What do you call two-dozen lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
A good start!
I went to college to become an engineer a long time ago. As I look back at my first job when I got out of college, I wasn’t really prepared to do engineering. Not long after I started, I was given an assignment to design a structure for a bridge for a proposal. I spent the next six hours doing as I was taught in school. By the end of the day I turned in my design. My boss took my pages and reviewed the design and began laughing. Not reaction that I was hoping for and not a great confidence builder.
After he was done chuckling, he opened a book and pulled out a series of charts and took less than ten minutes completing the same task. “This is how we do things in the REAL world,” he said. College prepared me to be an engineer and think like an engineer, but it took many years to become one.
I have dealt with many lawyers mostly through my work. One experience that left a mark was with a former boss. He started out as an engineer then went back to school to get his law degree. I didn’t really know him in his engineer days or even his practicing lawyer days. Working for him as a manager…not so good.
Lawyers are an interesting lot. I often wonder at how they are taught to think in school. They seem to come out of school as a mistrustful lot and fine print seems to be their bread and butter. They use words like “boilerplate,” “whereas,” “hereto,” and “wherefore.” I have come to believe that this is all B.S. so that they can charge you $300 per hour. This is not just the way I feel, Jon M. Huntsman quoted an excerpt from a National Review article in his book, Winners Never Cheat:
“The First Amendment is 45 words;
The Lord’s Prayer is 66 words,
The Gettysburg Address in 286 words,
There are 1,322 words in the Declaration of Independence,
But the government regulations on the sale of cabbage total 26,911 words.
Note: I’ve read all of these except for the cabbage regulations…maybe someday.
Is this really the best way to run things? Huntsman also states that the United States has 40 lawyers for every engineer while the emerging economy of our rival China boasts 40 engineers for every lawyer. Also, consider this from Thomas L. Friedman’s The World Is Flat; “You talk to the leadership in China and they are all engineers, and they get what is going on immediately. The American’s don’t, because they’re all lawyers.” I wouldn’t really call them “leaders.” They may be in power, but to call them leaders is probably a stretch.
Twenty-six of our Presidents were lawyers and brace yourself, as the next one is a lawyer too.
How many of you would like to see a technical person like Steve Jobs run our country for four years? I don’t think there is enough compensation to attract Steve Jobs. He would also get frustrated by our bureaucracies and I would rather Mr. Jobs keep innovating and creating jobs.
Maybe Shakespeare meant it when he said that the first thing we have to do is kill all of the lawyers. My lawyer told me that I have to add a disclaimer that this was meant as a humor piece and in no way am I advocating killing lawyers.
I don’t want them killed, however, I have dissuaded my kids from this profession…successfully so far.