I grew up in a small town in Iowa. I did not know of many lawyers—only one family friend. My view of lawyers then was that, especially in a small town, a lawyer was the person you went to when you had trouble, a valued counselor, a friend, who would know what to do (if anybody would).
Have times changed?
After 28 years in my own law practice, I can honestly say that my impression of lawyers is the same as it was when I was growing up. Oh sure–lawyers are joked about a lot, mainly because no one ever really wants to be in a position to need one. Think about that. A lawyer is someone you go to for help when something has gone wrong (car accident, business deal gone bad, someone you know arrested, etc…). A “necessary evil”. But in bad moments, a valued counselor, to get you the help you need.
Jerry Seinfeld said:
“What are lawyers, really? To me a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules. We’re all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there’s a problem, the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box.”