All Saints Day/Eve of Election Day

Hmm. Is there tension in the air, or is it just me?

Relating to the profession that some of us bloggers/blog readers are in, let’s just recognize that this election is important for being yet another reason why people hate the legal profession so darn much. Terry Carter of the ABA Journal (or its electronic version, the E-Journal) notes that lawyers are in the crossfire with the campaign season’s rather sickening (in my opinion anyway) lawyer bashing. I have thought that all this lawyer-bashing is really pathetic – I mean, last I checked, being a lawyer wasn’t against the law. But, the question is:

But [the anti-lawyer bashing has] an impact on what? The jury will be out on that one for a while. But some say the prominence of anti-lawyer ads in the presidential campaign is having an amplifying or synergistic effect on the ever-increasing lawyer-bashing in election races for other offices at the federal, state and even local levels.

“The pervasiveness of attacks on lawyers for political advantage has an inevitable effect on the image of the bar,” says Stephen Gillers, who teaches ethics at the New York Univeristy School of Law. “Trial lawyers, and therefore all lawyers, have been portrayed as the devils in the machine. That’s unfortunate, but it’s politically useful.”


And while it is debatable that ads with a focus on lawyers will swing the election either way, there is some concern that the messages critical of lawyers might leave a lasting gut feeling in a lot of people.

That might be because the anti-lawyer messages in the various election campaigns are kept very simple and repeated often. And they build on more than 20 years of the same.


Many remain unswayed by the ads. A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll found that 69 percent of voters say the fact that Edwards is a lawyer will not affect their vote. But that hasn’t stopped Bush and Vice President Cheney from hammering the point. And while it may or may not have much influence on the election, many say it will have one on the legal profession—especially in swing states that are being inundated with political ads.

And, furthermore, the e-Journal includes a humorous yet poignant article: Legal humorist Sean Carter is so concerned about the impact the campaign has on lawyers, he suggests that to spare lawyers from more harm, let’s have the candidates fight it out by the tried and true method of… rock, scissors, paper; not only do we save ourselves from frightening rounds of litigation,

Even more importantly, lawyers won’t take the blame for subverting the democratic process. Some of us may even be able to come ‘out of the closet’ to our friends and family members about what we do for a living, provided we’re not personal injury lawyers.

I look forward to the day when I can stand up in a crowded room and say, “My name is Sean Carter and I’m a … a … used car salesman. Anyone need a ’67 Pontiac?”

Yes, let me stand up and say, I’m SSW and I’m a lawyer. Gasp.

No, I will not be making any prediction. Election Day ain’t like figuring out who’s going to be Time magazine’s Person of the Year.

Anyway, go vote tomorrow. You’ll be glad that you did.

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