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Where’s the Lawyer Love?!

By now, I’m used to lawyer jokes. My favorite goes like this:

A guy walks into a bar in his hometown after being away for years. The bartender recognizes him and says, “Hey, Jimmy. What’s new? I hear you’re a lawyer now.”

“It’s true,” he replies, “but don’t tell my mother. She thinks I’m the piano player at a whorehouse in Vegas.”

Lawyer jokes aside, current events haven’t shined too brightly on the legal profession. In fact, two major areas of American society have essentially thumbed their nose at attorneys and the judicial system itself.

In the NFL, greedy owners have locked out woozy players. The labor strife has led to forced mediation and litigation on various fronts. The players face the prospect of losing paychecks and the owners face the prospect of fan backlash and a multi-year, antitrust action.

During the process, however, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, among others, has bemoaned lawyers being involved. The essence of his sentiments are, “Keep the lawyers in the hall and let the businessmen work this out.”

In fact, just recently, letting lawyers back at the negotiation table almost resulted in blowing up the meetings, so much so that players’ union head DeMaurice Smith had to tell his counsel to “stand down.”

Imagine that PR nightmare for our profession: “Sorry, fans, there won’t be an NFL season this year, or fantasy football, because the attorneys are gumming up the gears of resolution.”

Awesome. Thanks guys.

In a more important arena, SEAL Team Six iced Osama Bin Laden on May 1. And let’s not fool ourselves – there was no intention to capture him and allow a trial in the Hauge, Guantanamo Bay, or a federal court in New York City. No 5th or 8th Amendment rights issues, Miranda warnings, or ACLU clamoring about mercy and due process.

Nope. This was Hammurabi’s Law. Eye for eye. War.

The unspoken sentiment is that the judicial process of trying Bin Laden would have been a joke – a costly, drawn-out spectacle, followed by an expensive and laborious appeals process, during which he’d spread his vitriol until the 8th Amendment allowed him to be put to sleep by a needle or two.

Frankly, to paraphrase what a friend of mine said, it seems just that the last thing Bin Laden saw was an American SEAL and the business end of an assault rifle.

Stateside, the federal criminal justice process was dissed, too, when Eric Holder decided that 9/11 conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be tried by a military tribunal as opposed to 12 New York jurors. While I agree with the decision, it’s a little embarrassing when you’re afraid your criminal justice system can’t adequately handle a criminal of that magnitude.

It also would have meant hours upon hours of ramblings by Nancy Grace and Dan Abrams – the cable programming equivalent of being waterboarded.

You know another thing that adds to the negative attitude towards attorneys? Clowns who write e-mails like this.

How do we combat all this negativity? Where’s the positive PR?

Umm, Anthony Weiner’s not a lawyer! Neither is Sarah Palin! I mean, we gotta start somewhere, right?

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Jason P. Beaulieu

Quick personal aside: This is my last post for Generation JD. I’d like to thank the Daily Record, its readers and staff for their support over the past 14 months or so. It’s been fun and, at times, therapeutic. Having turned 40 this year, however, it’s time for a fresh voice in this space. Have a fun summer and, as always, thanks for reading.