The Corner

Trial Lawyers: Opposing Views

From a reader:

Wow. First Glenn Reynolds, and now you. As a fan of the Corner, I’d

like to reply to your thoughts that trial lawyers aren’t that bad.

Here’s what I sent the Instapundit…

Of course, it would take a law professor to take up the cause on how trial lawyers aren’t that bad.

However check the polling about confidence and trust of various

institutions on the very informative Polling Report site

(http://www.pollingreport.com/institut.htm) and see where “law firms”

rank on the Harris Poll (Feb. 2004)

Another poll, cited here (http://www.thinkandask.com/news/polls.html)

concluded “TV newscasters are seen as untrustworthy by 54 percent of

respondents, journalists untrustworthy by 61 percent, Congressmen/women

untrustworthy by 65 percent, and lawyers are viewed untrustworthy by 76

percent of those asked. But 77 of 100 adults say stockbrokers are least

likely to tell the truth.”

(Good thing Kerry didn’t select a STOCKBROKER for his VP!)

Finally, polls reported in this Texas Law School paper (http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/lpop/etext/nova/asimow24.htm) report the serious situation…

“In the early 1990s, the American Bar Association commissioned a public

opinion poll from the Peter D. Hart Research Organization.26 It indicated that overall, respondents gave lawyers a 40% favorability rating, while 34% of respondents gave them an unfavorable rating.27 This placed lawyers far below other professions, since the favorability rating for teachers was 84%, pharmacists 81%, police officers 79%, doctors 71%, and bankers 56%.28 Only stockbrokers at 28%, and politicians at 21% were lower.29

In 1999, the ABA published results of a follow-up poll from M/A/R/C Research.30 It revealed that while 30% of respondents were extremely or very confident of the United States justice system, only 14% were extremely or very confident of lawyers.31 In contrast, 27% had slight or no confidence in the justice system but 42% had little or no confidence in lawyers. Lawyers were soundly beaten by state legislatures, prison systems, and the United States Congress; only the media came in behind lawyers.32 Thus, the public seems to have moderate confidence in its justice system but almost none in the lawyers who make that system function.”

So, there seem to be a WHOLE lotta people who “no likey” trial lawyers, regardless of how heroic Hollywood makes them….

Sign me, Mike the Analyst

and…

Personally, I think that, except for those in the Criminal Legal System (Judges, Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys and supporting staff such as the FBI and Justice Dept) that somewhere between 90 and 99.5% of all lawyers in this country are parasites, providing no productive service and providing a

disincentive for anyone to do anything. Double the percentage for lawyers

that are also politicians.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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