Let's face it -- lawyers don't exactly have spotless reputation. When people think of lawyers, words like "cheat" and "shyster" invariably come to mind. Okay, I may be exaggerating a little, but stereotypes tend to contain at least a scintilla of truth. The lawyers who actually are greedy, money-grubbing, billable-hour-exaggerating poor excuses for human beings have ruined it for the rest of us in the industry. And the suffix "Esq." may as well be a scarlet abbreviation on our business cards.
Of course, stereotypes are made to be broken. Believe it or not, it is possible to be both a lawyer and a sympathetic human being at the same time. The most obvious first step is to be and stay ethical. There's nothing wrong with making money, but do it with a clear conscience. The other is to give back to the community in some way. You don't have to quit your six-figure salary and corner office and become a public interest attorney -- maybe a donation here, a pro bono case there, or even community service not related to law. The important thing is to never forget that people depend on you, and you depend on them.
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