Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

New for 2010: Self-Mocking Lawyers

This is an actual law firm; they take personal injury cases and advertise on the New York City subway system, and probably on TV and the radio, too. I’m glad someone finally understands my pain.

Seriously though, personal injury attorneys may be about as reviled as lawyers come. I suppose District Attorneys with political ambitions are probably unpopular among some segments of the population, but it’s much more likely that I just watch(ed) too much TV (before law school). Put aside your abject outrage for a bit, Dear Reader, and consider what function a personal injury attorney serves.

Think of the circle of life: plant makes fruit, bird eats fruit, larger bird eats bird, snake eats large bird, mammal eats snake, dinosaur devours mammal, shark with jetpack eats dinosaur, jetpack runs out of fuel, shark crashes, worms eat shark’s corpse, and worms nourish soil for plant. ((I was a sickly child and absent for most of my 4th grade biology class. I’m pretty sure this is how it goes.))

In the same way that every creature in the life cycle plays a part in propping up the enterprise as a whole (until the inevitable nuclear holocaust caused by SkyNet), the personal injury attorney plays a key role in our society. Sure, firms don’t want to run afoul of consumer protection laws, but they’re similarly skittish about running afoul of lawsuits. Laws make it a Bad Thing to sell some kinds of unsafe products, lawsuits make it an Expensive Thing.

And, of course, the counterargument goes that having an army of lawyers sitting around waiting for your company to get sued is an Expensive Bad Thing in itself. Worse, it’s one which makes your safe products more expensive, because you have to offset your costs of keeping all those lawyers around.

Like just about everything in the world, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the optimum outcome lies somewhere between “everyone should sue everyone for everything ever” and “no one should sue anyone ever again.” (This is the boldest claim anyone in the history of the tort reform debate has ever made.) But we definitely need more funny commercials:

Frankly, I’m glad there’s a firm injecting some levity into the discussion and reminding folks that not all personal injury attorneys want to sue everyone. These conversations are so damn heavy all the time. They’re totally harshing my mellow, maaaan.