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Lawyer jokes. Every time I hear a lawyer joke, I feel like asking a very simple question: “Why?” What entitles you to talk smack about a whole group of people – simply because they chose to spend three grueling years in law school? Why are you free to carry on against a whole group of people who exist to serve. How can you demonstrate such flaming ignorance and bigotry? If you answer: “Because a lawyer fought for my right to talk trash like an idiot” – you’d be correct.

Frankly though, it’s wrong. It’s wrong to lump all lawyers into the batch of jerks whom we read about in newspapers – or see on TV. The lawyers hounding us regarding automobile accidents are sad. Suggesting that we all fall into that group is like suggesting that all football stars behave like OJ [Watch your throat]. Or, suggesting that all priests are pedophiles … or that all politicians have the intellectual challenges facing President Bush. “Sorry, but It just ain’t so…”

The vast majority of attorneys are decent, hard-working and honest. Most of us bust our tails, fighting governments and insurance companies who are bent on hurting you … Americans. We go to court. We fight through trials. We work long hours – and some of us [not all of us] make a lot of money doing it. Does that bother you? Is it wrong to be well-paid when you’re good at what you do? How many of you are paid only if you win? That’s my life. You can bet that I select my cases carefully. You see, my employees get paid every two weeks whether I win or lose…

I love being an attorney. It makes me happy that by simply “being an attorney” – society allows me to help people. I enjoy being able to right wrongs. I revel in fighting injustice. Honestly, my ego feels good when I can do what the average guy just can’t normally do: Make somebody’s life A LOT better.

Please join me.

Go to law school. Apply to law school today. It takes only four years of college, and then three years of law school. Frankly, it wasn’t that hard. I liked law school a lot more than I liked my undergraduate work. It was much more fun than my MBA training as well. You see, law school was brutal. It was intellectually challenging. It was a three year knife-fight, among friends. You went in eager and came out bloody – but you loved the challenge. It’s not called a “trial” because it’s easy…

If you can’t go to law school, attend a paralegal studies program instead. They require no college – as they are normally associates or bachelors programs themselves. We are fortunate in Fairbanks, Alaska to have a truly outstanding paralegal studies program at the University of Alaska. Ed Husted is the director of this program. He turns out dozens of bright, capable paralegals each year – paralegals who know just enough law to get into trouble. Paralegals who, with just a bit of training, do fantastic work for our clients. They put a “face” on the law. They return phone calls, gather evidence and take statements. They write legal memos, visit crash scenes, photograph, and “do the math” on impact speeds and collision vectors. Our paralegals are the backbone of our practice. Consider joining them. They seem to have fun.

If you can’t go to law school – and you can’t get a paralegal degree – consider “reading law.” Law is simply not that difficult to understand. It might take a few times through it, but it’s worth the work. Over the years, some extremely bright people have been lawyers and judges. Men and women who genuinely care about American and human dignity have helped fashion “the law” in this country. It’s not a select club – you can join it.

After all, “the law” is supposed to be useful – and appropriate. It’s supposed to ensure that people are held accountable for wrongs. Despite what you’re being told by talk radio shock jocks who exist to spin (especially in the “No Spin Zone”) the simple fact is that the law is supposed to advance society.

And it does.

When asked by college students, wanting to attend law school: “Ward, what should I study undergraduate?” I tell them: “Anything … just do it with passion.” I remind them that: “The law is very broad – as far as you can see – but it’s just not that thick.” It’s supposed to be common sense. Sometimes, it gets a bit complicated, but its’ supposed to be common sense. Remember, the law is just “the rules.” In the game of life, everybody has to learn the rules – or they lose the game.

My definition of “winning the game” has changed over the years. It was once money. It was once victory in court. It was once retribution. Now, it’s doing what it takes to make my clients’ lives better. We take care of people in this office. We care about the people who phone us. We look for chances to help. And while we hope to God you never have to call – if you do – you can be assured that you’ll find somebody who cares enough to help.

Lawyer jokes are wrong.

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