Lawyers have a prestigious, well paid job. But do they really have power?

I don't think so.  Although they have the power to influence a judge or jury's mind, and hence to influence life altering decisions, they are opposed by another lawyer with the same power.  They cancel each other out.

Even worse for lawyers, the real power is in the hands of the judge or jury. So, even if a lawyer is more capable than the opposing lawyer, they still don't have the final say. Now that's uncertainty.  And if the judge or jury is incompetent, irrational, biased or bribed, a lawyer is potentially in serious trouble.

There are countless jobs that actually have far more power.  Middle management has the significant power to fire or hire workers, provide raises, make budget and advertising decisions. Even relatively unskilled call centre workers have the power to reverse that $35 overlimit fee.

Now, being a lawyer might be very fulfilling.  I assume it's an intellectual challenge in many respects.

But in the end, once the intellect has been exercised, a lawyer should be prepared to be powerless.
robot
10/24/2010 09:58:14 am

Well, isn't the most objective way of measuring the power of a male counting his mates? So then your average lawyer is at least as powerful as Jesus; that is to say, at least as powerful as God.

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10/24/2010 10:30:27 am

robot,

well said!

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gaelen
10/24/2010 02:17:03 pm

let me know if you ever get arrested, you may discover that the prosecutor has quite a bit of discretionary power. But depending on your difinition of power lawyers probably have a good deal, supior knowledge of some critical aspects of society could difenititly be considered power.

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Hobbes
10/25/2010 05:20:48 am

"they are opposed by another lawyer with the same power. They cancel each other out."

This commment fails to take into account that one lawyer prosecutes the case and the other defends it. In criminal defense, the defense attorney has to convince 12 jurors that there is reasonable doubt. The prosecutor has to prove each and every element beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled defense attorney can convince an intelligent, fair-minded jury that there is reasonable doubt under almost any and every circumstance.

Tell a police officer that a defense lawyer is powerless when the perp he busted walks out of the courtroom becuase the defense attorney convinced the jury that he was "coerced" into confessing. That is power.

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10/25/2010 07:37:06 am

Interesting how the last two posts almost cancel each other out. One points out the discretionary power than a prosecutor has that a defense attorney does not, and the other points out the potentially tougher time a prosecutor has winning the case.

But DOES a prosecutor have a tougher time? I would have to look at the win/loss stats to begin to form an opinion.

Perhaps a skilled defense attorney really can win most of the time, however, are there ENOUGH of them to undue my proposed cancelation of power, and what if there are also enough skilled prosecutors that can win easily? Wouldn't that result in cancelation of power?

And remember, not all lawyers are in criminal law. Many are in civil law.

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Hiai
10/25/2010 09:11:19 am

A lawyer has exactly as much power as anyone else...the power to persuade others to take them seriously and do as they wish. The difference is, lawyers are specifically trained in effective persuasive methods, in order to maximize their "power". Thus it is that our society is infested with a plague of public officials who (largely) have a legal background, but no corresponding ability to reason or discern logic. They have been taught all the ways of persuading others to their opinion, not the ways to solve problems. Perhaps if we, the electorate, would give less heed to persuasiveness and more to effectiveness, we wouldn't have some of the problems that confound us. But that's highly unlikely, because emotional appeal will always be much stronger than rational appeal.

By the way, cute way to advertise yourself, with that silly Facebook app, but I think you may be undermining your own credibility when leaving it as your "credentials" on your site. A thoughtful argument left in a forum with your link is all the advertisement you should really need...unless you really are targetting only your teenage peer audience. If you wish a wider readership, drop that silliness, and also that coy, transparent little "what's my political affiliation?" gambit, and merely provide your cogent, well-thought and expressed arguments, and you will establish a true political blog.

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10/25/2010 11:44:27 am

Hiai,

thanks for the advice. I agree that people's emotions are a huge problem inhibiting rational behavior. Read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.

I've just added an analysis of my Facebook ranking, to rebuff claims that the result is not a reliable measure of intelligence.

The reason I've been playing coy about political affiliation is because I don't necessarily want to be be perceived as conservative. I consider myself logical above all else, and I choose policies that makes sense, regardless of whether they are conservative or logical. It just happens that most, but not all logical policies happen to be conservative.

By doing this, I thought I might actually expand my readership to include a larger bases of both conservatives and liberals.

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Alice O. Nunez
10/26/2010 12:11:43 am

This anti-rhetoric screed is pretty much ripped straight out of the <i>Gorgias</i>.

Okay, a challenge: post something intelligent that famous people haven't already written about at length.

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Alice O. Nunez
10/26/2010 12:14:02 am

This anti-rhetoric screed is pretty much ripped straight from the Gorgias. (Do italics works here? I guess not.)

Okay, challenge: post something that isn't stupid, and which people smarter and more famous than you haven't already talked about at length.

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Alice O. Nunez
10/26/2010 12:14:48 am

Oops! Multiple post. The first one just wasn't showing up for some reason.

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10/26/2010 12:19:54 am

Alice,

I'm disappointed that you apparently find it "stupid" that I'm interested in talking about how much power lawyers have.

What did you find stupid about my writings?

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Alice O. Nunez
10/26/2010 12:29:05 am

Apparently you have trouble with De Morgan's law. "Not (x and y)" means "(not x) or (not y)", and in this case your argument that rhetoric is worthless has been made more elegantly 2400 years ago. I didn't comment on whether it was stupid.

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10/26/2010 12:35:30 am

I just reviewed my postings above, and I never wrote a single sentence that said "not (x and y)".

I didn't claim rhetoric is useless.

And you did comment about a "stupid" post:

"post something that isn't stupid, and which people smarter and more famous than you haven't already talked about at length."

Unless you are able to show where I used the word "not" as you claim, or show me what's "stupid" about my post, or show me where I supposedly argued that "rhetoric was useless", there's no sense in pursuing this.

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Alice O. Nunez
10/26/2010 12:43:42 am

Sorry, I didn't think I'd have to spell it out for you:

I asked you to post something isn't stupid, and which other people haven't said already. I didn't explicitly say whether this failed for the first reason or the second, but I figured from my comment about the Gorgias that it was obvious. But if it makes you happy, I can go back to some old posts and comment on the ones that I think are particularly stupid (rather than unoriginal). See you in those threads.

And yes, your second paragraph (really the crux of this post) is precisely the content of the famous Plato dialogue, even if you don't use the word "rhetoric".

I guess reading comprehension wasn't on the Facebook test?

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10/26/2010 01:08:57 am

Alice,

if my post was indeed stupid as you claimed, then I would've thought that it would've been obvious that you WOULD'VE needed to point it out to me? Don't you think someone who writes something stupid would need assistance? I guess not.

And if you thought my posting was stupid, why would you expect the Gorgias reference to be obvious to me? It seems stupid of you to assume that.

You're right, you didn't specifically claim what it was about my posting that you believed to be stupid. But I didn't claim that you were definitively claiming that it was my lawyer post that was stupid; that's why I clarified things when I used the word "apparently"

"I'm disappointed that you apparently find it 'stupid' that I'm interested in talking about how much power lawyers have."

I guess you just don’t notice the important words in sentences.

Regardless, don't you think that when you post on a message board it would be helpful to at least refer to your target if you are going to describe it as "stupid"? Or do you believe in using broad terms like "stupid", as less intelligence people often do?

I'm glad to see that you admitted that I never claimed rhetoric was useless. As far as the second paragraph is concerned, it describes rhetoric in a certain context only-law. So, even if rhetoric may tend to be less useful in that context, it wouldn't mean rhetoric is useless elsewhere.

So again, your claim that I said rhetoric, or something like it, was worthless, is incorrect based on the context of my second paragraph.

Should I even bother responding to any further posts of yours?

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Alice O. Nunez
10/26/2010 01:23:18 am

I think I'm being trolled. Once again: I don't think the original post was stupid. I never said it was. I said it was unoriginal.

I do think your comments are stupid, in that you seem unable to follow what I'm saying.

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10/26/2010 01:49:00 am

Actually, you're the one unable to follow.

You claim that you never said the original post was stupid. My last message didn't claim that you said the original post was stupid. I wrote:

"And if you thought my posting was stupid"....I'm referring to my posting in general, which is exactly what you referred to:

"I can go back to some old posts and comment on the ones that I think are particularly stupid"

Should I even continue this?

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Anonymous
11/11/2010 02:40:03 pm

pointless topic.
pointless argument.

I am sure lawyers are very aware of their place in the courtroom, and they most certainly have just as much power as they should. They are simply glorified debaters, put in front of a victim or perp to give a more intellectual argument in place of themselves. They have a lot of power in the scope of a single persons representation in front of a judge, but thats the extent of it.

"But in the end, once the intellect has been exercised, a lawyer should be prepared to be powerless. "


that was a meaningless sentence, its like going home from work for the day.

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11/11/2010 02:40:25 pm

Anonymous,

Pointless? Do you really think that most people think of lawyers as having less power during their work duties than a call centre worker?

It's certainly not meaningless to point out that lawyers have little work related power once their intellect has been exercised. There are other positions in which a worker has far more power once their intellect has been exercised (for example, a mid-level manager might be approached to provide approval for a spending related decision).

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Reader 80
11/11/2010 02:41:27 pm

"But in the end, once the intellect has been exercised, a lawyer should be prepared to be powerless. "


that was a meaningless sentence, its like going home from work for the day.

The problem is that the lawyers end of power ends before they get to go home. In most jobs you have say over what happens at your work until you clock out or w/e.

With a lawyer they get to try and persuade the judge/jury. But, after that they cant do anything about the actual verdict. They have to just sit there and take it like the weakest man in prison.

The close equivalent of this would be like being a server at a restaurant. Yes, you have control over when their food gets there, how nice you are, if you chose to spit in it or not..... But you do not have any power over how big of a tip you will receive.

If you were to exaggerate this, you might as well beg... I don't think beggars have that much power... and that's all lawyers are; intelligent ,trained, professional, beggars.

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11/11/2010 02:41:49 pm

Reader 80,

well said. You recognize my point.

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1/24/2011 03:24:54 am

I need to ask ask a question if I know I'm not a mindreader and if I think someone did this too me. What do you think I should do. Please text me at my myspace.

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He mentions Dagbladet and Aftenposten as those who among other things have censored him...

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11/14/2014 09:16:50 pm

I don't think so. Although they have the power to influence a judge or jury's mind, and hence to influence life altering decisions, they are opposed by another lawyer with the same power. They cancel each other out.

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11/16/2014 01:50:01 pm

There are countless jobs that actually have far more power. Middle management has the significant power to fire or hire workers, provide raises, make budget and advertising decisions. Even relatively unskilled call centre workers have the power to reverse that $35 overlimit fee.

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9/30/2016 02:46:34 pm

Lawyers! Can lose with them, can win with them.

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11/15/2017 02:39:54 am

A slip and fall accident is an accident that occurs when someone slips and falls due to some hazardous and dangerous conditions while on another person's property. Usually this occurs because of poor maintained property conditions.

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