The ABA’s Standing Committee On Lawyers With One Eye

It used to be the Standing Committee on One-Eyed Lawyers, but that was changed when it was pointed out that it was politically incorrect, and diminished One-Eyed Lawyers. Lawyers with One Eye was totally better. All other committees were subject to this committee’s approval, because the ABA was the land of the blind (though it can’t call itself that, because it would be hurtful).

Under the past president, Paulette Brown, the ABA died. In her post-mortem, she expressed how proud she was of her tenure. She promised that the “ABA would be ‘social engineers for justice,'” and she delivered.  Her goal was diversity and inclusion, not just for lawyers but for society, in the belief that the ABA held sway over the universe. After all, her views and those of the social justice engineers of the ABA could not be wrong.

“The ABA showed the world that a law degree is more than just a piece of paper. It is power,” she said. “And we put that power to great use.”

And the rest of the world laughed at Brown, for she had only one eye. But all the lawyers who are blind (formerly known as Blind Lawyers) nodded their bobble heads, gushed and emoted, because their ABA president with one eye spoke the lovely words that made them feel less pathetic and sorry about their sad and miserable existence.

But their sad and miserable existence was only to get worse. Not because there was no alternative, but because that was the natural outcome of being blind.

Among the many initiatives that made the bobbleheads shake under Brown’s eye was the “Report on the Future of Legal Services in the United States” by the Commission on the Future of Legal Services.  Putting aside Kevin O’Keefe’s complaint that there was no one on this commission representing the legal tech, because in the world of the blind, LinkedIn was about as cool as technology could be, the commission’s recommendations for delivery of legal services in the future began with a quote from the incoming ABA president (the first time two women were consecutive presidents, because that’s important in the scheme of diversity and inclusion).

“It is neither easy nor comfortable to embrace innovation, but we must do so—now. As lawyers, we have so much to offer to those who need help, but millions cannot access our services. This has to change, and we must drive that change. If we want to make justice for all a reality, we need to listen to different perspectives and open ourselves to new approaches and ideas, all while following our core value of protecting the public.”

Linda A. Klein

Who doesn’t want “justice for all”? Except in law, there are winners and losers. And each views justice through their own eyes, assuming they have eyes. When they don’t get what they want, they’ve been denied justice. All the sweet bullshit doesn’t change that.

But this is about Access to Justice, the warmly-turned phrase of social justice engineers who feel for the “80% of Americans who can’t afford legal services.” They go on to offer 12 recommendations, ranging from vague and meaningless to the ridiculous and absurd. It’s not so much that there’s anything to dislike in the recommendations, as they reflect the naivete and politics of lawyers who are blind (and deaf and dumb, but that phrase is forbidden, and so it won’t be used).

But none of this will matter to the lawyers who actually practice law, because you will be working for LegalZoom soon enough. Or Dairy Queen. If one has two eyes, one sees that none of the numbers work. Calls for public funding of legal needs because people would rather spend their disposable income on iPhones than lawyers (and who can blame them, really) won’t work, but even if they did, there will be no one to fund. At best, the dregs of higher education will be the only ones attending law schools below the top 14, filling seats with their LSAT scores of 72.

And no technology, innovation, whatever, is going to change the hard numbers. There are a handful who will earn $180,000 their first year out at the few Biglaw firms that survive, and the rest will bow and scrape for take home pay of $50,000, if they’re lucky. While lawyers starve, the ABA is concerned with the poor souls who don’t want to spend money on lawyers.

The profession is dying.  There will be no great trial lawyers in the future, because there will be no opportunity to gain the experience to become a great trial lawyer. Trials are dead. The few smart kids who go into law will cluster at HYS, because going to Bumfuck Law School is to doom oneself to a life of poverty, exacerbated by over $100,000 in debt and three years of lost tips at Red Lobster.

It’s not that young people who want to serve won’t be interested, but they will realize that it’s not viable. Someday, when they stop playing Pokemon Go, they may meet someone and have children, who will want to eat. Every day. And their split of the referral fee from LegalZoom or Avvo won’t cover the rent, no less new shoes for the kids. They won’t be able to pay for their own services.

When there are no lawyers left to represent regular folks, except the handful too incapable of math to realize they made a terrible bet, and even they will aspire to mediocrity as routines are taken over by machines and the skills they need to develop for late in their careers no longer exist, the Lawyer with One Eye can proudly point to her accomplishment.  She will have achieved perfect diversity and inclusion. She will have eradicated hurt gender feelings. She will have turned the ABA into the well-oiled social justice engineer that all the bobbleheads hoped for.

Except there will be no more competent lawyers. Was that what the One Eyed Lawyer hoped to accomplish?

Before there can be a profession capable of helping others, there must be a healthy, competent profession. It’s just math. Lawyers are renowned for not being good at math. Lawyers with one eye are especially bad, apparently, as are the bobbleheads.

At Fault Lines, I cross Eddie Hartman today, one of the founders of LegalZoom. Eddie is very good at math and has two eyes. He’s smart enough to play the words of the Lawyer with One Eye for his corporate advantage. Be nice to Eddie, because he and others like him will soon be the only game in town if you want to feed your kids with that very expensive piece of social engineering paper on your wall.  At least you can rest assured that no one will ever mention the word “girl,”* as that would be an ethical violation.

*Awaiting letter from disciplinary committee.TANTRUM

That's not funny


23 thoughts on “The ABA’s Standing Committee On Lawyers With One Eye

  1. B. McLeod

    So of course they passed that stupid rule, but it will have effect only as and if states adopt it. When ABA gets to that point, it will have to deal with a myriad of lawyers concerned with actually running law offices. You know, most of the lawyers in the country (who aren’t ABA members). This notion of trying to make a living practicing law seems to be always foreign to the ABA, which has to busy itself with social engineering, gun control, speech control, thought control and dicking with the Chinese (and I’m not sure why they do this last thing, because ABA and the PRC are birds of a feather on the “diversity” and “inclusion” stuff). If you’re a lawyer, it’s a great time to be an old lawyer, with an exit strategy. Also, if you’re paying ABA dues, just stop.

    1. SHG Post author

      Will the lawyers at the state level be any different, any less dedicated to social justice? I used to think so. I no longer do. It is, indeed, a great time to be an old lawyer, with an exit strategy.

  2. Foo Foo

    There are a number of mistakes in your column today. Were you writing at 3 a.m.?

    IMHO, there are too many lawyers, great ones, mediocre ones and bad ones. It’s one thing to want to help people and quite another to want to get rich while doing so.

    1. SHG Post author

      If you feel compelled to point out that there are a number of mistakes, before my editor has had a chance to correct my typos, then at least note what they are so I can fix them. To merely point out that there are mistakes is to be an asshole. But then, your second sentence nails that down, as no one with a modicum of intelligence wouldn’t grasp that the alternative to helping people isn’t getting rich. But then, there’s no intelligence (or sanity) test required before buying a keyboard.

      1. Matt

        The modern LSATs lowest score is now 120. That is the only error I noticed.

        Considering it’s been almost 40 years since you had to care about it, I wasn’t going to mention it. Your point was clear. But you asked.

          1. Scott Jacobs

            A man less kind than our host might have commented about how the 73s were also, judging by what we see coming from Harvard and Yale law school students, filling seats in those top 14…

  3. Mike

    Nice touch with Mizz Marcotte, a perfectly good waste of oxygen. (But we’re not supposed to say that.)

    You never need a lawyer…until you do and one can only hope they find a good one.

    1. SHG Post author

      There’s a funny story that every CDL has, where the client comes in for that first consult and explains why all the shit he believes about the law proves it’s an easy case and it will be dismissed in minutes. When we explain that absolutely nothing he’s ever heard is true, there are two reactions. One is deep confusion and sadness and the other is that we must really suck as a lawyer because we don’t know the magic secret of making every case disappear.

      Lawyers suck until you need one. When there are none (or at least no good ones) to be had, that’s that.

      1. Mike

        If it’s any consolation, I do hold lawyers in higher regard than insurance agents and used car salesmen.

  4. Richard G. Kopf


    With one minor disagreement, you are generally correct to say the legal profession is dead and the ABA is a rotting corpse. These days if you want to be a real lawyer who tries cases for people who desperately need representation there is a niche. But it takes guts and luck and hard head and even harder heart. Become a CDL.

    You won’t get rich, but if you scavenge, and then claw your way up, you can become a real lawyer with absolutely no need whatever for the ABA. Your chances are not great–perhaps less than 50%–but it can be done. The government proves every day that the demand for moderately capable criminal defense lawyers is inelastic. Crime, like greed, is good (for some).

    And remember the first rule of taking clients who walk into your office: If the client can’t afford justice he/she does not deserve it. Tell the client to beg, borrow or steal (but not tell you) to come up with the retainer. Take appointments from the court to survive until you attract paying clients. After you take a case, work your ass off for the client and not for yourself. Otherwise, leave it to the ABA to save the world. Your kids need to eat, and you are probably disinclined to seek food stamps.

    All the best.


    1. SHG Post author

      For years now, new CDLs write me and call me to ask for some advice about how to turn the corner from subsistence, whether with private clients or indigent defense, to a practice that reasonably supports their family. There is one problem performing the function, which, frankly, has grown increasingly difficult. There is another problem with earning a sufficient living to pay the rent and be able to afford taking the spouse out for the occasional movie.

      At first, I thought it was a by-product of the economy, following the 2007 crash. But it hasn’t improved any, and lawyers can’t sustain themselves for years living hand to mouth. Sure, there are exceptions, but even more senior lawyers, who had solid practices, are sucking wind these days. It’s not sustainable, even for CDLs.

      I don’t know that the ABA’s insanity will hurt anyone, as they’re already hurting, but it surely doesn’t help.

  5. Foo Foo

    Sweetheart, the only one that really jumped at me was “the only one’s attending law schools.” You also have a misplaced quote mark in She promised that the “ABA …; …vague and meaningless to the ridiculous and and absurd; and naiveté missing accent mark.
    Sorry. I do enjoy your column.

    1. SHG Post author

      Would it have killed you to just tell me that in the first place?

      And use the reply button, please, rather than start a new thread.

  6. Jim Tyre

    Lawyers with one eye are especially bad

    Being an actual one-eyed lawyer, I so want to accuse you of LIBELSLANDER. Sadly, your rant about the ABA gives me nothing on which to stand. (And I do prefer one-eyed lawyer to lawyer with one eye.)

    1. SHG Post author

      (And I do prefer one-eyed lawyer to lawyer with one eye.)

      Social justice engineers who have the capacity, if not the willingness, to use two eyes have proclaimed you are wrong for your own good. Cease and desist, or you will be hearing from the disciplinary committee.

    1. SHG Post author

      They had one of them too, but it was crippled by its lack of diversity. (Yeah, yours was way better than mine. Never mind.)

  7. John Barleycorn

    Ironically, figuring out when to write off the bad accounts payable debt is a legal issue that may soon become this nation’s most enduring quandary. That and what to do with all the “Bad Girls and Boys” in prision
    I guess?

    Could be trouble no matter how it gets served with all the compulsive gamblers in office…

    But CDL’s, although generally rather asymmetrical in their facial features, could make for endearing canaries if one were to embellish around the margins of licensure with a little of the lot when it comes to heroic poetic licence around the margins of their viability.

    However, slipping in the relevance of compound interest, which currently makes  the world go around and governments quake, will be the tricky part but I reckon lady justice scolding her minions around the campfire while her legs are firmly  planted split legged and butt check firm atop the head-log shouldn’t be too hard to pull off considering the scope. Her pivot to serious considerations of murky and legimate while swinging herself around and crossing her legs to address the minions while facing the fire should be epic though. Everybody’s got to eat right…?

    P.S. I hear cops get paid pretty good if social engineering is your thing and you don’t mind playing the overtime game while waiting for the mammary glands to kick in after 20 years. Community college criminal justice programs  don’t have nothing on law school do they?

    P.S.S. You need a vacation!!! Exit plans need a little bit more than thought and math. Dr. SJ has probably been sending out radio signals that are easily unencrypted but for policy.

    Anyway, if you keep slacking here you might not be overly pleased with my new URL offer.

    If a vacation just can’t happen get back on the cardiovascular program or find one. Suck it up buttercup!  You-gots-to…, the grandkids need to hear that generational skip that you are holding onto. That shit sticks better than Hegal pondering cake and someone has to do it.

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