Alicia Florrick. Vinny Gambini. Atticus Finch. Elle Woods. What do they have in common? They are all fictional lawyers that are being used to give society a false view of the profession. The legal profession, like many others, is a career often devalued due to stereotypes and misconceptions. Just like every career has some people that do fit the stereotypes most lawyers are not like the ones we have been forced to envision.
1. Lawyers are not too aggressive, they are assertive.
Often times the term aggressive is used to describe lawyers and the way they argue in a court room because of what the lawyers on TV do. However, most lawyers do not go around screaming at people and rudely defending their case. What they do is assert themselves against their opponents. They do stand up for their clients and present information that contradict each other, but that should not be mistaken for aggression. You no do not want to hire an aggressive lawyer, but you do want an assertive lawyer. After all, their job is to protect their clients' best interest and clients do not want a lawyer that can no fight for them. A wise lawyer once told me, "There is a fine line between being nice and being walked upon and being tough and being considered too aggressive."
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2. Lawyers are not know-it-alls, they are knowledgeable.
It is sometimes hard to decipher whether someone is a know it all or if they are knowledgeable. This is especially true when they are constantly speaking in an academic jargon and using words that are often times not acceptable outside of a courtroom. Therefore, it is easy to think a lawyer is a know it all when they walk around using terms like affidavit (when vouching the truth of a statement ), evidence (when trying to convince you about a place to dinner) or malum prohibitum (when explaining the rules of a game) in everyday conversation. Except the distinction that separates a lawyer from being a know- it- all is that they unintentionally due so. Most lawyers are used to speaking this way and actually are just very eager to share knowledge on a subject. Can you blame them? They have been in school a total of at least 19 years and are still learning.
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3. Being a Lawyer is not an easy job, it is exhausting.
Elle Woods makes getting into law school look easy. Alicia Florrick makes being a women lawyer look easy. Vinny Gambini makes taking on a murder case as your first case look extremely easy. Therefore, it is understandable for many people to think of being a lawyer as an easy job in which all you do is argue with others. I have often been told, "Oh, you want to be a lawyer so you must know how to argue." The reality is yes, I do know how to argue but I know much more than that. I know that in order to be effective I need to spend all night reviewing the facts and the precedents. I know lawyers worry what about how there clients lives' will change based on their actions. Lawyers know that no matter how much coffee you drink a nap is always needed and maybe a good cry.
4. Lawyers are not arrogant, they are ambitious.
The dictionary defines arrogance as an insulting way of thinking that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than others. Although, lawyers can easily be perceived as falling into this category when taking on big cases and arguing unique arguments they truly are not. That is because they are aware that there is 50 percent success rate yet, they still take the risk. Therefore, lawyers are ambitious. They take big risks in order to reap big success. They are never certain that an argument will go far in court or if they will win a case but they do it anyways in hopes of making the world a slightly better place.
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5. Lawyers are not boring, they are brilliant.
Lawyers are often perceived as black and white professionals. Yet, reality is they are more like the color grey. Lawyers are probably the most interesting people you have met. They have met and dealt with many different clients, read books, learned theories far more interesting than Plato and Socrates, and have heard every story and excuse in the book. They also know how to handle all this brilliance in a way that makes it fascinating to talk to them. Therefore, next time you think being a lawyer is boring, think again, it is brilliant.
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6. Lawyers miss out on the things they love, lawyers love the law.
This one is a big one because often times people argue that lawyers miss out on spending time with family, participating in hobbies and doing the things they love because they are always working. However, in order for this to be true then a lawyer could not love the law. Which in reality is far from true. One does not become a lawyer for no reason. One becomes a lawyer because they love the law. They love being a lawyer. This is an idea that is foreign to many because many find it inconceivable to love a job but lawyers do. Yes, they might miss out on a couple things, but life is about balancing a career and personal life. Therefore, lawyers have the best of both worlds because they love both their career and personal lives making it a win-win situation versus a loose-loose one.
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