Q: What is the quickest way to convert a left-wing lawyer into a proponent of free-market ideas?
A: Suggest regulating the legal profession.
While not all lawyers are left-wingers (Glenn Reynolds, Dodd Harris, and "Spoons" are three non-leftists that come to mind immediately), they are, as a whole, disproportionately liberal. However, despite their desire to regulate the operations and finances of the rest of the business world, they are reluctant to allow the gentle hand of government to manage their corner of the world.
Imagine, if you will, if the legal profession were to be socialized. A few of the changes might include:
Equal access. By having all lawyers work for the government, access to good lawyers would not depend on money or connections; everyone would have the same access to legal talent. Some people might not have the same level of legal counsel they previously enjoyed, but it's all about fairness.
Fiscal responsibility. This proposal could be used to reduce the deficit; since lawyers would now be salaried workers, any large settlements against a corporation or individual would go to the lawyer's firm (which is, in this scenario, the government). Further, by eliminating windfall payouts for lawyers, the "rich get richer" argument would be reduced, since they would be no more celebrity millionare lawyers, who are paid as much for their reputation as they are for their legal acumen.
Reinventing government. Not in the sense that Al Gore was talking about, but such a move would certainly change the complexion of the government. Roughly 50% of the two houses of congress is composed of lawyers, many of whom used their wealth on their campaigns for public office. If lawyers were paid the same wages and worked the same schedule as mid-level to upper-level government employees, they would not have the time or the funds to run an effective campaign. This would have an interesting effect on laws passed by future congresses, as fewer and fewer lawyers were elected. It takes a lawyer to understand some of the laws passed by congress, which should not be the case.
I'm sure I've left out lots of ideas, and quite possibly I'm way off base, but I'd like to hear what readers have to say about this (toungue-in-cheek) proposal.
posted on January 07, 2003 06:35 PM