They would all sue the shirt off your back if they could.......”
I don’t really want to talk about work too much as I feel that it Is
a) potentially very boring
b) likely to get me fired/sued
c)not going to solve any rage issues.
There are however certain elements that are interlinked with annoyances in my actual life. Thats right I just referred to it as an “actual life” as in outside of my professional life. Believe me I would rather the two parts of my life stayed entirely separate and that there was no cross over whatsoever. Really I would.
Other people always want to talk about it though.
Picture the scene. You're in a bar. Its a Friday night and you are not on call. You want to get a bit merry because you haven’t had a weekend off for a long while. Your drinking away, not a care in the world.
Then you get talking to another punter. They ask what you do for a living. You panic. Tell them your a lawyer. The floodgates open.
They feel the need to ask you the ins and outs of every legal situation they can possible think of.
This usually starts with the highly original “how do you defend someone you know is guilty?” They then take a tour through all the legal issues they have ever had in their life from divorce to buying a house to suing their local kebab shop for food poisoning.
Then you get to the slagging off phase. They will invariably try to slag off all other lawayers they have ever instructed and will try to get you to agree that they gave the wrong advice/were in cahoots with the other side/were too expensive/ were too slow/ secretly sacrifice small children.
Then they try to undermine you. Put your legal knowledge to the test. They create situations and then quote their own verskions of the law at you. This I will call the legal degree from soapland. Its never correct. They want you to rise to the bait. To argue it out with them.
By this point I would quite like to tip the drink I have in my hand over their head.
You know that they will be slagging you off to the next lawyer that they meet. You will be reduced to their ridiculous attempts to undermine whatever it is that you have discussed.
Ive now become an expert in dodging this kind of scenario. There are various ways to do this. These I will list below;
1. Lie about your job. This will avoid all of the above. Of course you risk someone else dropping you in it at a later stage. The truth also has a horrible habbit of surfacing at the most inopportune moment.
2. Avoidance of the topic. Just repeatedly change the topic of conversation once you fear that it is swerving dangerously close to the employment area. This does carry the risk of making you look slightly manic. Also someone else can always come over and casually mention what you do, thus ruining all previous avoidance work.
3. Ignorance. When asked any legal questions, just say “I don’t know”. Do not be pushed to give any other answer. Of course you will come across as the most stupid lawyer ever.
4. Walk away. Lawyers are always thought of as rude. Why fight the image if it means you can have a quiet drink.
5. Raise your glass. Laugh a little and turn away. Polite. Implies you either didn’t understand the question or cant hear. Makes you look fun loving if a bit odd.
6. Inform them politely that as it is your night off you would really rather not talk about work.
Of course the last option is the most apporporiuate. After a few drinks however its not always the easiest to follow.
In the worst scenario, these questions can open the floodgates to a monosyllabic rant about the professions problems. This is most definitely to be avoided. If you do this you are playing into the hands of the public perception of lawyers.
People hammer lawyers. They go to town. They say we are responsile for all the bad things in the world. They are wrong. Generally this is not the case. I would like to be able to say that all lawyers do good for people and that all lawyers act in the best interests of their clients....
Of course there are some lawyers who aren’t as honest as the others but that's not an issue limited to this profession. There are always a few bad eggs. Im glad to say that the majority of lawyers I know show intergrity and honesty. This includes the ones that I dislke on a personal level.
What i dont want is to have to defend my profession when all i want to do is get tipsy and dance!
So if you see a haggard looking lawyer standing at the bar with a drink in hand please do not see it as an opportunity to berate them for all the wrongs of the legal system. Do not quote The Sun/Corronation Street/Jeremy Kyle as if they are the absolute in all things legal. Do not feel that you can just use them to access free legal advice and please don’t judge them by what you see on the television/hear at the pub.
Just walk away and leave them to enjoy a drink in peace.