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Jeruba's avatar

What were they like before they became sleaze-ball lawyers?

Asked by Jeruba (41919 points ) August 4th, 2011

You knew them as kids, or as college classmates, or, perhaps most interesting, as law school students.

Now they’re ambulance chasers, personal injury lawyers pushing for outrageous settlements, cutthroat divorce attorneys who maximize everyone’s suffering, and all those others who give lawyers as a group an undeserved bad name.

What were they like before they entered their profession? Could you see early signs, or did something happen to them once they began their careers?

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13 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Sleaze-ball citizens. At least, each one I have known was this way.

I think the notoraity and ability to accept “questionable gifts” for representation, is what makes them this way.

NightStalker's avatar

:::::edit- did not read details. sorry:::::::::

Jeruba's avatar

Well, ok. I was looking for stories of people you actually knew, as indicated in my first detail line, rather than generalities and stereotypes.

Ron_C's avatar

I think a sleezeball is born not made. You can see greedy kids and kids that lie and cheat to get their way. Additionally, there are way too many lawyers so the competition between them is pretty high. The ones that think of new ways to make money seem to prosper. Once they reach a certain level they become “respectable”, at least in the eyes of other lawyers. The permanent sleezballs are the grasping unsuccessful ones that never got the big pay-off.

Haleth's avatar

I’m too young to have seen anyone make the transition. Two of my friends are in law school, and they’re both smart, kind people. One of them is getting seriously burnt out by all the hard work and doesn’t want to go back, and the other takes it in stride. So we’ll see.

There’s another male acquaintance I know who is already finished with law school. He works his ass off and drinks all the time. I could see him becoming sleazy if he keeps at it, because he seems to hate all the hard work but love the perks. If I were him, eventually I’d start looking for ways to cut corners.

My guess is that law is just so cutthroat, and there’s so much competition and work, that some people have to be ruthless to make it in their chosen field. Maybe after years and years of doing that, it gets to be a habit and a way of life.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I know some lawyers who were my friends long before they were lawyers. They’re not yet sleaze ball lawyers but with some of them, they might become them later when they get disillusioned enough, I think.

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve had to deal with a few lawyers in my time and to a man (yes they were all men) they were upstanding individuals who truly had their clients interests in mind.

I think there are sleazy individuals in every profession. They’re just more noticeable in the legal profession due to advertising.

Lack of morals come from a variety of circumstances but in the end it is up to individual to act in a moral way.

SpatzieLover's avatar

In our area @Jeruba, we’ve had a lot of sleeze-ball lawyers give birth to sleeze-ball kids. The kids have grown up “gaming the system of life”, then gone on to become professional liars themselves.

Cruiser's avatar

I thought this would be an easy answer…but I guess fortunately I cannot think of even one “sleaze-ball” I know. But I thought long and hard over every friend, relative, aquaintence I have know since childhood and it seems pretty clear that their personalities and mores are pretty consistent with what I remember them to be way back when. Saying that, I think I can surmise that a sleaze-ball lawyer was probably a manipulating little punk as a kid.

dabbler's avatar

My best friend in college was a religious studies major (broad coverage included Taoism) and was the most eccentric person I hung around with. At some point after graduation he was tired of the kinds of jobs he could get and went to law school and works on benefits packages now.
He’s still a quite decent fellow and about as eccentric as he can be while toeing the line at the law firm.
I’ve met plenty of other decent lawyers too, who do mundane things like real estate transactions.
I.e. they’re not all like that !

Jeruba's avatar

Thank you to whose who actually read my question and understood that I was not (a) making generalizations or (b) seeking generalizations. I appreciate your responses.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I actually read your question. I would link an article, however, it’s from my village.

Here the gist: One lawyer I’ve known my entire life gets married and has kids. Kids grow up. He decides there’s nothing wrong with buying them beer.

He decides it’d be wise to allow his teens to drink in his presence. He decides it’d be wise if their friends all drank at their home. He regularly allows his teens to throw drinking parties.

The cops get wise to the parties from neighbors upset about teens parking all over this wealthy, upper class suburban neighborhood. The police come to the home to check up on the home more than once. The lawyer parents receive a warning that the police will be on the look-out for intoxicated teens leaving the home. One detective, a 30yr veteran, makes it his goal to shut the drinking down.

The lawyer thinks up a sleazy plan: Sting the cop. The next party he throws, he has the teens call the police station from their cell phones to say there’s underage drinking inside the home. Teens begin fleeing from the home in all directions. Detective is involved in arrests. There was no drinking going on that night.

The lawyer takes it as far as he can legally. He gets the detective thrown off the force, and sues our village.

Lawyer comes from a family of great wealth. His brother was always sweet, and kind. Lawyer was always a twerp. Lawyer has a bunch of twerp kids. Kids have now become lawyers. Considering the example they had at home, I don’t see how they’ll continue to be anything but sleaze

Luckily, Karma has bitten the guy in the butt. He filed bankruptcy and has lost the house he set the sting up at.

john65pennington's avatar

I arrested this lawyer for accepting stolen merchandise as a down payment for representing a thief that stole the property and gave it to him, in my presence.

The attorney served 60 days in jail and lost his license to practice.

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