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Are There Really Too Many Lawyers in the World?

Updated on July 25, 2009

So after writing a hub on maritime attorneys and maritime law, I got to thinking about lawyers in general. My comment in the previous hub about how it seems there's an attorney out there for just about everything prompted a Google search and, sure enough, there is. It seems that if you can be hurt by it, wronged by it, screwed by it, mistreated by it, misled by it, profit from it or lose from it, there's a specialist out there ready to take your case (for a price, of course). Do we really need so many lawyers?!

Well, they may be the butt of a lot of our jokes, but I can honestly say that it seems we really do need all those lawyers. Why? Well, because there are so many laws and so many specific applications of those laws that no one attorney could possibly know them all.

Let's stick with maritime attorneys for a moment as an example. Let's say you are out boating with your friends. The guy driving your boat notices an oncoming boat really moving fast towards you. At the last moment, your boat and the oncoming boat both turn to avoid a collision but you both turn in the same direction. The inevitable happens and, among much screaming and grinding of fiberglass, you all go flying. You sustain several injuries and, in an effort to collect on medical expenses and lost wages, you call an injury attorney. Was that the right move?

Your injury attorney, if he takes the case, may know a lot about your rights, but is he or she really best suited for your case? If you're lucky, you collect what you're owed. A maritime attorney, on the other hand, might have settled an iron clad case because he would immediately know that you had the right of way, or that the other boat turned in the wrong direction or that the other boat was exceeding the speed limits in that particular channel.

Pick the right tool for the job

Let me make the point even more clear for those of you who don't know anything about boating with a quote from an article on Boating World Magazine online –

"You’re cruising up the middle of your local reservoir at 30 mph in your 22-foot bowrider, when a small aluminum fishing boat suddenly appears from a cove ahead of you and to starboard on a collision course with you. Quick, which boat has the right of way?

You do, right? You’re the larger boat, you’re moving faster and you’re traveling up the middle of the reservoir instead of crossing it.

Wrong. Although very few recreational boaters know anything about them, there are in fact clear and simple rules governing right of way on the water, just like there are on the road. In this case, the rules state that the small fishing boat has the right of way because it’s on your starboard side."

The example I quoted should make it clear that there are extraordinarily detailed and specific laws governing virtually everything. The message to you is simply this; you can keep telling lawyer jokes, but when you find yourself in a pickle, stop the joking and find the attorney most appropriate for your particular situation. Be they a malpractice attorney, a malpractice attorney or a tax attorney, it's the guy with the experience in the particular arena you'll be fighting in who has the best chance of ensuring your rights are taken care of.


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