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LAWYER 2[edit]

Lawyers are people who understand law and will do anything to put food on their table.Most lawyers are caring and think that it is not always about money but about helping the innocent and putting away the guilty. by:Na'Kyiah —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:11, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Are you being sarcastic?

Along similar lines, why does Wikipedia tolerate such blatant bias in its articles on law? Take for example, in the intro:

"Law is the system of rules of correct wrongs, maintain stability, and deliver justice."

I'll bet most lawyers even think of it that way.

Conversely, I could be just as biased and say:

"Law is a system in which people with power and money commit wrongs, practice coercion, and commit various forms of emotional and financial violence against people with less power and moooooooney."

Wouldn't it be more neutral to take out the value-based claims and include something like:

"Law is a system via which individuals use power to control others."

I mean, it could be expanded upon, maybe including a bit about the system's claims to be under the power of the people, etc., but at least it wouldn't be making POV claims about "correcting wrongs" and "delivering justice." (talk) 05:06, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

This is an article about the legal profession, not law. If you have a problem with law, take it up at Talk:Law. --Coolcaesar (talk) 07:39, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

The comments above are about this article, as indicated. The bias of the language in this article is of concern here. If people who write this and other articles about law are lawyers and thus indoctrinated into their system, they will naturally use very biased language that tends to support their belief in their system, as indicated in the above comments. Legal terminology implicitly builds bias into its structure. You need people who don't have a stake in the system to rewrite, put terms in quotation marks, and add criticisms. (talk) 01:01, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

I think you need people with some knowledge and some good books to hand to write articles. And then I think the way it works on Wikipedia is that those people respond to legitimate concerns, which are backed up with reasons and examples of improvements that could be made. I see a very knowledgeably written article with a range of sources. I don't see legitimate concerns. Maybe we are all socially constructed beings, carrying forth inherent biases, yadda, yadda postmodernist yadda. But that doesn't really help this article much! Wikidea 12:09, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Of course you don't see the concerns as legitimate. You're a lawyer! You're probably one of those indoctrinated people who thinks this:

"Law is the system of rules of correct wrongs, maintain stability, and deliver justice."

is unbiased. Who says it corrects wrongs rather than committing them? Is helping people to sue others for the sake of revenge under the guise of 'compensation' correcting or administering a wrong? And what about delivering justice? Who defines justice?

My concerns are legitimate. Some of the language in this article is legal language (instead of encyclopedic language). Legal language is full of weasel words that attempt to legitimize the system a lot of lawyers and some others have a huge stake in. Using legal language to describe the system is like using mafia language in an article about organized crime, or filling an article on war with military terminology (euphemisms such as KIA instead of killed for example).

The use of the word "justice" should be a red flag. Law only = justice in the eyes of those who approve of it. I'm certainly not the first person to say that the legal system confuses justice with revenge. (talk) 10:04, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Find a citation for these arguments, and they can be included in the article. Zoticogrillo (talk) 10:09, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't want these arguments included. I want obvious weasel words such as "justice" removed. Anyone should be able to see a bias in these terms. If I wanted to include a citation, I'd look for arguments that discuss how lawyers are little more than pawns of the wealthy and powerful to abuse those with less power - how the system is responsive primarily to power under the guise of justice. But that is not my goal here. My goal is simply to change the language so it's less biased. Basic Wikipedia POV policy. But I'd rather get some kind of consensus before changing it myself just to be reverted. (talk) 05:22, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Funny, your own bias towards a CLS Marxist-influenced view is pungently obvious but you probably are unable to see it. This article is NOT the place for a debate about the legitimacy about the legal system or the power structures that may or may not be embedded in it (a debate that in some aspects is a fascinating intellectual exercise but in practical terms is rather pointless). Wikipedia policy, as you should know, is that Wikipedia is not a soapbox (see Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not). Again, this is an article about the legal profession(s). If you have a problem with the legal system, take it up at Talk:Law. If you are unable to distinguish between the legal system versus the legal profession (this is, like, basic ontology), then I can't help you and we'll just get into an edit war until you are permanently blocked. --Coolcaesar (talk) 06:44, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

I am talking about this article. This is a discussion, not an edit war. You only come to the conclusions you have by distorting what I've actually said and arguing as if I've said something that's easier for you to argue against.

Understanding that money, power, and bullying play a role in the legal system is hardly Marxist. Even businesses can be bullied with legal threats. And I'm not talking about whether power struggles are embedded in the system. I'm talking about whether the language in this article - such as the word justice - is biased, since the word implies legitimacy and fairness, and that such fairness exists in the system is questionable. I make my arguments only to point out how questionable such language in this article is, not because my argument is necessarily right, but to show such an argument exists - and to assume the opposite of my argument, which this article does by using words such as "justice," is bias.

Now, Coolcaesar, you are a lawyer. You're supposed to know how to give legitimate counterarguments to legitimate arguments. So why don't you do so rather than setting me up as your straw man? Ironically, you use an implied threat yourself - that I could be blocked - as a form of power to censor what I'm saying. And I give far fewer arguments on various articles than you do.

Please, Coolcaesar, recognize that I am talking about this article - its use of biased language. (talk) 23:04, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Please familiarize yourself with Wikipedia core policies - WP:NPOV, WP:NOT, WP:NOR. Again. As Zoticogrillo pointed out, you need to find sources for your POV. This is NOT the place for a debate over substance versus image in the legal system. As far as most lawyers are concerned, the objective of law is to deliver justice, even if it often falls far short of that objective in practice. Otherwise we could just go back to self-help (as in helping oneself to anything one wants) and anarchy, as is the case in failed states. But most people choose to live in nation-states and to subject themselves to the rule of law because they recognize that the alternative is even worse.
For example, the objective of medicine is to save lives and improve health (and in turn, quality of life). Does medicine fail in that objective? Very often. Doctors either mess up, or are confronted with diseases beyond the capacity of current medical science, and people die horribly and under tragic circumstances all the time. Does that mean we should call medicine a field that kills people, and call physicians killers? Certainly, there are a lot of sources from the 19th century that call physicians killers, and in fact quack sciences like homeopathy and chiropractic got their start because allopathic medicine during that period was just so terrible (look at how George Washington died). But that does not mean that we allow the entire articles on medicine or physicians to reflect what is now a minority view, although I'm sure there are probably a few Wikipedia editors who would love to sneak in bias against medicine or physicians, but can't do it because of the NPOV and NOR policies. It is appropriate, of course, to briefly address criticism of a field in an article. And in this article, I have already done that by inserting the quote from Hazard's published secondary research, and by referring readers to the Nolo Press book which comprehensively compiles criticism of lawyers in rich detail. That is as far as we need to go. --Coolcaesar (talk) 21:15, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Coolcaesar, please familiarize yourself with Wikipedia core policies. As much as you complain, you violate them more than just about anyone else. (talk) 06:18, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't think you've fairly represented what I've said, and I think this article violates the very policies you refer to, by using language that creates a sympathy toward its subject. And that language is embedded in English legal systems and their derivatives. But I don't want to belabour the argument any more. I'm going to sign off talk pages for a while. And juging from all your comments over this page, maybe you should do the same. (talk) 06:34, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

There can be no doubt that there are bad laws, so equating law with justice isn't really fair or unbiased, but it seems to me that the law is an (often flawed) attempt to be just. I don't see how anyone can argue that people of privilege and influence spend huge amounts of money to influence the law for reasons other than "correcting wrongs, maintaining stability, and delivering justice" any more than I can see anyone arguing that despite it's failings this is the intent and proper purpose of law. It seems to me much of this ire is misplaced. It would be a simple matter to change the language in such a way as to acknowledge both the intent and shortcomings of the law. "Law is the system of rules of conduct... which attempts to correct wrongs, maintain stability, and deliver justice." --Cpatechnut (talk) 19:37, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Why I countermanded an incredibly bad merge proposal[edit]

Lawyers and the practice of law are two separate and distinct concepts. The practice of law article deals with a term of art that refers to certain acts which if done by a nonlawyer are illegal in some jurisdictions. The practice of law article is a law and economics discussion which is quite distinct from the sociological approach to the legal professions in the Lawyer article. This is basically about the difference between economics and sociology, which should be self-evident. Merging makes no sense because the practice of law issue is very specific only to some jurisdictions, already receives adequate coverage in the Lawyer article, and is elaborated on at length in the practice of law article. Only a nonlawyer (or someone with no training whatsoever in law, economics, or sociology) would be naive enough to propose such a merge! --Coolcaesar (talk) 07:37, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Is it me, or has it gotten a little smuggy in here?  :) Zoticogrillo (talk) 03:19, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

new merge proposals with "Attorney at Law" and "Practice of law"[edit]

Many articles in the legal section suffer from poor drafting. This is partially as a result of repetitive information and a lack of focus, among other things. Therefore it is proposed that many of the articles be merged into sections of a single article in order to aid in drafting. It is hoped that this will encourage elaboration on the sections by editors. But it will also reduce the number of poorly drafted articles. Previous objections to mergers have not been followed by substantial improvements to editing. Therefore it is observed that the conservative approach is ineffective.

Plus, the "Attorney at law" title is simply stupid. It's like lawyers using the title of "Esquire." Come on! There's no difference between an "attorney at law" and a lawyer. Zoticogrillo (talk) 03:31, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

You clearly have not read the Lawyer article itself or the supporting literature cited (especially the works written or edited by Rick Abel, the most prominent expert on the sociology of the legal profession). Most of those works can be located through WorldCat at the library of any decent university in the English-speaking world and are also partially accessible on Google Books. Your abysmal ignorance of the published literature is terribly obvious.
The meaning of the word "lawyer" varies extensively from language to language as well as within the dialects of the English language itself, so to equate it with "attorney at law" sounds rather parochial (or provincial), and you can look forward to one hell of a nasty edit war with Wikipedia's UK editors if you do not understand that. For example, as noted in the first section of the article, the word "lawyer" includes many law-trained persons in England who would not be treated as lawyers in the United States. If you trace the article history, you will realize that I personally wrote about 97% of this article and added all those citations, so I know the relevant literature much better than you do (in fact, I've read nearly all the extant literature on the comparative sociology of the legal professions in the course of writing this article).
I strongly suggest you back off your quixotic merge proposal. This is a fight you will lose. Merging the article on attorneys at law into this article would result in an article that fails to take a worldwide view in violation of Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias, because there are dozens of aspects of the American legal profession that are unique to the United States alone.
Indeed, if you look at the article history, you'll see that my rewrite of this article almost three years ago was specifically calibrated for compliance with the "Countering systemic bias" project's objectives, because lawyers from outside the U.S. and UK found the article (as it existed prior to my rewrite) to be hopelessly overfocused on those two jurisdictions. The only way you could win would be to achieve a larger consensus to abolish the "Countering systemic bias" WikiProject, thus allowing articles across the encyclopedia as a whole to decompensate to localized perspectives. Trust me, you will be banned from Wikipedia permanently if you attempt to do that. I am willing to take this dispute to ArbCom if necessary (take a look at User:Ericsaindon2 for what happened the last time I did that), but I hope you will come to your senses first.
As for the larger problem of poor drafting throughout the legal articles, it's because so many persons contributing to the legal articles are either not lawyers or were poorly trained, and the few Wikipedia editors who are skilled drafters (myself included) are simply too busy drafting motions for their well-paying clients to clean up more than a small portion of the huge mess on Wikipedia. Your proposed solution makes no sense; you are proposing that we conflate a well-written article with a poorly written article and making an even bigger mess which no one has the time or energy to clean up. --Coolcaesar (talk) 07:10, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
The role and responsibilities of lawyers do differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Why not have sections addressing some of them, as is done in similar articles? Parts of the "Attorney-at-law" article could be merged into the U.S. section. Zoticogrillo (talk) 18:32, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Why not merge the "practice of law" article into this one? Zoticogrillo (talk) 18:33, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Wow. It looks like you're totally unaware of how Wikipedia articles on complex, controversial subjects grow and evolve over time. Keep in mind that I've been doing this twice as long as you have.
First of all, are you even aware of the fact that there are over 170 countries in the world? The problem is that the concept of the "lawyer" is so horrendously complex, and varies so dramatically from country to country, that any attempt at structuring the article in the way you describe will inevitably result in a gigantic mess with about 30 to 50 country-specific subsections, of which four or five will be much longer than others (the U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada). Then we will end up with edit wars (as is occurring on Community college right now) with some editors demanding that those sections be split back out to separate country-specific articles and a rewriting of the article in a country-neutral fashion. That was what actually happened with Capital punishment and Freedom of speech, so now we have country-specific articles on capital punishment and freedom of speech for almost every major country in the world, and both articles take a country-neutral perspective with links to the specific articles for each country. Take a look at Province for another article with a similar problem.
Furthermore, keep in mind that most lawyers, especially outside of the U.S., do not have training in sociology or other social sciences. This is because of the insanely stupid idea in most countries that law can be taught as an undergraduate major, while the U.S. has long recognized that law is so intellectually demanding that it should be taught in graduate/professional schools to mature adults who have already earned a bachelor's degree and endured a few years of postcollege life experience. The result is that the Lawyer article that existed prior to my rewrite had several country-specific sections which were very poorly drafted (because being able to practice law in one's own country does not guarantee that one will be able to describe one's profession in a neutral and sociologically sound fashion).
There is no need to go through such nonsense with this article (going to and from a country-specific article structure) when I have already drafted it in a country-neutral fashion that carefully explains what lawyers generally do without giving undue weight to any particular country's structuring of its legal professions. Keep in mind that one could easily write an article 40 pages long on the complex evolution of the legal professions in France (as Anne Boigeol actually did in the essays actually cited in the current version of Lawyer), or Germany, or the United States, or Japan, or any modern industrialized country. But no one (except sociologists of the professions) would read it. That is why the current article is written at a very high level of generality for a general nonlawyer audience.
As for the practice of law article, the problem is that the particular debate described in that article is heavily specific to the U.S. and reflects a complex tension between public and private regulation that arises from U.S. libertarianism. Merging that would create too much U.S.-specific emphasis on an issue that arises solely from a U.S.-specific political philosophy (and I'll note that it's one to which I'm personally sympathetic, but I also recognize its unpopularity at the global level). You've clearly not contributed to Wikipedia long enough to realize that there is a large group of editors who believe that article sections that are too specific to any one country ought to be split out into separate articles. While I strongly disagree with that view (as evidenced by the situation with Community college), it must be taken into account when proposing any potential article merge. --Coolcaesar (talk) 07:10, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Settle down there! I have a suggestion. This article shouldn't be called "lawyer" but "legal profession". The latter encompasses a greater range of things. Leave out the rubbish hyperbole like "are you even aware that", etc, etc. What I suggest - and quite right this article can't have a section for each country - is a template which gives the articles for lawyers in each country, like this one:
Changing the terminology would also make that first para unnecessary. For a lot of "places" the word lawyer just doesn't mean that much (or Attorney at law, etc) Other things you could fix on the page are:
  • why four footnotes columns and not two?
  • why is the history section not first, and not linked to its own main article?
  • perhaps each content heading could be shorter?
  • where are any external links, eg the American Bar Association, the Law Society of England and Wales, for example.
  • there must be so many more valuable pictures you could include, search here: and why are the existing ones not at natural size?

All the best, Wikidea 11:27, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Maybe this would be more productive if we zoomed out a bit, instead of arguing over specific ideas.

It would be quite a challenge to merge the "practice of law" article and the "lawyer" article because of the length of the articles, and although I haven't looked at the articles closely enough, presumably it is possible if an editor is willing to spend the time necessary, because the topics are so closely related.

Merging the "attorney at law" and "lawyer" articles should be much easier. Most of the content in the "attorney at law" article can be removed entirely, and mention can be made in the "lawyer" article that lawyers may be called by different terms in different jurisdictions, "attorney at law" in the US being one such example. Alternatively the "attorney at law" article could simply be retitled something like "Lawyers in the United States" or "Legal profession in the United States." Zoticogrillo (talk) 18:40, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I've tried to resist, but I can't help but comment to Coolcaesar: After considerable research and work with the Juris Doctor article, which resulted in resolving the endless editing wars in that article, it never occurred to me to address someone as you have above when they suggested changes to the article. You've created quite a show of it, actually, and it's almost funny. But enough of that... back to the task at hand... Zoticogrillo (talk) 19:01, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
But Zot, I don't think you can merge "attorney at law" with this. "Attorney at law" is a term only used in America. The article is all about America. That's why I suggest, you use the above templates and have one for each country: instead of picking some culturally specific noun (lawyer, barrister, solicitor, notary, attorney, attorney at law, etc) just have "Legal profession in the United States" and so on. And change the name of this page! Trust me, it'll work. Wikidea 21:55, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
The reason why the history section is not first is because it's incomplete, and the reason it's incomplete is because the history of the legal professions in Europe literally explodes in all directions in the Middle Ages (as canonists throughout Europe began to turn their attention towards advocacy in the secular legal systems). And then the colonization era brought the idea of the lawyer into many other cultures that had formerly not had lawyers (because their legal systems had previously adhered to the view that people should represent themselves in courts.
Just drafting the current synthesis of the current status of the legal professions around the world was massively time-consuming in itself. I've been too busy for two years to figure out how to research and draft a compact synthesis of the history of the legal professions from the Middle Ages to the present that would be properly sourced and would take a worldwide view.
As for the situation with the footnotes, I have no idea what Wikidea is talking about because all the footnotes are displayed in a single column in Internet Explorer.
The problem with putting in pictures of lawyers is that then we get into nasty edit wars about which lawyers should be in the article.
The problem with external links is that (1) Wikipedia is not a link directory and (2) the links suggested by Wikidea are unnecessary because those would be links to bar associations or law societies, topics on which we already have specific articles (and for which there are external link sections in those articles). The article is long enough as is (and needs to be that long in order to cover such a huge topic in a manner that respects the diversity of the legal professions around the world). There is no need to pad it with unnecessary external links.
Finally, I agree with Wikidea's suggestion that creating an article for each country linked through the above templates from this article might work (in terms of creating a place where country-specific information could be shunted to while this article remains country-neutral as much as possible), but I disagree with Wikidea's idea as to the name. It's clear that all English dialects agree that legal professionals are called "lawyers." The difference is in how expansively that term should be construed. The better solution, then, is to keep this article under the current title, but then have articles like Lawyers in the United Kingdom that explain the specific types of lawyers in each jurisdiction (and of course the only type of lawyer in the U.S. is the attorney-at-law). Keep in mind that Wikipedia policy (see WP:NAME) is go to with what things are most commonly called; most people who are sued will say, "I need a lawyer," not, "I need a legal professional." --Coolcaesar (talk) 09:19, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
The point about terminology is that "lawyer" means different things in different places, so it should be about the "legal profession". Wikidea 11:18, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Also, nobody watches this page, and the only person who would object to changes would be you! So if you're making the changes, then I'm sure nobody would object (eg on photos and external links). I think you need some external links - not a directory, but some important ones. Wikidea 11:20, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
But that's precisely the problem---many, many countries have multiple "legal professions," as noted in the article, so it's technically incorrect to speak of the legal profession. Furthermore, if we go to the "legal profession" terminology, then we risk getting into nasty edit wars with well-intentioned editors in the paraprofessions (paralegals, legal document assistants, secretaries, and the like), which is a huge monster of a problem in itself (because the paraprofessions are still rapidly evolving); having a division between professionals and paraprofessionals (in health care, law, and so on) is unique to North America. Keeping with the "lawyer" article title keeps the paraprofessionals out of it, because the first thing U.S. paralegals learn is that they will get into big trouble if they try to pass themselves off as lawyers. But on the other hand, they clearly think of themselves as a type of legal professional. Take a look at this Web page from NALS and note the use of "professional" discourse. Do you really want to open that Pandora's box?
Also, you're clearly wrong about no one watching this article. If you actually bothered to look at the article history, you'd see that several Wikipedia editors track this article and revert vandalism on a daily basis. So it's important to gain consensus on major changes. --Coolcaesar (talk) 15:12, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Please leave out the lines like "if you actually bothered" - I was saying if you want to change things, I doubt people would object (even if there are people stopping vandalism). And my real point is, I'd support you. Sarcasm isn't appropriate, is it? I'm very intelligent, and diligent! And I'm on your side.
As for the rest, it's up to you. I'm just trying to help. I put the heading "legal profession" in the law article from the beginning. I think it's good to be inclusive, and there is room for paralegals, etc (probably somewhere in a footnote or small "other" type section). It's not opening Pandora's box at all. Anyway, that's all I have to say. Wikidea 15:21, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
It just occurred to me, of course you're right that the concept of legal profession is probably broader. So perhaps there's a good case for having that as an article in its own right? The paralegal article seems to be very good. Wikidea 15:28, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I hereby ban use of the term "Attorney-at-law"  ;) It's an archaic and meaningless term, and as Coolcaesar has stated, no one says, "I'm getting sued, I need to call my attorney at law" (as opposed to the attorney at the deli, or the attorney at McDonald's). The only title worse that "attorney at law" is "attorney and counselor at law." Jeeze. Ok, there's my rant. Zoticogrillo (talk) 18:21, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I need to respond to the above (by both Zoticogrillo and Wikidea at length, but I am way too busy this week. --Coolcaesar (talk) 11:51, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
After giving it a lot of thought, I think I see where Wikidea is going. I agree that a separate Legal profession article might be a good idea as long as it is limited to a brief explanation of the messy situation with professions and paraprofessions and then has links to this article, the various legal professions articles (solicitor, attorney at law, barrister, civil law notary, etc.) and the paralegal article for more information. The key difference between professions and paraprofessions is that paraprofessionals generally cannot practice independently while professionals can. This is why civil law notaries are treated as the equivalent of lawyers (because they open and operate their own offices), while paralegals are not, because paralegals must always practice under the supervision of a lawyer.
However, I continue to oppose the proposed merge of Practice of law and Attorney at law. The concept of the practice of law, in terms of defining it in order to ban the unauthorized practice of law, is highly specific to the United States, due to the obsession of American lawyers with protecting the general public from incompetent laypersons and frauds. Similarly, the concept of the "attorney at law" is specific to the United States and is loaded with connotations and concepts specific to the U.S. I reiterate that there is no need for a merge because this article is properly devoted to a general, geographically neutral overview of the legal professions, while the other articles are properly geographically specific.--Coolcaesar (talk) 17:04, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Attorney should be merged with lawyer or legal profession. It is redundant. Zoticogrillo (talk) 22:31, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I would prefer to see separate articles on lawyers of specific geographic areas. For example: Its embarrassing that "litigator" was redirecting to lawsuit until I recently changed it. In the US, a litigator can be a specialized discipline in a corporate law firm, along with the other specialties. I think other major jurisdictions would also benefit from more specific information in well-linked sub-article. --Bobak (talk) 17:21, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree. And again, synonyms should be merged. Zoticogrillo (talk) 22:00, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

That's precisely the problem. Would you agree that solicitor and barrister should be merged here then? After all, attorneys, solicitors, and barristers are all legal professionals. Do that and I guarantee you will seriously anger Wikipedia editors from all three professions.

You keep reiterating your position without providing any support while I have provided numerous reasons in support of my position. You should at least have the decency to concede your abysmal ignorance of the comparative sociology of the legal professions.

There are enormous differences in the practice of law in the United States versus elsewhere that require a separate article be maintained for the U.S. legal profession. Major components of U.S. legal practice that are not found elsewhere (or are spreading elsewhere because they developed in their mature form here) include:

  • Graduate/professional academic background as opposed to bachelor background
  • Attorneys either do their own legal research or delegate to junior associates, summer associates, or law clerks
  • Mostly regulated at state level instead of national level
  • 50 different states and 50 different bar exams
  • Emphasis on billable hour
  • Contingent fees
  • Class actions (requiring hearings on class certification and decertification, which is a whole field of practice in itself that is simply unheard of in most countries)
  • Jury trials
  • Strict limitations on admissibility of evidence
  • Continuous trials (in other countries, trials can be discontinuous with large gaps because a jury is not present)
  • Heavy reliance on live testimony, cross-examination, oral evidentiary objections, and oral argument
  • Tight restrictions on unauthorized practice of law by nonlawyers
  • Highly specialized support staff such as law firm accountants, law firm office managers, law firm interior designers, law firm human resources officers, law firm information technology administrators, law firm copy clerks, legal secretaries, legal recruiters, etc.
  • Parallel systems of federal and state trial courts resulting in concurrent jurisdiction over many types of actions which leads to forum shopping
  • Business casual dress
  • Better offices for law firms (since bigger businesses in general can afford better office space)
  • Aggressive, expensive pretrial discovery including e-discovery
  • Aggressive pretrial motion practice such as last-minute ex parte applications
  • Largest number of lawyers participating in a fully unified profession (other countries have less population overall or split off tasks like conveyancing to specialized professionals whose skills and responsibilities are very specific and limited)
  • Largest legal sector in terms of contribution to GDP (because the huge and litigious U.S. population results in a massive, intricate body of law)
  • Largest number of large law firms in the world (most lawyers outside of the U.S. are solos or practice in very small 2-5 lawyer offices)

So my point is, the American attorney is unique in that compared to lawyers elsewhere in the world, he or she more likely has better academic training in legal analysis, is older and more mature, works for a larger firm, for more money, on more complex cases involving dozens to millions of parties (if the case is a class action) and more sophisticated legal issues, in a larger number of geographically disparate and/or legally distinct (federal v. state) courts, with the assistance of far more specialized staff, on the basis of more creative billing arrangements, and under relatively comfortable but much more mentally stressful conditions. In the U.S., in many contexts (like depositions and trials), if you don't object RIGHT NOW and with the RIGHT objection, you just WAIVED it forever. So that's why attorneys in the U.S. are so attentive while on the record (and get paid very well for it), because they have to be ready to interject the right objection to the other side's prejudicial question. You never know if that one objection, that one line on the transcript, might be what the appellate judge will focus on in granting a decision in favor of your client.

Of course, if you were a lawyer, or worked for a law firm in some capacity, you'd already know all this. Anyway, I think I've made my point that a merge is inappropriate at this time because of all these unique aspects of the U.S. legal profession.

I finally did the research and obtained good-quality sources specific to the sociology of attorneys in the United States two weeks ago and plan to complete my rewrite of the Attorney-at-law article when I have the time and energy during my next scheduled vacation. --Coolcaesar (talk) 11:34, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

It appears that you are saying that the Attorney-at-law article is about the practice of law in the United States. You seem to assume therefore that "Attorney-at-law" is the most common term for lawyers in the United States, more common than both Lawyer and Attorney. You claim to have provided support for your argument. I don't see any support for your assumption. "Attorney-at-law" is an archaic and senseless term, which cannot be distinguished from "Attorney," and in the U.S. is indistinguishable from "Lawyer" and in the courts "Counselor," all of which terms are more common than "Attorney-at-law." And just as an aside, you seem to claim that U.S. legal practitioners are superior to those in other countries, which is unconvincing and a common "American" deception. Zoticogrillo (talk) 20:11, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
The advantage of the term attorney-at-law is that it is the most common term that can be used without confusion (that is, with attorney-at-fact). Of course, since you seem to have such a strong irrational dislike for it, we can always compromise on "attorney," which is definitely the most common term and is unique to the United States in that it is the dominant term for a lawyer in American English and practically nowhere else.
As for the issue of the quality of U.S. legal professionals, my point was that they are unique rather than superior. But definitely, there's something to be said about a legal professional who is older, more mature, and educated at some of the top research universities in the world, with the benefit of some of the largest law libraries and most brilliant, well-paid full-time law professors in the world, and who has forged his/her advocacy skills on the anvil of the Socratic method. If I were a client, I'd rather have that, then a lawyer barely out of puberty who studied law as an undergraduate in huge lecture rooms staffed by part-time law lecturers (who are doing it as a hobby to supplement their real jobs), at universities that are uniformly mediocre, and learning about legal systems that are anywhere from ten to fifty years behind innovations developed in the U.S. like the contingency fee, the class action, market share liability, bail, Cumis counsel, etc. --Coolcaesar (talk) 07:16, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Plus I just obtained an article from the International Journal of the Legal Profession yesterday indicating that partners at top tier law firms in Australia are acutely aware of their firms' inferior status in the global economy compared to U.S. and UK law firms (the study was based on interviews with 24 partners at 17 Australian firms). Planning to add that to the law firm article soon. --Coolcaesar (talk) 18:42, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Great, I finally go on my badly needed vacation but forgot to pack a lot of things because my brain was fried from too many all-nighters in the same month! Among the things I forgot was the folder full of the photocopies I was planning to key in citations to, in this article, Attorney-at-law, and Law firm. Guess that will have to wait until I come back. At least I remembered to bring my passport. --Coolcaesar (talk) 11:36, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Next time I'm introducing a lawyer at a cocktail party in the U.S. I'll be sure to tell people that the lawyer is an attorney-at-law and NOT an attorney-at-fact, so that there's no confusion. Because I'd hate for anyone to misunderstand the point. Boy, how embarrassing that would be. Or, wait, no... maybe saying that would make me look like an idiot! Zoticogrillo (talk) 02:45, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I'd support the view that lawyers in different jurisdictions should have different pages. There are details in the ethical and legal responsibilities that would be difficult to capture in one page...As I was told at my law school, lawyers are meant to be social engineers and since society in each jurisdiction is different, the lawyers (and their personal values) and the social engineering (the system they create and operate in) should be different too. At the same time, there is a lot of common ground that lawyers cover in different jurisdictions. I think it should be expected that an article on the general topic of lawyers will always be the subject of intense debate in all fora. In a nutshell, I am not sure this debate has an end to it. Perhaps it is the debate itself that brings to light the true nature of lawyers! Saurabh.jaywant (talk) 23:24, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

The new Titles section borders on original research[edit]

The problem is that several of the citations are to primary sources (as examples of) rather than secondary (as synthesis or statement about). Plus the citations need work. Am I the only editor working on this article who actually knows how to draft citations properly? Okay, maybe the Bluebook is too much to ask (it takes about four years of study and practice to master) but Turabian or the Chicago Manual of Style are not that hard. --Coolcaesar (talk) 18:48, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Well, it's slowly getting better but the Titles section still has major, major problems that actually push this article FURTHER away from ever reaching featured article status rather than TOWARDS it. The major problem is that 10 of the citations are directly to Web pages for individual lawyers or law firms. This would be appropriate for an article about THOSE particular lawyers or law firms, but is inappropriate if the citations are being used to support broad generalizations about the legal profession. Basically, it constitutes original research. It also violates Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not (namely, Wikipedia is not to be used for advertising). We need to keep links to individual lawyers' pages out of this article, or else we are going to start having nasty edit wars as part of Google bombing campaigns (on the basis that if he can have a link, why can't I), all in violation of What Wikipedia is not. Furthermore, none of the individuals or law firms linked to is particularly notable with the exception of Morrison & Foerster LLP, which already has its own Wikipedia article.
If no one fixes those citations in the next month, I am going to start deleting them and replacing them with citation needed tags. --Coolcaesar (talk) 07:13, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
This is really pissing me off. No one has fixed this. Someone is obviously doing Google bombing via Wikipedia to boost their obscure little law firm's Google ranking. I am cleaning out the links to non-notable private law firms and individual lawyers immediately. --Coolcaesar (talk) 04:46, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
The purge is done. If I did such sloppy sourcing like that for an academic paper, a legal brief, or even a newspaper article, I would be fired or expelled. Such poor-quality sources may be acceptable for articles on Celine Dion, but this is an article about a serious subject that should aspire to a higher standard (as I have established with the consistently high quality of contributions to this article). The other citations in the Titles section have serious problems (they're either improperly formed or incomplete) but are at least slightly more reliable than the garbage I just deleted. --Coolcaesar (talk) 04:53, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

I am sorry that I didn't have time to properly format the citations, although the citations were accurate and complete. Bryan Garner would admire your aspirations for perfection in the small details.

As I understand your postings, your objections are that the content is original research, it uses primary sources, the citations are to unreliable material, and that the citations could be an attempt at "Google bombing." I believe that further explaination can satisfy each of your objections.

Original research is, according to the wiki policy article, "unpublished facts, arguments, speculation, and ideas; and any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position." The content at issue relies on no synthesis of material to make an original position, presents no unpublished arguments, speculation or ideas, but merely states facts which are evident, and gives examples. No inferences are drawn from the facts, but the facts are merely listed and stated as they can be found in the citations. The facts are published, as seen in the citations. The citations are direct and clear and require no interpretation or inference. Therefore, because the content fails to conform to the definition of original research in every way, the content is not original research and cannot be so characterized to any degree.

According to the section on primary sources in the above cited OR wiki article, "All interpretive claims, analyses, or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary source, rather than original analysis of the primary-source material by Wikipedia editors... Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation. Without a secondary source, a primary source may be used only to make descriptive claims, the accuracy of which is verifiable by a reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge... Do not make analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about information found in a primary source." As discussed above, the content makes no arguments, gives no explaination, and requires no analysis, but is merely a cold listing of facts (or descriptive claim) as plainly evident in the citations. No interpretation of the sources is necessary. Any literate person without specialist knowledge can clearly see in the sources the facts described in the content. Therefore, because the primary sources were properly used, no objection to the citations merely because they are primary sources can prevail.

It is of course important to use reliable sources, as also stated in the wiki policy article on the topic. That article states that sources should not normally be self-published, although, "reliable self-published sources are allowable in some situations." Another wiki policy article states that, "Anyone can create a website or pay to have a book published, then claim to be an expert in a certain field." However, the disputed citations present no arguments, analysis or claims and are factual examples only. The article goes on to say that self-published sources that are questionable may be used so long as "it does not involve claims about third parties, [and] there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity." However, the article further states that, "Questionable sources are those with a poor reputation for fact-checking." The sources do not make claims about third parties, there has been no issue raised with the authenticity of the sources, and the sources have no negative reputation for poor fact checking (etc.). Objections should be phrased in terms of wiki policies, or sould at least cite to guidelines. The objection to the citations because they are of individuals and firms that are not notable requires a subjective and overly-restrictive standard which cannot be supported by any wiki policies or guidelines. Nonetheless, most of the firms and individuals in the citations are significant in their regions, and are not insignificant internationally as many of their profiles can be found in important listings such as Martindale. Therefore, because no relevant objection to the reliability of the citations has been raised, and because the citations are probably reliable anyways, there is no justification for the exclusion of the citations because of their characteristics.

The inclusion of the citations by myself, a completely disinterested party, was not "Google bombing." The citations were good examples and were not unnecessarily duplicative. It is highly improbable that "Google bombing" for numerous professionals of greatly diverse backgrounds would be submitted at once by one individual in the format described. I am an editor with diverse submissions to wikipedia and with no disciplinary record, and I did not "Google bomb" by submitting the content at issue.

Therefore, because the content is highly relevant and informative, meets all of the wiki policies, and cannot be objected to for any objective or relevant reason, the content should remain. But the content must be verifiable, and because the citations also meet all of the wiki policies and conform to the guidelines, the citations cannot be excluded either.

I believe that I have discussed the issues thoroughly. Please feel free to comment or correct any errors below, but further debate should be submitted to arbitration and not extensively entertained here. Zoticogrillo (talk) 09:23, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Please read my argument again above. Please also reread the section of the No original research article that is titled "Synthesis of published material that advances a position." The problem is that you are not citing those private Web sites for factual assertions about the particular subjects of their Web sites. For example, it would be acceptable to cite the Macau Lawyers Association's Web site to support an assertion about the history or composition of that organization, or to cite Michael Harrington's Web page in an article on the University of Montana School of Law to support the assertion that he is an alumnus of that school and that he applies the title of Doctor to himself.
The problem is that you are going one step BEYOND the content of the sources. Nowhere in the disputed sources do they attempt to make a BROAD generalization about the use of a particular title in a particular geographical locale to describe a member of the legal profession.
Humor me. PLEASE, please quote me any passage on Dr. Michael Harrington's Web page where he actually says (let alone implies) that "some J.D. holders in the United States use the title of 'Doctor' in professional and academic situations." Or quote me a passage on the HG page for Studio Misuraca, Franceschin & Associates that actually says that Italy is a country "where holders of the first law degree traditionally use the title of doctor." Kind of hard, huh?
The fact is that YOU are the one drawing those generalizations. That's unacceptable. If you cannot find a published reliable source to support your assertions, you need to stand down and BACK OFF until you can find such a source. If no one has bothered to publish on the the use of lawyer titles in a particular jurisdiction, well, then you need to publish that article in another publication first.
Wikipedia is not a publisher of original research. Is that frustrating? Yes. Is that negotiable? No way. ArbCom and Jimbo Wales have repeatedly reaffirmed the importance of NOR to WP. If you're just too lazy or busy to travel, in person, to a major academic law library (duh, it's not that hard, unless you live in a state that doesn't have one) and find the secondary sources on the subject of titles of lawyers, please display some integrity and just ADMIT IT. Unlike you, I have made the time to find over 100 hard copy sources in real law libraries, and the fruits of my (generously donated) labor are spread all over this article.
Note that I have significant experience with how ArbCom has interpreted the "No original research" policy, having successfully prosecuted User:Ericsaindon2 through ArbCom to a temporary ban for repeated violations of NOR. Then he attempted to violate the ban through sockpuppets, and was permanently banned by the admins.
And if you know enough about legal writing to know about Bryan Garner, you should know better than to make the kind of facetious argument that you attempted to make (poorly) above. --Coolcaesar (talk) 07:53, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Your thinking and communication relies on a great number of assumptions, particularly about me personally. I notice that you make authoritative claims, but do not cite actual article texts, or give specific examples applying authority to the facts at issue. You also provide poor analogies. I will try to ignore what is irrelevant and focus on the issues at hand, particularly since I am not addressing only you personally, but the community of editors as well. I am sorry if my postings were not clear before. I will try and format this one in a format more familiar to you.
Response: (to be read together will original posting above)
Wikipedia:PRIMARY states, "a primary source may be used only to make descriptive claims, the accuracy of which is verifiable by a reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge..." (Kind of reminds you of the admissibility of lay testimony, doesn't it?)
Wikipedia:BURDEN states that content "must be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation. The source cited must clearly support the information as it is presented in the article."
As previously discussed above, the sources must be reliable, as stated in Wikipedia:Reliable sources.
According to a composite analysis of all relevant wiki policy articles and guidelines, as discussed above, the requirements for citations in wikipedia are not the same as those of a law review article, and perfection is not required, particularly when such perfection is impossible. For policy reasons, wikipedia can't do it any other way, as it would be an unacceptable compromise of wikipedia's mission as an open encyclopedia.
Fact Summary:
The content submitted to this lawyer article cites primary source examples as support for the claims made, and numerous examples are provided when possible. The credibility, or reliability, of the citations appears to no longer be at issue in your reply.
Analysis and Conclusions:
The burden of evidence (or verifiability) for the proposed content has been met since reliable citations providing factual examples of the content have been provided. The examples are facts, or descriptive claims, which can easily be seen by an "educated" person (or even an uneducated one).
Nonetheless, the content contributes to the mission of wikipedia as an encyclopedia, and the principles of this article cannot be forgotten. Therefore, the proposed content and citations are easily acceptable, according to wiki standards.
If it is your intent to continue to own the article and un-do my edits, then please submit the issue to arbitration, as I have already invited you to do. Zoticogrillo (talk) 20:37, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
Frankly, I am appalled by your narrow-minded "composite" invocation of WP:RS, WP:PRIMARY, and Wikipedia:Ignore all rules, which essentially pretends that WP:NOR and WP:NOT don't exist. Reminds me of how second-rate lawyers from fourth-tier schools fall back on general principles of equity, after I've squashed their legal arguments flat. Your smooth prevarications that your content "contributes" to WP's mission, that it is based on "reliable" citations, or that it is "acceptable" are transparently ridiculous for the reasons I have already stated. On the contrary, poorly sourced content based on unreliable sources that do not support the assertions for which they are cited are unacceptable.
The indefensibility of your position is revealed by your statement that "perfection is not required, particularly when such perfection is impossible." I am not asking for perfection. I am merely asking for you to make edits that are not original research. Proper edits simply restate analysis which has already been published elsewhere in a reliable source; improper edits attempt to do a first synthesis which has not been published elsewhere. That's what you're doing. I note that you also failed to refute my challenges as to the cites to the Macau Lawyers Association, Michael Harrington, and Studio Misuraca, Franceschin & Associates. Again, please read Wikipedia:No original research.
The fact that you attempt to describe what I'm asking for as "perfection" implies that you have never attempted it. Furthermore, you evaded discussing my challenge to go to a law library, which implies that you've never done it for Wikipedia (please correct me if I'm wrong). In fact, going to libraries and looking up sources to support one's assertions is what competent, ethical scholars and writers have been doing for thousands of years, long before the Internet existed. That's not perfection. That's just being merely competent.
In any case, I agree that at this point, our positions are so far apart and irreconcilable that arbitration is the only solution. Unfortunately, I am so busy this summer working 60-hour weeks litigating a Very Big Case for a Very Big Client that I do not have the time or energy left over to deal with the time-consuming ArbCom process. I will initiate arbitration accordingly when work slows down and I do have the time again to deal with this. --Coolcaesar (talk) 18:36, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
If this posting does not directly address all of your challenges, it is not an admission to them, and this posting should be read together with my previous postings above.
I believe that I have already addressed the substance of your objections, and although there may be more that could be said on the topic, I believe the most valuable arguments have already been made (besides what I may have overlooked), and that further prolixity should be avoided. Nonetheless, there are some logical flaws in your posts (most of them informal fallacies or a kind of red herring). Not to say argumentum ad logicam that your conclusions are false (since you do make some good points), and not to assert some kind of unwarranted authority. But I post this to make an observation of the character of much of your argumentation, particularly since such characteristics are common in your postings. For sake of clarity I have organized them as follows:
Ad hominem, Appeal to emotion (spite) or judgmental language: This, along with appeal to authority, is the most common characteristic. The postings have used language such as "narrow minded," "second-rate," "ridiculous," and more specifically, "Am I the only editor working on this article who actually knows how to draft citations properly?" "If you're just too lazy or busy to travel, in person..." and "...please display some integrity..." Such language attacks the individual editor and not the actual content or arguments regarding the admissibility of content. Since it often assumes negative characteristics of the individual, it is disrespectful and offensive. And its repetition shows that it is deliberate.
Straw man or Appeal to ridicule: This is related to the characteristic just mentioned. You have stated that my "facetious" argument requires a "composite" of rules, and that I pretend that some rules "don't exist," which is not true. I have given a list of reasons why the content is admissible, and have extensively discussed all of the relevant rules. Your characterizations are false and inaccurate, and by repackaging my arguments in such a false way you are trying to illicit an emotional response in the reader by trying to make the arguments appear foolish, when they are not. Any reader can read my words and make their own judgment.
Appeal to authority: It has been stated that, "I have significant experience with how ArbCom has interpreted the "No original research" policy..." and "I am so busy this summer working 60-hour weeks litigating a Very Big Case for a Very Big Client..." Your personal qualities are irrelevant.
Argumentum ad baculum or appeal to force: Your "having successfully prosecuted User:Ericsaindon2 through ArbCom to a temporary ban for repeated violations of NOR...and [she] was permanently banned by the admins." is not relevant to the present situation, and is a kind of a threat.
Proof by verbosity: You have posted very long responses which have contained numerous instances of straw man re-packaging, personal attacks, and irrelevant examples, possibly hoping that no one will bother to actually read the entire argument presented by the other side.
Special pleading: You have ignored the fact that wiki rules state that some primary sources are acceptable and have implied that all primary sources are to be excluded, without justifying why.
Nirvana fallacy: You interpreted wiki rules in a draconian manner, even ignoring some rules such as the acceptable use of primary sources, and have demanded that there can be no exceptions or alternative interpretations.
Since logical fallacies tend to cloud arguments, often to the detriment of the the declarant/proponent (because they offend the senses of the observer), I believe that your position could benefit considerably by identifying these fallacies and concentrating on the logical strengths of your position. That is, I believe that by identifying them I have lessened the negative effect they may have on your own arguments, and I am therefore posting this more out of courtesy and respect than as a criticism.
Oh, and if you are curious about me personally, please just ask on my talk page. I don't usually mind familiarity, particularly when it can aid in dispute resolution. But just to wet your palate: I chose my school's offer over that of the Georgetown law center (not to say that either is "objectively" any "better" than the other). Zoticogrillo (talk) 22:43, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Deletion of Ambrose Bierce sourced quote[edit]

Coolcaesar, could you please not delete relevant and sourced material as you did at least twice[1][2] already? Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary is a cultural classic; this short and sourced quote is quasi universal and perfectly relevant in the context of a section entitled "Cultural perception of lawyers". Calling such quote in such place "POV" and "original research" and "systemic bias" is thrice inappropriate and has the appearance of wikilawyering, especially when using overly formal summaries such as "Countermand POV and original research which also violates the systemic bias guideline" that reek with false authority. Actually, as a lawyer yourself, your POV-pushing may be seen as a Wikipedia:Conflict of interest when trying to suppress such cultural quote even in a minor section of this article. – Unless you are suggesting to counter the POV and systemic bias of using only an outdated Black's Law Dictionary quote for the WP:LEAD, and to move the Bierce quote there too? Maybe that would make the lead more complete, balanced, and NPOV.

If you want to work on that section, it seems to me that ADDING to it would be more relevant than deleting, as there is a lot of "cultural perception" missing, such as: (1) the perception of some lawyers as White Knights, especially for fights in the civil liberties arena (as touched upon U.S.-wise with the secondary meaning of country lawyer), and (2) the fact that a lot of criticism of lawyers is actually misdirected criticism of some laws and the Legal system (that should fall first at the feet of the Legislative branch).  The Little Blue Frog (ribbit) 15:30, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

You're violating the systemic bias guideline and you're going to piss off, if you haven't already, a LOT of lawyers outside of the U.S. I don't like the systemic bias guideline either, but it reflects the consensus of the Wikipedia community. Bierce's book is too tightly bound up with a particular time and location in United States cultural history. You're obvious not familiar with the history of this article as I am. Go back about three years or so and look at the massive edit wars between editors from different countries. My comprehensive restructuring of the article so that it takes a worldwide view brought that under control. Do you want to open up that Pandora's box again?
Hazard and the Roths, in their sources already cited in the article, both went out of their way to try to systematically evaluate criticism of lawyers on a global basis and across many civilizations and time periods. Bierce does not. Unless you want to compile here a balanced collection of quotes from various geographical sources, which would fill up a book. The Roths have already written that book. There is no need to reproduce their labors here.
Furthermore, you're also violating what Wikipedia is not. See WP:NOT, which states that Wikipedia is not a dictionary, Wikipedia is not a soapbox, Wikipedia is not a blog, and in particular, Wikipedia is not the home of "lists or repositories of loosely associated topics such as (but not limited to) quotations, aphorisms, or persons (real or fictional)."
Finally, if you were paid to write for a living (I am) you would realize that inserting a bitingly satirical quote in an article that is attempting to take a neutral tone about a very touchy and controversial subject essentially breaks tone. It just looks extremely amateurish and childish. I used to engage in occasional "breaking tone" stunts like that in my writing, oh, back when I was 15. Then I went to college and learned all about New Criticism, close reading, and reader-response criticism, and also how to write properly. --Coolcaesar (talk) 19:52, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Again, please stop wikilawyering and throwing everything and the kitchen sink at me from the policy toolbox in the hope that something may stick; this is not a lawsuit but a discussion to improve an encyclopedic article that you do not WP:OWN. Some quotes from Aristophanes to Shakespeare have found resonance among people of all ulterior times and places and languages, and this Bierce quote, "LAWYER, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law" is as short and universal as one could be. It's been translated in most languages and no one will be "pissed off" from resenting it as some outdated localism rammed down the throat of international readers (as could be quotes involving O. J. Simpson or barristers or such). Calling this single universal quote "systemic bias" or a collection of random quotations is nonsense and you know it, so let's get down to the real work (some of which I proposed as additions above but you didn't comment about, even though they went in your direction). To be fair, I'll commend the fact that you didn't revert the Bierce quote again while we're discussing the issue here; let's try to squeeze a better article out of the argument:
  • Since you're bringing Hazard et al going "out of their way to try to systematically evaluate criticism", I feel you have been slightly misrepresenting both the nature and extent of this source by not disclosing that it's only a half page and the context of their evaluation; it doesn't change radically the quote, but I'm going to add more context to let the reader know that it's not a 200-page monography about it. Diff of this change.
  • And far from being exhaustive, the Hazard source you selected leaves out several major worldwide criticisms, pardon, "cultural perceptions" of lawyers, such as being amoral mercenaries, working against the law, or the infamous "The trouble with the law is the lawyers" (aka "The trouble with law is lawyers", attributed to Clarence Darrow or Oliver Wendell Holmes depending on whom you ask). I'm trying to complete this with the Bierce quote. And since you object to the naked Bierce quote I'm going to wrap it within the context of a Bryan Horrigan book that use it to illustrate and summarize a chapter about criticism of lawyers. Diff of this change.
  • Another area of discussion, I feel, would be the order you prefer the two paragraphs to go. We have the Hazard para followed with the Horrigan/Bierce para: I think it would be a useful compromise to swap them to have first the specific Horrigan/Bierce point, followed with the Hazard para linked with "More generally, ..." In this way, we go from a single point to a more general study, and we do not conclude this section with the cynical quote that offend you so (though Wikipedia is not censored), also helping with your tone issues. Diff of the swapDiff of the linking.  The Little Blue Frog (ribbit) 19:59, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
P.S.: Inserted the diffs showing what I'm talking about.  The Little Blue Frog (ribbit) 20:16, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with your edits but will accept the modified version as a good faith compromise at this time until I can find a better source than Bierce to represent the position inherent in that quote; I concede that some criticism on that point should be included, but feel that the Bierce quote is inappropriate because Bierce was not a sociologist or a lawyer and made no attempt to survey the profession at a global level in any comprehensive fashion---that is, he lacked the factual foundation and qualifications to make a broad generalization about the profession, and in fact was probably writing only about the Anglo-American legal profession as it existed in the early 20th century (and of course, the profession itself has changed dramatically since then). But there are over 200 countries in the world, and if you've edit Wikipedia long enough, you will come to realize that there are lawyers in other countries other than the U.S. or UK who dislike American and British lawyers acting as if the particular conditions of their legal professions are automatically representative of all legal professions worldwide (which is not the case).
I also strongly disagree with your ad hominem characterization of my position as nonsense. It sounds like you're unaware of the large literature on the sociology of the legal profession, much of which I've read and added citations to in this article.
My motive is very simple: I am sick and tired of editors (who are ignorant of the relevant literature) inserting random quotes into articles and turning them into rambling garbage along the way (see the gigantic mess in 187 (murder) for an example). Also, the discussion in Hazard et al. of that particular issue actually covers almost six pages, not just half a page, which you should know if you have read it. --Coolcaesar (talk) 15:08, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

(out) I'm glad that we can at least agree on the kernel that one or two common criticism/prejudices lack documentation: from this we can work out the details of how to document and phrase it, possibly without the Bierce quote if something better is procured.

  • For the Bierce quote, though, I don't think its origin or original context matters nowadays: what's important is that this old quote has not been forgot but constantly cited, including in books about the legal profession, and not just in the U.S.; Bierce may not have been an international sociologist and his oeuvre as a whole may not be universal, but the fact that this very quote has been so often cited and translated shows that he encapsulated something resonant and universal. The origin of a quote doesn't matter so much when it becomes archetypal. (Dante's Divine Comedy was originally about contemporary matters such as the Guelphs and Ghibellines wars at one symbolic level, but that didn't prevent it from becoming universal; when JFK invoked Dante and paraphrased him with "The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis", the original intents and qualifications of il signor Alighieri didn't matter any more and didn't prevent the quote from being considered resonant and appropriate.) So, I don't see Bierce "writing only about the Anglo-American legal profession as it existed in the early 20th century" being a problem per se nowadays, as long as the quote has proved to be resonant and cited in a universal context: everywhere in the world the common people will complain that lawyers defend even child molesters or are paid by the wealthy to help circumvent the laws, and Bierce is oft quoted because he put that in a nutshell.
  • On the other hand, for the Horrigan book I used to wrap Bierce with context, it was a matter of opportunity and it could be replaced with a similar but better-known publication (ideally something from a group or committee). As it stands, it was a legal book, with a chapter dedicated to myths and perceptions of lawyers, using the Bierce quote adequately, and from a legal researcher who has a Wikipedia article, so I picked it among various others while shopping at Google Book's.
  • To briefly revisit "nonsense", it wasn't about your position but your way to defend it by hurling arguments such as "original research" and "systemic bias" and "not a collection of quotes".
  • About Hazard, as I see it, this part of the chapter was concerned with regulations of lawyers, about which he first reviewed some past regulations across the world, about which he noted that they were repetitively similar, apparently because they stemmed from a repetitive set of common professional complaints about lawyers, and this point is half of p. 60, plus a specific table of 13th c. England grievances on p. 61. This means that it won't touch at all common criticisms or perceptions of lawyers that are not professional misconducts (defending child molesters, finding legal loopholes and technicalities for the wealthy, etc.) and is thus incomplete for our article's section which is about "cultural perceptions", which has to also document common criticism/prejudices. It also means that it's not a dedicated, comprehensive study on the topic but a contextual aside for his secondary subject of past regulations, itself an introduction to his main subject of regulation of lawyers: the only real documentation is about 13th c. England, the Bible and China are mentioned in a single sentence, the end. (He doesn't even mention criticism of lawyers in Ancient Greece! Litigation was the Athenian lifestyle, Sycophants and Sophists were the #1 plague of the Greek Islands, and we have thousands of primary and secondary sources in fiction and non-fiction on the topic, from Aristophanes to Lysias.)
  • As for editors inserting random stuff, an open and collaborative article will never be written in the same way as a single-author document: the best we can do is to insert little notes<!--like this--> to document certain points or things not to be changed lightly. But then, I'm also of those who think that a text is more lively with quotes that let the subject speak rather than paraphrase him/her, and with the judicious use of quotes to replace illustrations on abstract subject (some articles even use judicious quotes in small floating boxes on the side of the prose to replace pictures).

About completing this section, I have some other proposals. The main one I already touched upon above, but I'm going to open a new section below to propose and discuss it.  The Little Blue Frog (ribbit) 20:48, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Second part of Cultural perceptions[edit]

As mentioned above, I think the "Cultural perceptions of lawyers" section is not only lacking documentation of some criticisms, but should also briefly document those rare positive perceptions of lawyers. (It would not only balance the section, but should also make it flow better: currently, as before the Bierce quote, the section doesn't really end or conclude but just... stop after the quoted enumeration of grievances: I found it read a bit strange, that's also why I originally placed the Bierce quote there as a sort of closer.) I'm not going to add it now, but here's a prototype of a paragraph that could be appended to the section, to show what I mean:

In contrast to this hostility, some individual lawyers have been popularly admired as modern white knights, especially in the domain of civil liberties, from Mahatma Gandhi to Robert H. Jackson and other country lawyers seen as protectors of the common man.

It obviously needs work and a few more undisputed international examples, but it gives a basis to talk about.  The Little Blue Frog (ribbit) 20:56, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

I concur that it would be a good idea to put in a positive line as well, but it would be easier if you just found a real source that actually states some of the positive views of lawyers, rather than trying to make up a statement which even if probably true, also constitutes OR. I don't know why so many Wikipedia editors find it so hard to use Google Books or go to a real library. That's how I obtained 95% of the sources cited in this article. --Coolcaesar (talk) 07:12, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Mahatama Gandhi's public appeal did not (does not) appear to be his identity as a lawyer, but rather as a political (and, perhaps, philosophical and moral) force, particularly in the context of the anti-colonial movement. But I do strongly agree that lawyers are often respected in culture, even if the functioning of the given legal system they operate in leaves something to be desired.

We cannot, for instance, appropriately cover this point for jurisdictions where the legal system is linked with other systems (religion? Communism?) since that would give rise to more (unresolvable) argument. We should record its (many) legitimate criticisms rather than delve into how it is reviled by any number of people (some of whom are ignorant and others satirical) since everything is reviled by someone. Unless such a criticism helps the reader understand what a "lawyer" is, it should be avoided. Derogatory remarks about lawyers may help understand lawyers (in which case they should stay) or may not help (in which case they should go). As far as I can figure, even lawyers enjoy some digs at lawyers! One more point - has anyone read "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Would that qualify as culturally significant? I hear the book did well in some parts of the world - the lawyer may have been imaginary, but the cultural impact (the subject of this discussion) of the book appears to have been quite real. Saurabh.jaywant (talk) 00:19, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

There are hundreds of notable fictional lawyers besides Atticus Finch. For example, Sonia Sotomayor, the current U.S. Supreme Court nominee, states that she was motivated to become a lawyer by watching the Perry Mason television show. I do not want to open up that can of worms because that debate will never end (and if you have edited Wikipedia for a while, you will soon realize that Wikipedia is prone to internecine edit wars over such minor issues). The issue of which fictional lawyer is interesting, but is NOT relevant to this article. --Coolcaesar (talk) 13:23, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

First sentence of "Cultural perceptions"[edit]

I propose to expand the current first sentence:

Hostility towards the legal profession is a widespread phenomenon.

with the more referenced (and lively):

As can be seen from the Bible ("Woe unto you, lawyers!", "seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.")[1] to Shakespeare ("The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."),[2] hostility towards the legal profession has been a widespread and documented phenomenon.

References that'll show up in notes:

  1. ^ Jesus to the lawyers (experts in the Mosaic law), Luke 11:52 & 54, from 44–54 in context: Jesus said, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them. / Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. / And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. / [...] / Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. / And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: / Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him." (King James Version 44–46 & 52–54)
  2. ^ Dick the Butcher to Jack Cade, Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene II, Line 76, cited with context by: Phyllis Bridges, "First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers", in Corners of Texas, ed. Francis Edward Abernethy, Publications of the Texas Folklore Society, vol. LII, Part Two "Folklore", 94–104 (University of North Texas Press, 1993, ISBN 0-929398-57-2), 95: "Shakespeare's line [...] is the remark of a folk character, a common man called Dick the Butcher, a follower of rebel Jack Cade. Dick's suggested annihilation of lawyers is meant to be taken as folk humour. This line, first spoken on stage around 1590 and first published in 1594, evidences a basic animosity towards lawyers among the folk of the Renaissance. In the four hundred years since the composition of this line, attitudes towards lawyers among the folk have changed very little." (introduction to a paper on the topic).

(The chapter quoting Shakespeare was found by User:Gordonofcartoon.)  The Little Blue Frog (ribbit) 21:02, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

It is more lively, but is it accurate? I was taught that the famous Shakespeare line is oft-misunderstood - as it was uttered by a criminal bent on mischief, and wanted to peremptorily remove those who might interfere. It has been years since I heard this, so I poked around to see if anything supported my view. Here's one example - [3] "Ironically, this now infamous phrase was originally intended to pay homage to lawyers. In Shakespeare’s play, the phrase was spoken by a villain and to better understand the context in which the phrase was used, we need to paraphrase it as follows, the first thing any potential tyrant must do to eliminate freedom and the rule of law is to kill all the lawyers."--SPhilbrickT 19:46, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Please don't misunderstand the use of words that are sometimes used aggressively... but Shakespeare's intent is not relevant--public interpretation and use of the quotation is. Who cares what Shakespeare thought about lawyers? If the general public has used the line to disparage or in the context of criticizing the profession, then it is a relevant citation supporting the proposed content. However, an example of the use (or mis-use) of that quotation for that end must be required, which requirement is probably satisfied by the use of the Phyllis Bridges citation, although additional examples should also be included. Nonetheless, if the citation is being used as an example of historical animosity, then it is possibly insufficient. Zoticogrillo (talk) 22:36, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Headline text[edit]

Lawyers described as the devils advocate but its not true. They do a good to society defending on the rights of the mischevious and the good persons.

Just countermanded an incompetent good faith edit by Grundle2600[edit]

There are several problems with that edit:

  • Original research in violation of Wikipedia:No original research. The source cited does not make that assertion. You are asking the reader to draw an inference.
  • Incorrect interpretation of a clause quoted out of context. Anyone with experience in close reading would see that the clause at issue is actually a boilerplate clause inserted into DOJ job listings regardless of the job, which means the assertion is false and/or misleading. Close reading is taught in most American high schools in the junior year. If you haven't studied it yet, pay attention when it's taught. If you have studied it and forgot it, go to any decent public library and read a standard literary criticism textbook.
  • Undue weight in violation of WP:UNDUE. This is an article that has to analyze its subject at a very high level of generality due to the complexity and geographic scope of the subject. The edit suddenly tunnels from macro to micro in a way which makes zero sense. --Coolcaesar (talk) 16:46, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm not a lawyer, but you seem to know what you're talking about. Grundle2600 (talk) 18:57, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Attorney - short note[edit]

Just a short and I hope helpful comment, which I have tried to make here and there in the law articles, but which may not be clear to everyone here. In some jurisdictions - mine being a case in point of course - not all lawyers are attorneys. On any analysis I count as a lawyer: I appear in court, representing clients, sometimes even wearing a wig and gown, and have to pass a bar exam (and a bunch of other things) in order to do so. But I am not an attorney. I am very keenly aware of this since, as a barrister qualified for direct access work, lots of my clients would like me to be.

If I were an attorney at law, I could appear on the court record, conduct litigation and so on. I can't do that because my professional rules forbid it.

The historical distinction that still exists in England is between solicitors (who are attorneys at law) and barristers (who aren't) and its a really practical difference. The fact that there's only one profession in the US means the distinction is blurred.

Its an arrangement that has its pros and cons, but good or bad, that's the way it is. Francis Davey (talk) 00:06, 18 February 2010 (UTC)


Do we need this sentence "Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political and social authority, and deliver justice." -- or can I remove it?--达伟 (talk) 10:09, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Please remove it. It is heavily biased. Or changed "wrongs" to "professed wrongs," "maintain the stability" to "purportedly maintain the stability," remove the word "justice" (which is only there because that is what lawyers see themselves as doing - and thus is POV), and add something about money and corruption. (talk) 01:59, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

i am on probation for domestic 1,my wifes cousin had a voicemail of us arguing she had taken this to my probation officer this voicemail has a hollow threat from me, the judge has removed me from my home witch has added a financial strain to an allready bad situation, my wife has called the judge to try to get him to lift this at no avail,is it legal for him to do this —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:55, 5 September 2010 (UTC)


Lawyers is the basic personality of court & I want to know abt some court law. Thanks. Lawyers —Preceding unsigned comment added by Goldenglobas (talkcontribs) 09:18, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

All The Respected Lawyers Of World Are ardently requested to raise their voice against injustiness of Higher .....................Italic text —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:48, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

um...theirs are the voices of injustice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:27, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Cleaning up this article today[edit]

I came back from a vacation in Las Vegas and noticed that the vandals and inexperienced editors had run amok in the article again. IS ANYONE WATCHING THE VANDALS?!

For example, the Hazard quote about bad lawyers got totally mangled, so I restored it to the original version.

I also removed the following good faith incompetent edits as far too specific to the United States and in violation of Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias. (Remember, my top-to-bottom revision of this article in 2005 was designed specifically to comply with the countering systemic bias project by carefully balancing information about lawyers in all major jurisdictions.) The following edits should have been inserted in Attorneys in the United States because they apply largely to that jurisdiction and/or Canada:

"The most basic specialization is between civil law (i.e. private law) and criminal law. As used in the United States, a "litigator" is a term used for a lawyer whose practice is based on civil and/or criminal litigation. [1] Criminal law specialists are almost all litigators. [2] Civil law (private law) practitioners often specialize by becoming either civil litigators or corporate attorneys.[3] In addition civil lawyers specialize topically, becoming, for example, labor attorneys,[4] patent (intellectual property) attorneys,[5] municipal finance attorneys,[6] or divorce (domestic relations) attorneys.[7] Lastly, lawyers specialize by tribunal, becoming, for example, appellate attorneys,[8] workers' compensation attorneys,[9] and even SEC[10] and NLRB attorneys.[11]"

"Attorneys in the United States who are employed by companies can assume not only various titles denoting their legal responsibilities (for ex., General Counsel, Assistant General Counsel or Director of Governmental Affairs) but also officer or other business titles (for ex., Vice President or Secretary). [12]"

The following were removed as cites to unreliable sources or original research (first publication of first-stage synthesis) in violation of WP:RS and WP:NOR:

E.g. Portugal: Alves Periera Teixeira de Sousa. Accessed February 16, 2009; Italy Studio Misuraca, Franceschin and Associates. Accessed February 16, 2009.

Peru: Hernandez & Cia. Accessed February 16, 2009; Brazil: Abdo & Diniz. Accessed February 16, 2009 (see Spanish or Portuguese profile pages); Argentina: Lareo & Paz. Accessed February 16, 2009.

Macau: Macau Lawyers Association. Accessed February 16, 2009.

E.g. University of Montana School of Business Administration. Profile of Dr. Michael Harrington. University of Montana, 2006. See also Distance Learning Discussion Forums. New wrinkle in the "Is the JD a doctorate?" debate. Distance Learning Discussion Forums, 2003-2005.

E.g. Peru: Hernandez & Cia. Accessed February 16, 2009; Brazil: Abdo & Diniz. Accessed February 16, 2009 (see Spanish or Portuguese profile pages); Macau: Macau Lawyers Association. Accessed February 16, 2009; Portugal: Alves Periera Teixeira de Sousa. Accessed February 16, 2009; Argentina: Lareo & Paz. Accessed February 16, 2009; and Italy Studio Misuraca, Franceschin and Associates. Accessed February 16, 2009.

E.g. Dr. Ronald Charles Wolf. Accessed February 16, 2009.

See the "Esquire" article in the English Wikipedia, particularly the "United States" section in that article.

Also see The Morrison & Foerster law firm website, one of the largest law firms in Asia and the United States, for an example of usage.

That's it for now.--Coolcaesar (talk) 02:57, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. I appreciate what you do, even if I somehow missed all this. I don't know how. Francis Davey (talk) 18:40, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Image for infobox[edit]

Is more appropriate for a horror movie. I think the genre has its own page. Its unclear, sarcastic and deviant.--Aleksd (talk) 23:38, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

The problem is your replacement is of a particular living person who is identifiable through image data. She can say: "Look everybody, my picture is in Wikipedia!" Thus it becomes advertising. Let's find an image of a dead lawyer. – S. Rich (talk) 02:38, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Seeking to find an image of a dead lawyer for the infobox, I found one and posted it. Since then the image has been changed twice. Well, I've restored the one I found. At the same time, I'd like to open a discussion as to what image we should post so that consensus can develop and decide. (I've just changed the caption for this section to open up the discussion for more comment.) So:
  • I submit that a non-living person image be posted so that living lawyers won't be able to claim that their picture is on Wikipedia.
  • I submit that a woman is appropriate for the infobox. Women are an increasing presence in the profession. Indeed, I believe that 50% plus of new law students in the US are women. The article has several images of male lawyers. The image in the infobox is the only woman.
  • If we get agreement that a non-living woman image be used in the infobox, I have no particular stake in keeping the present image. Another woman would suit me fine. – S. Rich (talk) 05:04, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I am completely fine with the image portraying a female lawyer. Just please not the current one. It's grotesque and if I didn't know what a lawyer was, I would have thought it was a synonym for monster (or guy with makeup). Also in regards to a lawyer advertising herself, can't the picture just be a photo of a female dressed as a lawyer? – W. David (talk) 10:52, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
Reply: Yes, there are other images. Please suggest one. You will need to look in the Wikipedia Commons, or you can load another image. If you do so, you must comply with copyright restrictions. – S. Rich (talk) 03:54, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Lawyer ≠ attorney[edit]

Rewrite the lead. It is not just common law centered, it is US-only. Don't take my word for it, look in the OED: One versed in the law; a member of the legal profession, one whose business it is to conduct suits in the courts, or to advise clients, in the widest sense embracing every branch of the profession, though in colloquial use often limited to attorneys and solicitors. Let's make it clear in the lead that the usage {lawyer = attorney} is only in the US. Littledogboy (talk) 17:27, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

You are right, there are different usages of the word. But where was the OED published? Perhaps in some other Oxford? – S. Rich (talk) 17:44, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Disagree with Littledogboy. What he proposes makes zero sense because to state that point in the lead is itself far too specific to the United States for an article that I mostly drafted with the specific intent of describing the legal profession in a global context. The OED definition is poorly written, logically incoherent, and unduly specific to the unusually broad definition of lawyer used only in the United Kingdom. --Coolcaesar (talk) 01:17, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm merely pointing out that two sets of words are equal in different contexts:

  1. lawyer or attorney (USA, Australia) = advocate (most of common law jurisdictions, India)just scroll over the interwikis = {barrister+solicitor} (England and others) = (in many countries lawyer is colloquially used as in the US)
  2. generally a law graduate practising law {lawyer, judge, notary public...} = jurist (US, some common law countries) = lawyer (some common law countries, possibly England, Scotland)

So while the article is about the concept described in set#1, many people will come here looking for #2. Therefore, Mr Coolcaesar, remove from the lead the (redundant) definition of what law is, and replace with a sentence explaining how the terms jurist and advocate (and probably barrister and solicitor) fit in. A side not: I wonder whether some of the interesting stuff you've written (eg Career structure) wouldn't belong within the scope of the more general article, jurist. Littledogboy (talk) 12:17, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

Please familiarize yourself with the lengthy history of this article over the past five years before making such suggestions. The entire Terminology section was originally the first part of the article. It had to be separated out and broken up into sections because it was becoming too complex and unreadable for laypersons (for whom Wikipedia is written). There is no need to reincorporate all that complexity back into the article lead. --Coolcaesar (talk) 08:05, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
What is the more general term in US English, then? Jurist? But that's often used for theoreticians of law, isn't it? Legal profession? What do you use, Coolcaesar? Littledogboy (talk) 22:44, 16 June 2013 (UTC)