Abe Lincoln, Freedom Fighter (1978)
Abe: I don’t know about this politician business.
Judge: What do you mean by that?
Abe: If I have to sacrifice my integrity for politics, I guess I’ll just have to stay a lawyer!
Up to this point I have avoided blogging on politics and the Iowa caucus. It’s a no win situation for me. I have clients on both sides of the aisle and a policy not to debate politics with clients has served me well. Besides, Iowa lawyers like Gordon Fischer and Ted Sporer do a tremendous job of covering politics with their blogs so I’ll leave the debate to the experts.
But one campaign strategy surprised me. Many of the candidates are lawyers. But as Joe Kristan recently pointed out, lawyers are not exactly the apple of the public’s eye. It’s probably part of the reason why lawyer candidates tend to rarely emphasize their legal careers. But one candidate has decided to go against the grain. Trial lawyer extraordinaire John Edwards is campaigning in Iowa today with his most famous client.
As detailed in his book, Four Trials, Edwards obtained a $25 million judgment on behalf of Valerie Lakey and her parents. Valerie nearly lost her life when she was disemboweled by a swimming pool drain that was incorrectly attached. He has sent out mailings featuring the Lakeys and is now campaigning with them. He also unabashedly points to his career as a trial lawyer as an example of how he will stand up and fight against corporate and special interests. It’s a bold but risky move given the public opinion of trial lawyers in particular. But I am proud of Edwards for not shying away from his tremendous career as a lawyer.
While the image of lawyers could be improved, it should start with lawyers being proud of the profession they have chosen. We offer society a valuable and important service. My thanks goes to lawyers like Edwards who aren’t afraid to talk about it.
Photo on flickr by alexdecarvalho