Last Tuesday was “National Be Kind to Lawyers Day.” To me, a saying on one of my old, beat-up T-shirts epitomizes the importance of personal injury lawyers on this special day. On the front is a quote from Shakespeare’s Henry VI: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” I have always worn this shirt as a badge of honor. But imagine my surprise to see that some of the more extreme front organizations for insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, big tobacco and others – who aim to restrict Americans’ rights to the courtroom and put even more restrictions on personal injury lawyers and lawsuits – have started a new campaign also adopting this famous quote from Shakespeare.
Those who would use this phrase to lash out at personal injury lawyers are as misguided about the Great Bard as they are about their own misdirected anger. Or, in the case of most of the companies paying for make-believe “grass roots” organizations like M-Law, they are fearful that personal injury verdicts and settlements will put dangerous or unsafe products and drugs out of business.
I was an English major at the University of Michigan, and it has some advantages. If these critics had bothered to say, pick up the book, even a cursory reading of the section in which the “lawyer killing” statement is made in King Henry VI (Part II, Act IV, Scene 2) reveals that Shakespeare was paying a great compliment to lawyers. To Shakespeare, lawyers were the front line defenders of liberty and democracy.
The quote was spoken by Dick the Butcher, a follower of the anarchist Jack Cade, whom Shakespeare depicts as the head of an army of rabble, a demagogue pandering to the ignorant. When Shakespeare wrote these words, it was his acknowledgment that the first thing any potential tyrant must do to eliminate freedom and liberty is “kill all the lawyers.” Looking at some of the bloodiest leaders of the modern age, from Stalin to Hitler, to Mao, Shakespeare’s point remains ever true.
Who are today’s Jack Cades? They can be readily found buying full-page newspaper ads denouncing the civil justice system, the right to a jury trial, jury verdicts and Michigan personal injury lawyers. As recent headlines and the scandals of Bernie Maddoff and Jack Abramoff illustrate, the power of those who use corrupt lobbyists and politicians to shield themselves from civil liability is dizzying.
Today’s Jack Cades can be found in the disgraced former heads of the insurance industry, such as AIG, Allstate, and State Farm, in pharmaceutical and chemical companies that hide information on dangerous but highly profitable drugs, in manufacturing, and in others who seek to disarm our personal injury tort system. These groups want to disrupt or control our judiciary, and circumvent our common law to the detriment of the individual, the consumer, and the injured.
Trial lawyers, personal injury lawyers, and our civil justice system remain the first line of defense against tyranny and unchecked power and greed. It is a powerful counterweight to the most irresponsible elements of the insurance, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries.
I keep my old, faded T-shirt because I am proud to own it. I wonder if those who repeat this quote and so loudly proclaim their own ignorance can say the same. With that, I’d like to take “Be Kind to Lawyers Day” as an opportunity to thank the auto accident lawyers of Michigan Auto Law for their hard work and dedication in the name of car accident and truck accident victims who have been seriously injured or killed in crashes, or wronged by insurance companies. I’d also like to acknowledge my fellow Michigan personal injury lawyers, who are crusading to make Michigan safer for its residents and families.
Personal Injury Lawyers of Michigan Auto Law
If you have been in an automobile accident and don’t know where to turn, consider Michigan Auto Law. We are Michigan’s largest law firm practicing exclusively in car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases. Because our lawyers have been helping injury victims for more than 50 years and three generations, we understand the physical, emotional and psychological hardships that you are experiencing from your accident. Our firm is large enough to provide the resources to handle the most challenging cases, yet small enough to provide the personalized, responsive attention that every client deserves. Michigan Auto Law has achieved more million dollar verdicts and settlements for automobile accident injury and death cases than any other law firm in Michigan. Year after year, our law firm has unmatched success helping people. Please call (800) 777-0028 for a free, no obligation case evaluation. For more information about our law firm, please read our quick facts.
– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Spemss