Thursday, December 19, 2013

lazy lawyers show indifference to their calling

Here's a chance to see inside the private professional world of lawyers.


You see, every attorney registered in the state of Ohio is required to attend 24 hours of continuing legal education(CLE) every 24 months.


Each lawyer can pick from among hundreds of  classes offered by various universities, law firms, government agencies, and Bar Association's.


The courses range from topics such as DUI prosecution to federal tax matters to estate planning.


The only mandatory courses are those that deal with professionalism, ethics, and substance abuse.


That last one, substance abuse, has become prominent as the stress of practicing law frequently drives some barristers to rely on drugs or alcohol to get themselves through the day.


The required courses in professionalism and ethics help  remind lawyers how to behave towards their clients, the courts, and other attorneys.


I attended one of these  instructionals the other day and  it was standing room only.



Here's my problem.


As you sit in these classes with your fellow lawyers, you need only look around the room to observe that only about 60% of the attorneys are actually paying attention to the professor.


The other 40% are reading a newspaper or magazine or checking their email on a laptop or an iPad.


I sat next to a woman who played solitaire throughout the entire class. The topic that afternoon was the subject of professionalism and ethics for lawyers.


I find it unethical and unprofessional for a lawyer to tell the Supreme Court which he has satisfied his  continuing legal education requirements when he was physically present for the lessons, but mentally completely absent.


If someone decides to tune out when the priest or minister is delivering a sermon, that little disconnect is between the worshiper and his God.


When a lawyer merely pretends to cooperate in the efforts of the Ohio Supreme Court to make sure lawyers remain competent and moral, something is wrong.


The disregard for the mandatory learning is blatant as the newspapers are rattled loudly by those catching up on the sports page.


Every lawyer in the state has seen this phenomena and it is growing at an alarming rate.


It's no wonder that recent polling ranks lawyers among the least respected of all professions.


We've done it to ourselves by making it seem that the almighty dollar reigns supreme above the concepts of  justice and truth.


The fact of the matter is that most lawyers are good, honorable people and most of them are sincerely attempting to participate in these required continuing legal education courses.


But those that are shirking this responsibility by merely going through the motions make me sick and I wish they would just go find another line of work.


The rest of us are trying to burnish the reputation of the legal profession and we don't need those who just don't care.


Lawyers, look up and learn.


Some of us resent your callous indifference to your responsibility.


Word is getting around.


Justice may be blind but she isn't stupid.



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