In my short lifetime, I have had to vigourously defend two very important choices I have made in my life: my music and my career. I hope the previous blogpost on Hip-Hop made it clear where I stand when it comes to my choice of music. As for my career choice, it seems the subtle inferences, jokes, sarcasm and stereotyping have only just began. I am a lawyer, by the way. Ironically, my underlying defense of both my love of Hip-Hop music and my choice to study and eventually practice law is one and the same: there’s a soul, a consciousness in it that a lot of people don’t seem to appreciate. The general perception of lawyers among most of my friends is that they are nothing more than freelance bureaucrats willing to sell their souls to the highest bidder.
Allow me if you may to respond to a few other statements that have been made about the legal profession that I
totally disagree with.
Law School is a ‘piece of cake’: All we do is cram stuff, right? Wrong. The law is ever-changing. New laws are legislated every single day, and new cases are constantly overturning or affirming old precedent. Law School doesn’t just teach “the law” so to speak. Law school does not reward raw memorization of lists and rules. Instead, Law School teaches people to process this new legal information and apply it to new situations involving real and complex people in the real and complex world in which we live. My point in all this? Law school is bloody hard! You betta ask somebody..
Lawyers are self-absorbed and arrogant: Hell, after 6 years of legal training you too would ‘walk with a bounce and talk with a twang’, as one of my professors once put it. But there are limits. I once met an a**hole who graduated from business school and had the nerve to add ‘MBA’ to his name in his email signatures all over the place. Being self absorbed and arrogant is not something that is germane to lawyers. We all want to recieve some recognition for our achievements. But like I said, there are limits. I recently received an email from someone who had the nerve to attach ‘B.A.’ to their name! Now that’s just pushing it.
Motherf*cking g*ddammit, unless you have a Ph.D, shut the f*ck up about your g*ddamn academic/professional credentials!
Lawyers are all womanizers/man-eaters:
Well, uhm..? No comment.
Lawyers don’t deserve to be put on a pedestal by Society: There can be no debate that there is a special status in society reserved for its honourable members skilled in the art and practice of the law (Notice that even the English language affords special status to the legal profession by adding the “the” unlike any other field. You don’t say “the” medicine or “the” engineering or “the” architecture”. I’m just sayin’ :-)).
On a serious note, Society expects lawyers to be well-versed in the laws that govern every aspect of our daily lives in order to help in regulating human conduct and interactions as well as maintaining order and upholding justice. Society acknowledges the complexities in our law and therefore handsomely rewards those who devote their entire lives to the study and practice of law. That being said, not all lawyers earn the stratospheric incomes you hear about. In case you were wondering the starting salary for an Advocate here in Kenya is a measly 30K. Picture that?!
Lawyers are crooks that’s why they make such good politicians: Au contraire mes amis, anyone can be a politician not just lawyers! Although, I must admit some of the most successful politicians, the famous and infamous ones, have been lawyers but that shouldn’t be taken to mean that all legal profession is the cesspool which breeds the unethical, cut-throat, money-hungry political animal that we currently have in our legislative and executive branches of government. In fact, as I alluded to earlier, the cornerstone of the legal profession is public service. This is the main reason alot of lawyers are drawn to politics. The desire to better serve the interests of all members of the society without fear or favour. There are dozens of lawyers that have used their legal training to advocate for social and institutional change within the political arena, for example Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama, to name but a few.
Esteemed people of DR, I’m sure you all have atleast one good thing to say about lawyers, right? Do share.
Don’t worry, I’ll wait.