I’m amazed – dazed and perhaps half crazed. . . I had a very small epiphany, perhaps in sync with today being Groundhog Day. Anyone not familiar with American culture must think this day and it’s mini-celebration of an oversized rodent predicting the future length of a winter season must surely think we are insane. Without the aid however of Punxsutawney Phil, I entered into the local county courthouse to conduct some brief business. I entered this palatial estate after the usual emptying of pockets and walking through a body scanner and after I emerged from the other side of this security area I saw escalators and elevators to multiple levels of this huge complex.
I walked into a room down a wide corridor and sat down on one of several rows of long wooden benches waiting for the judge to enter the court room. When we all rose, there must have been over 100 people in that room not counting at least 10-12 attorneys. Several months ago I was in another county court room for a traffic violation. Incidentally, that was thrown out. So too, that court room was filled with people. This time it hit me, I was in one small room of a huge facility conducting routine business with a lot of high paid people crowded into one room. There were many other rooms just like this one in this court building and I thought no wonder there are so many attorneys in practice today and no wonder this county building is so large.
The legal business is BIG BUSINESS! Why did I enter the world of high tech? I’ve worked for years in it and mostly have been set aside in it due to my age but here the judges and some attorneys were old enough to play patty cake with Pterodactyls. Unlike me, they were living the ‘American Dream’ in a huge way. I understand the average attorney in this area charges $250 per hour. I’m reasonably sure the judges are knocking down 6 figures and there are of course quite a few officers of the law standing around to keep the peace. There’s a whole lot of money being transferred in this facility for common business and if you haven’t got the money, then you don’t get to participate or they will figure out a way to extract it from you over a long period of time.
I ask myself, why did I not go to law school? I had the acumen, the GI Bill to front most of the early years and I’ve always been an active reader with a voracious appetite to learn new things. I could’ve been retired by now and sipping on my favorite beverage while several working class stiffs were pretending to like me as long as I was paying the tab.
OK, that’s a jaded view but one that has learned there’s a societal pecking order which survives as well as most insects but with the prestige of the lion or bear in the forest. That order is one reserved for the legal profession. It’s a license to print money because every year there’s more new regulations and more new fees or laws that are broken and can only be dismissed with distribution of funds from millions of the population.
Remember the famous statement made by then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi about the proposed health care bill? “We have to pass the [health care ] bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Since it has passed and we know it consists of several thousand pages, it’s a built in revenue generator for the legal profession. It’s just one of many bills that are passed into law each year and that’s at the Federal level. Each state, county and municipality has rules with associated penalties and they must be enforced. The enforcement part combined with the penalties for not observing the diuretic output of these laws generates rich opportunities for aspiring legal practitioners.
There’s no limit to the vast number of billable hours which can be so easily obtained in the legal profession. Sure there are quite a large number of criminals but that’s the tip of the iceberg. Look at all of the paid advertisements broadcast daily for accident / liability attorneys wanting a piece of the action. Imagine the opportunities for divorce attorneys’. There’s a lot of gold in the legal biz and those fees must be paid!
- 2012 – Watershed year for the legal profession or business as usual? (business.financialpost.com)
- Thomas Fagan wins diversity award (business.financialpost.com)
- Why Your Startup Needs a Good Lawyer (triplepundit.com)