Being a lawyer is the most important job in the world.
In a memorable scene from the movie “The Devil’s Advocate,” Al Pacino’s character, the Devil, made a profound statement.
When Pacino’s son asked him why he chose to be an attorney on Earth rather than any other profession, Pacino replied that being a lawyer allowed him to do the most harm. Pacino noted that the law touches everyone — it is involved with every human activity, and so it’s the profession that provides the best opportunity to do the most evil.
But the power to do evil is also the power to do good.
Over the past year all of our institutions have been tested. Our economy has buckled. Our hospitals have had to turn away all but the most critical patients. Our very Constitution has been challenged by the political fights in Washington.
Our court system was forced to adjust rapidly so that disputes could be resolved via Zoom. With rising unemployment will come the predictable tsunami of bankruptcy filings, evictions, foreclosures and repossessions. In the middle of all this chaos stand the lawyers.
Whether we represent the plaintiff or the defendant, the landlord or the tenant. It is us — lawyers — who speak up for our clients’ rights.
For all the bad lawyer jokes that you’ve heard, remember this: When someone gets into legal hot water, they call a lawyer, not a plumber.
Let’s straighten our backs and keep our heads held high. Our profession is the cement that holds together the bricks of civil society. When all the dust settles, it will still be us that society leans on to help maintain good order and discipline, and to vindicate the rights of all.