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Friday, July 13, 2007

Too many lawyers in Wisconsin?

The Associated Press has reported that a Wisconsin legislator has persuaded the state's Assembly to eliminate all state funding for the University of Wisconsin law school. The reason: There's too many lawyers in Wisconsin.

Rep. Frank Lasee, R-Green Bay, was quoted as saying: "We don't need more ambulance chasers. We don't need frivolous lawsuits. And we don't need attorneys making people's lives miserable when they go to family court for divorces. And I think that having too many attorneys leads to all those bad results."

Wow. Tell us how you really feel Rep. Lasee. I respect the representative's right to make these comments, but I also respect the legal profession too much to let them go unchallenged. We know that lawyers are not rated too high on the public's list of honorable professions, and negative, stereotypical comments like these are a big part of the reason. They seriously undercut and undermine the good and important work that personal injury and family law attorneys do for their clients. While every profession has a few "bad apples," by far the great majority of attorneys I know -- and as a legal journalist and attorney myself, I know a lot of them -- are honorable folks who got into the profession to help people.

Fortunately, according to the AP report, Lasee's plan appears to have little chance at surviving negotiations between the Assembly and Democratic-controlled Senate and being included in the Legislature's final budget. And even if it did, Gov. Jim Doyle would likely veto it. (Apparently, Doyle's late mother was a beloved administrator at the law school.)

Let's hope Rep. Lasee's sentiments -- and his proposal to eliminate funding to the state's law school -- are not contagious and don't spread to Wisconsin's neighbors. Let's also hope that Rep. Lasee doesn't need legal representation any time soon.

1 comment:

PheistyBlog said...

It isn't the attorneys causing all of the trouble. It's the rediculous laws that make it such a great climate for lawsuits in Wisconsin, and make it more and more difficult to do business here.