer I know chuckled when describing how his firm prowls the Internet looking for potential class action cases.
72.Because it's against the law to punch him in the nose.
73.Because a generous couple who owned a cafe in Kingman, Ariz., used to serve as many as 1,600 free Thanksgiving dinners to poor or homebound neighbors, but put a stop to it when one recipient came down with a tummy ache and threatened to sue them.
74.Because America once had 20 major vaccine producers, but after dozens of class actions lawsuits, we are now left with four-for now.
75.Because plaintiff lawyers in the trumped-up $176 million Texaco racial discrimination lawsuit asked the court for $29 million in legal fees.
76.Because a lawyer in Michigan looted his mother's account to buy art, but the state's attorney discipline board merely suspended him instead of disbarring him because he persuaded them his love for art stemmed from a mental disability.
77.Because trial lawyers have come up a new concept known as "premises liability," whereby patrons of a business who are present during a robbery or other crime may sue the business for mental distress.
78.Because attorneys hired by the state of Florida tried to get 25 percent of the $11.3 billion settlement negotiated last year with tobacco firms. The judge overseeing the settlement calculated the amount at $7,716 an hour.
79.Because obstetricians, anesthesiologists and other doctors in high-risk medical specialties typically must pay malpractice insurance premiums topping $100,000 a year.
80.Because a Boston attorney filed a $40 million lawsuit against the Board of Bar Overseers after they suspended him for expending $457,000 of a $679,000 trust estate without a penny going to beneficiaries.
81.Because an employee who was fired after holding a gun to a fellow employee and pulling the trigger (the gun misfired) was held to be improperly dismissed from his job.
82.Because a worker in Virginia was awarded $140,000 for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder said to result from being "goosed" by a co-worker.
83.Because the BMW auto firm was required by an Alabama court to pay $2 million for selling as new a car with paint retouched in a few spots.
84.Because a woman filed a $300,000 lawsuit against a YMCA in Maryland because a runner crashed into her at 2nd base during a league softball game, breaking her collarbone. (In response, the YMCA sued the runner, his manager, the umpire and the company that paid for the team's T-shirts.)
85.Because a woman in West Virginia sued a golf cart manufacturer after her husband fell out of a golf cart after he had been drinking at a golf tournament. The woman's son was driving, and she also sued him.
86.Because I could fill every page of this magazine solely with reports of goofy lawsuits like the previous half dozen.
87.Because an investigation by the National Law Journal found that for every 19 lawyers disbarred, one gets readmitted, even after committing felonies such as robbing banks and abetting murder.
88.Because of a Wall Street Journal article headlined, "Lawyers See Dollars in Computer 2000 ills."
89.Because an insurance industry study found that only 43 percent of liability settlement and judgment dollars goes to plaintiffs.
90.Because if you have a heart pacemaker that costs $18,000, some $3,000 of it is a "tort tax" representing inflated cost due to liability insurance. (About half the price of a football helmet is a tort tax.)
91.Because in Indiana only licensed attorneys may speak before the state's public utility commission.
92.Because a New York State appeals court ordered a Bronx high school to reinstate a 15-year-old student who had been suspended for carrying a loaded gun to school, saying the school had violated the student's constitutional rights with an illegal search.
93.Because a 6-year-old boy in North Carolina was suspended from school for violating sexual harassment rules in kissing a female classmate.
94.Because the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld an arbitrator's decision to reinstate a chemistry technician to a safety-sensitive position at a nuclear power plant after he falsified a drug test and subsequently tested positive for cocaine.
95.Because Illinois and many other state courts have struck down tort reform laws after retroactive lobbying by their buddies from the bar.
96.Because the federal tobacco bill that fell through earlier this year included a provision to put a cap on attorney fees at "only" $1,000 an hour.
97.Because one of the newest class action gambits is to sue executives of public companies on behalf of shareholders when stock prices fall
98.Because third-rate doctors, engineers and other professionals can make lucrative livings giving junk science testimony in court cases.
99.Because a landmark second-hand smoke lawsuit against tobacco companies in Florida resulted in the lawyers getting $49 million and their 60,000 class action clients almost nothing.
100.Because I've already taken up a lot of space and still have plenty of reasons left over.