Monday, 7 April 2014

What's The Problem With Lawyer Jokes? Guest Blog by Paul Loughlin

Apparently today (08 April 2014) is ‘International Be Kind to Lawyers Day’. I wouldn’t have known either! No, it’s not another David Cameron inspired tag line akin to ‘Hug a Hoodie’. It actually appears as though it’s one of many marketing initiatives following the growing trend, probably created by lawyers to work on some of the negative stereotypes associated with those who practice law. Having started in America and now being rolled out across the globe, I don’t think it is likely to be made into a national holiday any time soon but I’d like to think it maybe makes people think about lawyers in a different way.

Photo Source  Kansas City Legal Examiner

As featured by Jeanette Miller in her recent blog, The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers, it is not uncommon for lawyers to be dismissed as cynical and dishonest presumably all in the aim of lining their pockets. As a Criminal lawyer myself I’m certainly not asking for any sympathy on that front. I like everyone else knew what I was signing up for. It one of those jobs seen as a vocation, not a 9 to 5, a way of life for many. It comes with its positives and with its negatives.
So, what is the main positive?

Well, believe it or not for me it is actually helping people and feeling like you have made a difference with what you have done with your day. Whether family and friends believe me when I say that I can’t say for certain but I can say that my clients do.

At Geoffrey Miller we want our clients to succeed. We buy into our clients’ goals and aims when they decide to pick the phone up to speak with one of the team. We don’t judge, we just try to look for the best solution for that particular client. Whether it be fighting to keep a licence for someone who will lose everything without it or trying to make sure a client gets a fair and just sentence, there is always an aim and always a solution that is best for that client that we like to think we will give all to achieve.

We know drink driving cases provoke a whole range of strong emotions and there are few out there who think that drink driving is a minor offence. However, surely, if you had made a foolish error of judgement, you would want your point of view presented to the court in the best possible way? The consequences of some of the more serious motoring offences are entirely at the whim and discretion of a bench of magistrates who can only call upon a potentially narrow personal experience and a set of sentencing guidelines when making a decision that could be the difference between 6 points or a life altering disqualification. In other cases we present mitigation to persuade the court to impose a community service in place of a potentially life ruining prison sentence. 

The Institute of Alcohol Studies published figures in May 2013 (yet to be updated this year) stating that in the previous year there had been 54,936 findings of guilt for offences of driving etc., after consuming alcohol or taking drugs. That is a lot of people affected as a result. Of those findings of guilt a very small percentage will have been represented because they felt that lawyers couldn’t make a difference. We know different. We help hundreds of motorists each year deal with the prosecution they face by providing the best possible representation for them at Court and ensuring that their objectives are met, sometimes even bettered. We act professionally and in accordance with our clients' instructions regardless of the allegation and regardless of the plea.

Surely it is correct that our job is not to judge. Our job is to do whatever is lawful and in the best interests of our client whilst complying with our duties to the court and professional obligations. I like to think that we use those principles to fight the corner of our clients whatever their predicament.  Whether you are kind to lawyers is not really the issue. Are you being kind to yourself by making your mind up about a service that could help preserve what you have worked so hard to achieve and dismissing that option before finding out what it is all about? I say you are. It is worth calling us at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors at the very least for some no obligation free advice. It could be the difference. 

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