2016 was a year marked with quite a number of unexpected (at least to me) developments. 2017 likely will have its share of unexpected events as well.
To wrap up the year, I wanted to use what little platform I have to pursue something that is both driven by blatant self-interest and is in the interests of the overall “good.” That something is to muse in hopefully a relatively pithy fashion on my general philosophy about why even lawyers need other lawyers.
I truly cannot remember if the way I tend to state this is in such a fashion that it is cribbed from one or more other lawyers or if it has something of an nearly-original genesis but whether it should be footnoted to avoid plagiarism or written freely without worry of attribution, I think it is compellingly accurate as a philosophy:
Lawyers need lawyers because lawyers are great at solving other people’s problems, but horrible at solving their own problems.
I’ve encountered quite a few excellent lawyers who, in aid of their own personal situations, have done and said things they would never do or say if they were acting on behalf of a client other than themselves and who, if you could stop them and pose to them what they were doing as a hypothetical act of a client of theirs, would not merely counsel a client other than themselves against such behavior but would likely woodshed any of their clients who were foolhardy enough to so act.
I suspect you can think of an example or two you have come across as well.
And, if the philosophical concept is true, and even excellent lawyers — lawyers who are great at solving other people’s problems — need lawyers., then the need for lawyers is even greater when the lawyer in question is not so great even at solving other people’s problems.
There are any number of ways that these thoughts could have been prompted today. For the record, they were prompted by this story.
(And, I am not the only one to have written such a piece in the past and you can find lots of such articles online and in paper format, but I have written in the past about the fact that lawyers can be surprised to find that they have coverage to be reimbursed for hiring attorneys to handle things other than malpractice cases under their malpractice policies. My piece in that oeuvre can be found here.)