Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lawyers are Evil

In my job I have to deal with lawyers on a regular basis. This is, without question, the worst part of my job. I have not had a lot of experience with lawyers outside of the environmental industry. I'm sure there are great lawyers out there that are fabulous people. I'm not writing about those lawyers. I'm writing about the a-holes that I have to deal with in my very narrow area of interest.

Lawyers, even environmental lawyers, are not technical people. They do not have a understanding of remediation technologies, state laws, geology and a number of other factors that affect site cleanup so they must depend on engineers, like myself, to be their technical experts. Unfortunately, even in areas that they are not experienced, lawyers are incapable of listening to anyone else's opinion. When they don't understand the science behind your recommendations, they attack your proposal based on how the case will hold up in court. But not until after they've asked you to explain to them for the 50th time your reasoning only to shoot you down and end up at the same conclusion they had before talking to you.

If 100% of your decision is based on what you could save in court costs then you don't need any technical people advising you. When you make me sit through hours of worthless conference calls where I might say 4 words. When you have me in meetings as a "technical expert" to give a 30 second answer to a question that I have given you in dozens of previous meetings and that is clearly stated in the hundreds of pages of historical documents that I have sent you. You are wasting my time and insulting my intelligence. I know its hard for you to believe that I have better things to do than sit on the phone while you talk at me for hours on end but I do. I am not a paralegal. I am not a secretary. I am not a legal assistant. No, I didn't go to law school, but my engineering degree doesn't make me uneducated or in some way subordinate to you .

The problem is that every time I talk to these lawyers I get stuck in their trap. If I could only turn my brain off and agree with everything they say I could avoid a lot of this crap. But I try to reason with them and they beat my down. My face gets hot, my hands shake, my blood pressure shoots up, my heart thumps so loudly I think other people must hear it, there is a lump in my throat and my day is ruined. When I get home I have a headache and a brain full of all the things I would love to say to them but never will.

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