By Lee Pitts
John Adams, our second president, once said, “In my many years I have come to a conclusion one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a Congress.”
And John Adams was a lawyer!
One of the BIG problems with this country is lawyers are running it.
Did you know 75 percent of all the lawyers in the world work in the U.S. and 94 percent of all the lawsuits in the world are filed here? A whopping 59 percent of our presidents have been lawyers and 78 percent of our secretaries of state. You can’t hardly throw a rock in Congress without hitting a lawyer, which depending on the size and shape of the rock, might not be a bad idea.
There are more lawyers in America today than there are nurses, doctors, auto mechanics, professors, cooks, hairstylists and school bus drivers. Talk about a misallocation of resources!
My grandpa wanted me to be a lawyer because I talked good. I won second in California’s FFA public speaking contest as a sophomore, losing out to the son of the assistant state FFA advisor. This was OK in hindsight because I won first place as a senior which helped me get elected state FFA president. At the western regionals in Kansas City, I placed second, two judges putting me first and the third burying me near last. I don’t know if he had a son in the contest or not.
There were several reasons why I didn’t want to be a gentleman of the bar.
First, I’ve always wanted to go outside and play. I’m a lunch bucket outside man and sitting inside a law library writing legal briefs for $450 an hour didn’t appeal to me.
So, what did I do? I became a writer and sit inside writing semi-humorous stories for minimum wage. I also didn’t want to put up with all the B.S., so what did I do, I raised cattle.
Lawyering didn’t ‘suit’ me because I didn’t want to have to wear a suit and tie. I’ve owned exactly one suit in my life and I’ve worn it twice. Once to a funeral and once to a fancy dinner on a cruise ship. I’ve never gone cruising since! I also hate sitting through meetings, and I bet I haven’t gone to two dozen meetings in the last 50 years.
Then there’s the whole idea of being a lawyer. Lawyers simply don’t get much respect. It’s the seventh least respected profession in America. So, what did I do, I became a journalist which is the third least respected profession, barely being edged out by car salesmen (number two) and politicians (number one).
For a ‘brief’ period I considered being a lawyer, but then I looked through a law book. The text was full of why’s and wherefores, hereafters and there-is, conveying and bequeathing. It was all just a bunch of legal constipation putting me to sleep. It was clear lawyers wrote so only other lawyers could understand what the heck they were saying. I agree with the astute observation the West didn’t need any lawyers until the lawyers got there.
Everybody tells my wife and I we need to see a lawyer and put all our assets in a trust, but I’ve resisted because I think the whole thing is just shoplifting for lawyers. I’ll illustrate by telling you a true story about some friends of ours.
The husband was named the executor of a very large estate which belonged to an old man with no wife or kids of his own. He specifically wanted to leave his ENTIRE estate, which included a nice cattle ranch, in a trust contributing to local charitable causes. Everything was supposedly in order, then a nephew popped up and said he should get the entire estate as the closest relative. He claimed the senile old man had just forgotten about him when the trust was written up by the lawyers.
To make a long story short, the nephew got the very valuable cattle ranch because the lawyers forgot a clause or two. Had they simply advised the old man to leave his nephew one dollar, thereby showing he wasn’t forgotten, the nephew would have gotten nothing.
It’s 99 percent of the lawyers in America like such who give the rest a bad name.