It’s human nature to create great tales, especially about things that we do not understand; this is why there are a lot of legends and superstitions from older generations. Although it’s an excellent way to broaden your imagination and at the same time satisfy humankind’s need for answers, as we continue to progress as a society, many of these myths are being debunked by scientific discoveries or new knowledge. We now know that lightning can indeed strike the same place twice and that swallowed chewing gum doesn’t take seven years to be digested.
To the majority of the population, the legal system and the practice of law are a few of the most mysterious things. Because it’s something that we don’t understand right away, we rely on what is readily available to us to find the answers and those are movies and TV. Be completely honest, you have a picture in your mind when you hear the word lawyer, right? And I bet that this image in your head resembles someone that you’ve seen on TV or in a film. Although some of the things that you see in pop culture are true, the majority of them are exaggerations of things that happen in real life, after all, movies and TV shows are meant to be an escape from reality.
Here are some myths about the legal system and lawyers that are pretty far from reality:
1. Law school is scary and full of weird people. – Contrary to popular belief, law school is not some boot camp where students go to suffer through excruciating mental torture. It’s true that there will be times when you don’t get enough sleep, but isn’t this also true when you go to college? Law school requires plenty of work and a mastery of the subject, but if you want to be a lawyer, these things will be interesting to you. Another thing that people usually think about law school is that all the students are dull or “nerds” that don’t know how to interact with other people. Just like any learning institutions, the law school has a diverse set of students that come from different background and have different motivations.
2. The courtroom is a lawyer’s playground. – As much as pop culture would like you to believe that lawyers spend their days delivering passionate speeches to a jury and prancing around a courtroom, this is not the case. It is true that litigation lawyers spend time inside the courtroom during a trial, but there is a lot of research done before they get there. Lawyers spend hours trying to build a solid case before they bring it to a judge and jury. There are also different types of lawyers that very rarely need to go to court. Ever notice how there aren’t many movies that revolve around tax lawyers or intellectual property lawyers?
3. Being a lawyer means having lots of money. – Just like any other professions, it can be hard for a lawyer to find employment after graduation. Going to law school is not a guarantee that you’ll be able to find a job right away or that the position you’ll land will be a gold mine. Law schools also cost a lot of money meaning that even lawyers have to pay off student loans just like the rest of the population who went to college.
4. Lawyers are sleazy. – Probably one of the most perpetuated myths about lawyers is that all of them are liars and unethical. Contrary to popular belief, lawyers are held to a higher standard of honesty and integrity. Lawyers take an oath and bar associations across the country have their own set of rules that a lawyer must adhere to. One of the reasons behind this myth still being widely accepted is because lawyers are the people you go to at the lowest points of your life. People associate lawyers with divorce, criminals, injury, and damages, and the portrayal of lawyers in media doesn’t help.
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