Monday, March 29, 2010

Random Thoughts: Myth Busters

TGIAF – Thank God it’s almost Friday. I am not in court today and I am not offering to appear in court. My thoughts today run to the awe lawyers still manage to garner, which is in itself is awesome with the number of lawyers in the country and on television. Lawyers, like most heroes are yet mystified - a thing that will probably continue for as long as we wear the most distinct uniform of all (and that includes the clown’s). In my Joan D’Arc mode (aka, slayer of ignorance) though, I have decided to shine light on these mysteries.

Myth: People who talk a lot are likely to be the best lawyers

Reality: Prattling lawyers are rarely winners.

For one minute, put yourself on a bench, in a very thick gown and really heavy wig in some African country. Imagine that as you patiently withstand the heat, your job also involves listening to people natter about everything and nothing – like you don’t get enough from the Federal Executive Council. So, you patiently listen and since you can’t tell the difference between the hundreds of cases you hear, you also have to write down what they say. After a while, you realise that when people talk a lot, they often insert a number of ‘untruths’. It hurts that people try to deceive you. Soon you get suspicious when a person in a wig says something as innocuous as ‘Good morning’. You also have the thankless task of reading through briefs and cases to counter the prejudice-arrows shot at your saintly impartiality.

Then, add to our scenario that you now have the discretionary power in certain cases. You check your quiver: you can’t do anything about the increasing heat to your skin; you can however do something about the lawyer who thinks falling in love with one’s voice is in.

Which lawyer wins?

Myth: Lawyers Read Books
Reality: Lawyers Like To Think They Read Books

Some photographer must have assumed that the only acceptable background for lawyers’ pictures is a bookshelf filled with old, unread law reports and texts aka ‘the book’. At some point, everyone started to believe her and since then, the rule has come to stay. Once in a while, an adventurous rebel takes a picture behind a swivel chair and almost succeeds, save a hint of ‘the book’, perhaps right on the far left of the desk.

It makes sense – ‘the book’ implies wealth and wisdom. However, at the best of times, it is no more than a prop.
Lawyers don’t display the dog eared books they really read on shelves. Once in a while, with an eye on a client, the wise lawyer makes a show of flipping through some leather bound text. Often, the client falls for it and mentally justifies the bill the lawyer charges. Everyone is happy.
The book will probably outlive us all.

In the true tabloid fashion: More shattering exposes soon. Watch Out!

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