Tags: Catherine | Crier: | Why | Love | Hate | Lawyers

Catherine Crier: Why We Love to Hate Lawyers

Wednesday, 27 November 2002 12:00 AM

The Bard even eschewed the kind rhythms of iambic pentameter as he hurled that famous epithet, but Crier lags not far behind in her own rant against lawyers. She gives no quarter as she hammers home her theme that most of what troubles the world these days are the invention of greedy lawyers who have shamelessly replaced old-fashioned common sense with endless reams of draconian rules, regulations and laws.

NewsMax.com recently caught up with the peripatetic former district attorney-judge-private practitioner-turned-TV-journalist at a speech put on to plug her new tome. There in her folksy, no-nonsense way she got plenty of empathetic grins and nods from the attentive listeners as she waxed on one of her favorite mind-benders:

“Why is it that if you can’t kick nicotine, you can win a lawsuit for billions, but if you can’t kick another drug, you can go to prison?”

Of course, maintains Crier, the ready answer to this and a whole quiver of similar conundrums lies at the Gucci-clad feet of the maniacal clique of lawyers in this country.

And how about those infamous reams of complex laws and regulations?

According to Crier, politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists all depend on lawyers to crank out the wherefores and whereases that down the line inevitably augur to the benefit of some fat-cat contributor.

“Rules are for sale in Washington. Lawyers create, promote, pass, and selectively enforce our laws,” Crier tells her audience. “What are our legislators? Our lawmakers? Who advises them on how to write those laws? Lawyers. Who are most of the lobbyists? - Lawyers.”

Her bill of particulars in the case against lawyers goes on.

“Our educational process is monitored by an endless litany of rules for teaching and discipline, yet student performance is abysmal, and the kids are out of control,” Crier says.

You can’t help but start to nod your head in agreement. And as you look around the audience others nod almost imperceptibly while yet others adopt a fixed sardonic grin that whispers: “Hell, I knew this stuff all along. Why didn’t I think to write a book about it and make some big bucks?”

“Government regulates our nutrition and foods, while the national girth and associated health problems explode.”

Yep. Boy, too true –

“Every aspect of workplace safety is regulated, yet the number of workplace deaths has been static for years,” she says.

Right on. Amen, sister –

“The safer cars get, the more auto insurers are hit for bodily injuries.”

Can’t argue with that. No sirree –

Crier in her speech as well as in her book tries to keep it simple, and she has paid a bit of a price for that. Some critics have denounced her book as unscholarly for someone as formidable as a former judge.

But one can’t help but confront the irony in the charge. Indeed, the law itself is anything but scholarly; in fact, as one of Dickens' characters famously pointed out, the “law is a ass.”

The law's dark side is never so apparent as in one case Crier describes as “the welfare mom who helps out on a drug deal for a small fee. She gets busted. She gets 20 years in the pen.”

It doesn’t take a Philadelphia lawyer to gasp at the unevenness of that welfare mom’s fate when suspended on the scales of justice across from the free-as-a bird corporate fatcat who lied about the economic health of his company, then cut and ran with bags of dough as the bottom fell, leaving the employees holding worthless portfolios.

"You can't win, but the lawyers will," is Crier’s mantra despite much criticism from the peanut gallery that the new author has turned on her own, a profession that has propelled her to star category.

Crier challenges the listener to dispute her notion that lawyers like some insidious plague have insinuated themselves into every corner of our everyday reality world.

“Name one thing you did today - after rolling off that mattress, bearing the label ‘Do not remove under punishment of law,’ showering in water with the temperature preset by a boiler manufacturer to prevent scalding, using the hairdryer that warns against electrocution in the bathtub, eating breakfast properly labeled for the allergy or calorie conscious, getting into your car as the seat-belt warning dings …”

Her solution to the ever-broadening invasion: Get back to “the standards in common law, the reasonable man, assumption of the risk, contributory negligence - all of those have been pushed away where people are no longer responsible for their conduct under the law.”

Sounds like that good old-fashioned common sense thing.

Easier said than done when there’s so much gold in these litigation hills.

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The Bard even eschewed the kind rhythms of iambic pentameter as he hurled that famous epithet, but Crier lags not far behind in her own rant against lawyers. She gives no quarter as she hammers home her theme that most of what troubles the world these days are the invention...
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2002-00-27
Wednesday, 27 November 2002 12:00 AM
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