It's easy to rip on attorneys. It's low hanging fruit, right?
But I want to go against the grain for a minute.
Yours is a thankless job, but I want to thank you for it. To thank you for the work you do on behalf of your clients. To thank you for them, even when they won't; even when they're mad they didn't get the result they wanted and they had to pay you for it besides.
Sharks. Con artists. Shysters. You get called every name one can imagine. I'm sure you've heard them all, mostly in low whispers. Probably to the point that when you get called by your name, you're just happy someone remembered it.
There's a few bad apples. There always are. But you do your best every day. You're honest. You're ethical. You uphold the law. You work hard for a client who doesn't understand what it takes to do the job you're asked to do.
They didn't see the hours of studying for months on end, the scraping by with a spouse and three kids during law school. They didn't face the bar exam you wondered if you'd ever pass.
They don't often see the hours you put in, reading thinking, studying, all on their behalf. They just see the billable hour and invoice and too often, they scream.
I've seen you slaving away at midnight, trying to meet that random, nonsensical court deadline, putting the finishing touches on that brief, or scarfing down take-out so you can work for another 3 hours, all the while your client is home in a blissful dreamland.
I've seen you up at 6, dressed for the battlefield that is court, prepping for the hearing at 9, trying to get the wording, the body language just right so that you're convincing, persuasive, but not overbearing.
I've seen you stand up to your client and tell them they're wrong. That it's better just to let that point go. And minutes later you turn around, latch on to a different point and assure them that this, yes, this, is something worth fighting for, something they need to bring out.
I've seen you fight as hard as you can for a client, when you're not sure it's a winning cause. I've seen your disappointment in defeat and I've seen your elation in victory.
I've seen you spend weeks on end in a foreign country, away from your family and the rest of your life. I've seen you miss your kids' birthday parties. I've seen you put your own life on hold. All to serve your client.
I've seen you write down your time and your bill to try and be as fair as possible.
Yes, I see you. I salute you. You give your best and you deserve to be thanked, not slandered.
On behalf of your clients, on behalf of the citizens of this nation who expect a fair legal system, and from me: Thank you for doing your best. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for your honesty and integrity. Thank you for all the help you give to clients who could not navigate the complex legal system without you.
You have my respect.