Sunday, November 05, 2006

112 Honest Lawyers

Why don't sharks eat layers?

Professional courtesy.

Heh heh...

I laugh with the rest when a good lawyer joke is told. It is important to be able to laugh at one's self. Too often, however, I think folks form the wrong impression of my profession.

While car dealers will lie, cheat and coerce to make a sale, and mechanics will look you in the eye and prescribe an unnecessary yet costly repair, lawyers are actually bound by a very strict code of professional conduct. The practice of law is one of the most highly regulated and strictly disciplined lines of work in the world.

So, there I sat, Friday afternoon. I was at a conference collecting my mandatory continuing-legal-education credits. It was near evening, and it had been a long boring day. There was a forensic accountant speaking to us about tax records. We were probably a half hour from being done, and I was sitting in the back row trying to stay awake.

Then it struck me. There were still a lot of lawyers in the room.

We were there for credit. Every three years we must report our CLE (education) credits to the bar to maintain our licenses. It is an honor-system. You are only supposed to report the credits for the hours that you were actually present, but in reality, no one is stopping you at the door.

But here we were, 4:30 on a Friday, with an accountant blathering away at the podium. No one wanted to be there, and no one was making them stay. No one, that is, except honor. The bar would never know if any of them lied about being in their seat for the full 8 hours, but they stayed. 112. I counted. 112 lawyers sitting in their seats, being honest and doing the right thing.

11 comments:

  1. What is it about you being in a classroom that makes you want to count stuff? Where there no dots?

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  2. I understand that feeling well. The honor system is actually one of the most effective ways to control/affect human behavior. It actually works better than concrete rules. I wish all of law and order could be based on the honor system.

    Although I am kind of let down by this supposed honor and code that you lawyers now possess. It totally kills my vision of you being the Alan Shore from Boston Legal type attorney who will do pretty much anything to win... lol I always hate it when TV and reality don't mesh.

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  3. too much gin = no spell check..

    Lawyers are obviously trusted more than nurses - we have to sign am and pm to prove we stayed

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  4. What I find most amusing about this story is that, yes, Brian stayed for the whole thing to get the credits, but was he paying attention? Nope. He was counting lawyers (a game notorious for putting one to sleep or in a coma). So, this honor system only requires that you stay, but listening is apparently optional. Now, to me, that is what lawyers do - interpret things to meet their own or their clients' needs.

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  5. Fred is right, although we are honor-bound to do so

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  6. dot on the ceiling2:41 PM

    Defend your client with honor and vigor!

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  7. 112 lawyers who didn't want to go back to the office

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  8. or just didn't want to go home...

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  9. All waiting for happy hour to begin.

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  10. What Brian Didn't tell you guys is that meeting began with 5000 attending.
    Of the remaining, I'd like to know how many were either sleeping or too drunk to walk from drinking their lunches.

    Either way, obviously Brian wasn't paying attention and was using his rainman skills again.

    Yeah definately an excellent driver

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  11. There is a three day international law and trade symposium in Shanghai coming up. I wonder if I can get my CLE credits for going.

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Be compelling.

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