Lawyers are the butt of many jokes, from light-hearted teasing to rather mean-spirited barbs. In the Jim Carey movie, Liar Liar (a not so subtle play on the word “lawyer”), Jim Carey plays the archetypical lawyer – fast-talking and evasive of the truth. Is this rather bleak view of attorneys fair or do we owe them a greater deal of gratitude? I’m going to give you three scenarios to imagine, and then you can decide where you stand on lawyers.
For the first scenario, imagine you are driving down a road at night and out of nowhere a motorcycle merges into your lane, giving you no time to hit the brakes. If you leave the scene, it will be seen as a hit and run (regardless who caused the actual accident). Without a lawyer, it will be your word against the motorcyclist’s. Not every stretch of road is monitored and not every driver is honest. A lawyer is specially trained to not only protect your interests in court, but to pull information from others that are vital to your case.
Not everything a lawyer deals with has to do with physical injury or an accident of some sort.
Let’s consider for our second scenario that you are a college student. That scholarship you won during your senior year of high school was only good for the first year of study and now, entering your sophomore year, the weight of the world seems crashing down on you as you have to figure out a way to pay for tuition, books, food, etc. Of course, you manage but at the end of four (or five) years, you find yourself bogged down in debt and filing for bankruptcy seems like it’ll be the only way to get those creditors to stop calling you every other hour of the day.
By calling a lawyer, you just may be able to avoid such a life-altering decision as filing for bankruptcy. Most people who fall into debt do not know all the options available to them. A lawyer will help you make a wise choice instead of a rash decision that could haunt you down the road.
Buying a home is one of the most important milestones in a person’s life. It is something we often dream of from the time we are young and as soon as we enter the workforce, it is something we strive to attain. However, buying a house is not so simple as giving money and signing a few forms. There are many things to consider, such as location, zoning laws, school districts (if you have or will have children) among a host of other things. A lawyer can help you navigate your way through the minefield on your way to becoming a homeowner.
While it is certain that the jokes are not going away anytime soon, I hope you are at least convinced that lawyers play a vital role in our society. Lawyers, so often ridiculed and portrayed in a negative light, are the men and women who help ordinary citizens like you and I understand and make use of our rights. They enable us to make sense of endless documents of legal wording so that we can get to live our lives.