Over at Simple Justice Scott addresses Other Steve’s question of whether he should be a criminal-defense lawyer. Scott’s a steely-eyed realist; he doesn’t share the popular delusion that our criminal justice system is a great system; no, the system sucks. And criminal-defense lawyers aren’t likely to strike it rich. But still:
We write about fighting the good fight. We sometimes spout the platitudes that bring warmth and comfort to the quiet, huddled masses. We try to give hope. But we know that for all our efforts and persistence, most of the poor unfortunates who fall into the grasp of the law will end up miserable for one reason or another.
So . . . should you become a criminal-defense lawyer[?] Absolutely. Not because you’re going to get rich. Not because you will become part of a system that imparts justice and fairness to our society. These are pipe dreams. Myths.
Do it because if you don’t, then the game is over. If young men and women who still believe in doing the right thing for the right reason decide that there is no place for them in the law, then we have lost the war and succumbed to the lowest common denominator in our society.