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Why is the Legal Profession Given a Bad Reputation?

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This article discusses the reasons lawyers are not seen as honest and reputable by the public. It will first describe why people see the profession in a bad light and then review from the lawyer's perspective. The bad reputation lawyers have acquired is not anything new. There have always been critics for centuries, so the proverbial ''fall from Grace'' must have happened long, long ago.

Some perception of lawyers have been around for a long time, and perhaps no one knows who came up with the bad reputation first, the public or the legal profession. Is it important to know? We do know there have always been complaints with different themes. The most recent data from the public says approximately 60% of the public think lawyers are ''greedy,'' and only 20% think that they are either "honest or compassionate". The public has always had a basket full of nasty comments and a laundry list of jokes. The protests of the public always change but they are always present.1
 
Why is the Legal Profession Given a Bad Reputation?

Currently more than 60% of those polled believe lawyers are no longer seeking justice. Then what are they seeking? Perhaps a win that leads to money and maybe a new precedence that gets their name on the nightly news. A small portion of those polled (25%) believe that the lawyer controls the outcome of cases to his advantage by artful and roundabout means without regard to what is actually right or wrong. (Deborah Rhode, 2008)

When lawyers are asked about their profession and their discouraging image, they respond in kind saying their bad image comes from the public. More specifically, because of bad press the public gets a less than fair view of the legal profession. The legal profession did their own research and found that most Americans, about 75%, have had direct communication with lawyers and more than a casual experience. It was found these are the people perpetuating a bad image. Also, corporate clients are credited with viewing lawyers as the worst maligners. On the other hand, all others who didn't have contact with lawyers got their information from the media and those opinions were favorable. So contrary to the lawyer’s belief, their own research proves the media created positive feelings.

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Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

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