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Would you be a lawyer ERA?

Dec 8, 2018
853
#1
I’ve always wondered how some lawyers can live with themselves. Defending someone who you know is guilty seems like a very soul crushing job, I mean money is super important in this world and all but defending someone who is blatantly guilty is one of the few things you can’t pay me enough to do (heavy crimes like murder, child cases, etc).
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,039
#3
I’m trying to be a lawyer. You should specify criminal defence, if that’s what you’re talking about. There’s dozens of legal fields to work in.

In any case, you can also be defending people who are innocent in criminal defence. I’ve witnessed that myself.
 
OP
OP
Mondai
Dec 8, 2018
853
#6
So why does it make you feel uncomfortable? You’re generally working on the basis that your client is innocent unless they’ve told you otherwise, so you’re usually donning the mentality that you’re defending an innocent individual.
I mean surely you must admit that in some cases , you as a lawyer know your client is 100% guilty and you still choose to defend that person in court. Lawyers make good
money , but not even that much money is worth staining your “soul” (well for me anyways).
 
Oct 27, 2017
620
#7
I thought I was going to be a lawyer. Likely in criminal or international law. After seeing my friends struggle to find jobs and the enormous financial burden of schooling, I opted for a different career. Perhaps in another life.
 
Oct 28, 2017
5,912
#8
Being a lawyer is all about believing in your client and giving them every benefit of the doubt. That said, I'm sure many do have to defend obviously guilty parties.

Everyone has the right to an attorney, and a fair trial. So I don't think a lawyer playing their part should be seen in a bad light.

I used to think like you do, OP, but lawyers are an important part of society and I don't think that level of reductive thinking is entirely fair. I even said something similar to what's in the OP once in high school, that lawyers are paid to lie, and it turned out the girl across from me's dad was a lawyer. I didn't feel bad at the time because I thought I was right, but the older I get, the more I realize how shallow my thinking was.

That said, I would never be one. Too boring.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,060
#9
I'm in Law School so yes.

I’ve always wondered how some lawyers can live with themselves. Defending someone who you know is guilty seems like a very soul crushing job, I mean money is super important in this world and all but defending someone who is blatantly guilty is one of the few things you can’t pay me enough to do (heavy crimes like murder, child cases, etc).
You are aware that most lawyers aren't criminal defenses and that a lot of innocent people are charged and need to be defended. And Criminal Defense lawyers don't just ask their clients "are you guilty?" and then lie in court for something they know not to be true?

This isn't how criminal defense works....

If the client is "obviously guilty" the state will slam dunk their case. If there's an issue a jury can't be convinced of why are you claiming that its someone who "is blatantly guilty"
 
Nov 8, 2017
4,189
UK
#10
I have a couple of friends who are in criminal defense who said that they thought I'd make a good lawyer and should try if I wanted a change. I don't though, and whatever merit I might have in some situations I don't think I'd be able to hack the paperwork for years on end. Definitely an extremely interesting career but I'd rather be the guy that 'would be a good lawyer' over the one that dropped everything and was shit lol. I'm happy in my profession.
 
Nov 30, 2018
245
#11
I wouldn't want to be a lawyer but it's mostly cause I don't have the patience for it. I love to read and finished grad school but becoming a lawyer is another beast and my masters doesn't compare to a law degree.
Morally I wouldn't want to deal with criminal defense. Not everyone is guilty but being exposed to intimate details of grisly murders would strain me too much. Ironically though I would like to be a detective in said grisly murders not solely for ethical reasons; think it would be more "active" and challenging in a different way than lawyering is.
 
OP
OP
Mondai
Dec 8, 2018
853
#12
Being a lawyer is all about believing in your client and giving them every benefit of the doubt. That said, I'm sure many do have to defend obviously guilty parties.

Everyone has the right to an attorney, and a fair trial. So I don't think a lawyer playing their part should be seen in a bad light.

I used to think like you do, OP, but lawyers are an important part of society and I don't think that level of reductive thinking is entirely fair. I even said something similar to what's in the OP once in high school, that lawyers are paid to lie, and it turned out the girl across from me's dad was a lawyer. I didn't feel bad at the time because I thought I was right, but the older I get, the more I realize how shallow my thinking was.

That said, I would never be one. Too boring.
Being a lawyer is all about believing in your client and giving them every benefit of the doubt. That said, I'm sure many do have to defend obviously guilty parties.

Everyone has the right to an attorney, and a fair trial. So I don't think a lawyer playing their part should be seen in a bad light.

I used to think like you do, OP, but lawyers are an important part of society and I don't think that level of reductive thinking is entirely fair. I even said something similar to what's in the OP once in high school, that lawyers are paid to lie, and it turned out the girl across from me's dad was a lawyer. I didn't feel bad at the time because I thought I was right, but the older I get, the more I realize how shallow my thinking was.

That said, I would never be one. Too boring.
im not dissing lawyers , some of my cousins are lawyers , I just wonder how mentally tough you have to be to be able to defend an obviously guilty party.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,039
#13
I mean surely you must admit that in some cases , you as a lawyer know your client is 100% guilty and you still choose to defend that person in court. Lawyers make good
money , but not even that much money is worth staining your “soul” (well for me anyways).
I guess it’s just your perception of the job. “Staining your soul” is somewhat excessive when you’re performing a job under the assumption that your client is innocent. You never know if they’re 100% guilty unless they instruct you that they’re guilty or pleading guilty.

I’ve been in trials. The prosecution and defence speak to each other frequently to get the most clear and relevant information to the jury as quickly as is reasonable. Both sides acknowledge the other as a mandatory part of a justice system.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,060
#14
im not dissing lawyers , some of my cousins are lawyers , I just wonder how mentally tough you have to be to be able to defend an obviously guilty party.
Lawyers aren't obligated to represent clients they don't want to (unless the court assigns them, which doesn't happen often and def. not to "defend a obviously guilty party" in a jury trial)
Also, Factual Guilt isn't always Legal Guilt and we have laws for a reason
 
Oct 26, 2017
11,419
#15
If being a lawyer was more like Ace Attorney maybe. It's a fucking shit load of reading and paperwork that would bore me to tears even though the underlying ideas and mechanics of the judicial system fascinate me.
 
OP
OP
Mondai
Dec 8, 2018
853
#16
I guess my line of thinking is too simple in those terms. I know some lawyers must choose their own clients and don’t care whether or not they are guilty or innocent.hehe I would be a terrible lawyer, I’m too dumb for that.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,039
#19
It’s not about not “caring” if they’re innocent or guilty. Of course lawyers care about that, but they’re literally part of a system which says you’re innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, so their opinions on the supposed guilt of the defendant is completely irrelevant at the stage where they choose to represent a client.

You’re not the judge or jury, you’re someone who’s presenting the defence in the best way possible, because people with no legal training or knowledge defending themselves would be a mess.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,060
#20
It’s not about not “caring” if they’re innocent or guilty. Of course lawyers care about that, but they’re literally part of a system which says you’re innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, so their opinions on the supposed guilt of the defendant is completely irrelevant at the stage where they choose to represent a client.
This, also the framing shifts the entire question of who has to prove what.

Lawyers don't have say their clients didn't do something. They show the the state can't prove they did the act/have the requisite intent. The onus is on the prosecution
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,039
#21
This, also the framing shifts the entire question of who has to prove what.

Lawyers don't have say their clients didn't do something. They show the the state can't prove they did the act/have the requisite intent. The onus is on the prosecution
Yeah absolutely. No need to explain why your client had no intent to commit murder if intent isn't even an element the prosecution can prove themselves. (though it's still probably a good thing to express reasons for why intent would be doubtful or non-existant. Generally a case won't touch the judicial system until the elements of the offence can be proven.)

It's a fucking shit load of reading and paperwork that would bore me to tears.
Legal citation and case law makes me want to cry on a regular basis, so you're not wrong.
 
Oct 25, 2017
337
#24
I’ve always wondered how some lawyers can live with themselves. Defending someone who you know is guilty seems like a very soul crushing job, I mean money is super important in this world and all but defending someone who is blatantly guilty is one of the few things you can’t pay me enough to do (heavy crimes like murder, child cases, etc).
personally, from my moral framework, I could absolutely do that job based on my belief in the value of our* legal system

innocent until proven guilty and the right to legal representation are incredibly important cornerstones of civilization (even given the many faults of "Western" legal systems, especially when we're looking at the US)

*I'm in Germany
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,087
#28
I mean surely you must admit that in some cases , you as a lawyer know your client is 100% guilty and you still choose to defend that person in court.
The fact that a person commits certain act which one may or may not deem to be "criminal" is not equal to that person being guilty. Criminal law is an intricately tuned system in which there are a lot of prerequisites and conditions, a lot of modifying factors which affect the outcome. All of that is needed to ensure that severe consequences associated with criminal behaviour are only allowed to crystallise once a rigorous procedure takes its course and all relevant factors are examined, presented and taken into consideration. That's why law as a normative system is more complex than morality in which it's possible to simply decide that someone is 100% guilty and be done with it.

Anyways, personally I love being a lawyer. I never wanted to do criminal law, too much "ew!" stuff there. My parents were both in law enforcement and always told me to avoid it. But apart from that I think it's a great career (even if it's fucking impossible to get hired in certain fields), challenging, well paid, lots of amazing people around. Sure there are downsides as with any occupation, but I'm very happy with it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,060
#29
The fact that a person commits certain act which one may or may not deem to be "criminal" is not equal to that person being guilty. Criminal law is an intricately tuned system in which there are a lot of prerequisites and conditions, a lot of modifying factors which affect the outcome. All of that is needed to ensure that severe consequences associated with criminal behaviour are only allowed to crystallise once a rigorous procedure takes its course and all relevant factors are examined, presented and taken into consideration. That's why law as a normative system is more complex than morality in which it's possible to simply decide that someone is 100% guilty and be done with it.

Anyways, personally I love being a lawyer. I never wanted to do criminal law, too much "ew!" stuff there. My parents were both in law enforcement and always told me to avoid it. But apart from that I think it's a great career (even if it's fucking impossible to get hired in certain fields), challenging, well paid, lots of amazing people around. Sure there are downsides as with any occupation, but I'm very happy with it.
Yes!

For example, if someone kills another they might have self-defense or a heat of passion defense/involuntary manslaughter defense that reduces their liability. They deserve that defense that makes the state prove its case if its charging higher than that.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,416
#30
I’ve always wondered how some lawyers can live with themselves. Defending someone who you know is guilty seems like a very soul crushing job, I mean money is super important in this world and all but defending someone who is blatantly guilty is one of the few things you can’t pay me enough to do (heavy crimes like murder, child cases, etc).
First of: the smaller number of lawyers actually works in criminal law.

But if you do, you surely believe 100% in the rule of law and understand that every single person - no matter what you might think or believe - deserves the best defense they can get. Sure it's a position that is morally and intellectually extremely demanding. Somebody in that position should really take pride in what they are doing.
 
Oct 25, 2017
12,771
#31
I’ve always wondered how some lawyers can live with themselves. Defending someone who you know is guilty seems like a very soul crushing job, I mean money is super important in this world and all but defending someone who is blatantly guilty is one of the few things you can’t pay me enough to do (heavy crimes like murder, child cases, etc).
I mean surely you must admit that in some cases , you as a lawyer know your client is 100% guilty and you still choose to defend that person in court. Lawyers make good
money , but not even that much money is worth staining your “soul” (well for me anyways).
the reason lawyers defend people in court isn't simply that they are innocent. even those who commit crimes deserve representation in court else the system that convicts them is simply unjust. defence lawyers operate to legitimise the system as well as to defend their clients.

beginning to understand how feeny feels in half his cases

yes i am a lawyer but i don't practice because i don't really have a compatible personality type
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,822
#33
I’m a lawyer, so yeah.

The basis of our justice system is that in THEORY everyone is entitled to the same legal rights, whether they’re guilty or not. If they’re guilty then the system should suss that out no matter what I do as the guilty party’s lawyer. If they’re innocent then the system should prevent that person from being punished.

Obviously it doesn’t always work out that way in practice, but the second you stop adhering to the innocent until proven guilty standard as a policy is where you start cherry picking who we afford legal rights to. Sure society might not blink an eye when you decide that someone who raped and murdered a child doesn’t deserve due process, but over time society might decide murderers don’t, then they seem rapists unworthy and then eventually it’s assaulters then thieves and eventually it could be political dissenters who get locked up without being afforded legal rights. It’s too slippery a slope.

As for living with myself, it’s pretty easy. My clients have legal rights and it’s my job to vigorously defend them. No matter what I do, if my client is guilty then the judge or jury should find so and punish them. If they get off then the system failed but it’s not gonna stop me from doing my job. (PART of my job is defending actual pedophiles and rapists so couldn’t do my job if I wasn’t able to have this mentality, I admit it’s not easy and there are days when I’m reading graphic descriptions of my client’s crimes where I have to take a break from it all but ultimately I swore an oath when I was admitted to the bar and I intend to uphold it for as long as I’m a lawyer)

* Also should note I work for the government so it’s not like I get to pick and choose who my clients are
 
Last edited:
Oct 27, 2017
4,502
#34
im not a riminal lawyer but i do believe that anyone does deserve to have a defense. its not like prosecutors or judges have no legal degrees and someone needs to consult the prosecuted about their options.

 
Oct 27, 2017
1,377
#37
I don't believe I'd be able to distant myself emotionally from my personal beliefs to adequately represent a suspect I don't believe in at all in a court of law. I wouldn't be able to advise that person on how they shouldn't incriminate themselves further or try to use laws to protect them because even though that may be what I should doing as a professional it would go against every moral fiber in my being.

I believe that everyone is entitled to be legally defended, regardless of degree of culpability. I just couldn't do it myself.

There are few things in life I hate more than injustice.
 
Oct 27, 2017
13,981
#40
First of all you're talking specifically about criminal defense. Second, it's fairly easy to come to terms with. Everyone deserves a right to a fair trial and the system is already so skewed towards the State that clients start with an uphill battle. Then you add in police and prosecutorial conduct and you've got a doozy.

Third, you assume that all laws are worth defending such that their violation should be punished. Tell me, do you think individuals caught with a little marijuana in their pocket should go to jail for years? Do you think illegal immigrants should be sent to jail for attempting to re-enter the country after being deported? Do you believe a mentally challenged Individual should be sentenced to death?

I find it much harder to think about being a prosecutor where everyday your sending people to jail, some for minor stuff, some who are probably completely innocent, and some who are "guilty" but you only obtained the evidence to convict them through misconduct.
 
Oct 28, 2017
788
#41
Tax lawyer here.

Reason I chose tax over the criminal was the daily dose of horrible shit you have to deal with. It's one thing defending a criminal, sure I could do that, it's my job and the law is the law.

However, it's another thing subjecting yourself to the absolute worst side of humanity on a daily basis. That I couldn't do.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,385
#42
People are prosecuted erroneously all the time. In theory, part of the responsibility of the defense lawyer is to try to help try to make sure only guilty people get convicted. You really don't want to live in a world where only cops and prosecutors get to decide who is guilty without being challenged. A part of that process is sometimes defending really awful people who did horrendous things. Even in those cases, the defense lawyer attempts to enable the correct prosecution and convinction of such a person, and this is also necessary.
 
#44
Different here in the UK. With the Barrister/Solicitor divide. Barristers generally represent individuals in court, although the lines are been blurred with Solicitor Advocates now capable of having higher rights of audience.

I haven't taken the further training for higher rights and have no plans to. Advising clients in an office setting is what I prefer. With that said, I'm looking to change careers, to retrain and become a Personal Trainer along with my partner who's currently studying for qualifications.

I've realised that the Legal Profession isn't for me.
 
Dec 24, 2017
1,160
#45
Being criminal defense counsel isn't about getting your client off of charges/punishment. It's a lot about making sure the state/prosecution does its job correctly in convicting people. If a client is guilty, then he will be found guilty, but the criminal defense lawyer is there to ensure that the prosecution meets all of its standards, that the rule of the systems are followed and that people are convicted based on the merits of the case the prosecution has built.
 

jcs

Banned
Member
Aug 7, 2018
1,513
#46
No. The hours are too long. My SO is in law school and expects to work 10-11 hours everyday in the future and I'm sure there's random on call tasks to do as well. Not worth the $180k starting salary.

I'm in tech and make less than that but still over $100k and I clock out mentally after 5pm.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,572
#48
Criminal lawyer? No, I don't think I could handle it. I wouldn't have the stomach to defend someone whom I knew was guilty, and on the flip side, I couldn't prosecute someone whom I believed to be innocent.

I think I could do alright as a contract lawyer though. I had to take Contract Law 1 and 2 in college, and I excelled in those classes, while at that point in my life, I couldn't be bothered to do the work in most of my other classes.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,917
#50
Lol, I do video game and board game law. Easy to sleep at night.

Even so, everyone should get a legal defense for their rights. The justice system isn't exactly a fair one...

I'm in Law School so yes.



You are aware that most lawyers aren't criminal defenses and that a lot of innocent people are charged and need to be defended. And Criminal Defense lawyers don't just ask their clients "are you guilty?" and then lie in court for something they know not to be true?

This isn't how criminal defense works....

If the client is "obviously guilty" the state will slam dunk their case. If there's an issue a jury can't be convinced of why are you claiming that its someone who "is blatantly guilty"
Great post.