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Why Do People Hate Lawyers?

Why Do People Hate Lawyers?

Why Do People Hate Lawyers?


“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” –William Shakespeare


It’s no secret that a large portion of the general public has a negative perception of attorneys, but why exactly is that? It is because most people only deal with attorneys on their worst days? Is it because of those cheesy daytime TV commercials? Is it because they feel attorneys make too much money? Today we’ll look at a few of the reasons that lawyers, in general, are given a bad reputation.

The Effect of Sensational Media Coverage

One of the main reasons for this perception is due to the way the media selectively reports the most ridiculous-sounding lawsuits in an effort to earn more engagement with viewers. When your local ABC affiliate does a segment on how some guy in another state is suing his dry cleaner for 50 million dollars, ask yourself why they are talking the time to talk about it. Is this newsworthy content? Is this beneficial to the general viewer? Or is this an obvious attempt at sensationalism?

Reading about frivolous lawsuits does not set well with the public and leads to the formation of negative opinions about lawyers in general. News outlets report these kinds of stories simply to give the audience something to be upset about in hopes of gaining viral attention. You’ll never see a news story about an attorney who helped a retiree set up a trust and/or write a will. It’s just not compelling or sensational.

Attorneys Fees

Many people tend to avoid hiring an attorney, even when they know they need one, because they are afraid of the cost. No one wants to be blind-sided with a large bill; especially when going through a trying legal battle.

Most people do not realize that personal injury attorneys, for example, only make money on a case if they actually win the client money. They do not bill their clients for hourly work, phone calls, copies, etc, and do not ask for any money up front. Instead, they work on what’s called a contingency fee basis. With these types of cases, all of the financial risk is on the law firm and your goals are aligned with those of your attorney – to resolve the case quickly and for as much compensation as possible.

Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits can also garner negative perceptions, as people become quite upset when they hear about cases in which the lawyers collect $4 million, while the plaintiffs only see $5 each.

What most people do not understand is that most class actions involve very small-value individual claims; things that would never be worth the cost of a lawyer (or even one’s time) to pursue on an individual basis. If it doesn’t make economical sense for you to sue a concert ticket vendor for their $12 “E-Ticket convenience fee,” why would the company ever stop this practice? People tend to get hung up on the money that goes toward legal fees and miss the big picture. Yes, very-experienced top-tier law firms get paid well, but it’s not three attorneys splitting the proceeds between themselves. Tons of work goes into class action cases, they can involve hundreds of attorneys, and often take years to resolve.

Why be upset with the attorneys, who spent countless hours working toward a resolution, when in many cases they’re standing up for the consumer?

“Attorneys Are Unnecessary”

Some people have the impression that attorneys make vast sums of money, without producing any true value. It’s important for the public to keep in mind that attorneys are a big reason we have so much consumer protection nowadays. Lawsuits are responsible for some of the more-common things we now take for granted, including (but certainly not limited to) the following:

While many people hold a negative impression of attorneys, they serve an extremely important role in many facets of our everyday life. As the saying goes, “everyone hates lawyers… until they need one.”

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