Miss Manners has this suggestion for responding to lawyer insults
A lawyer who is fed up with insults against the legal profession has asked advice columnist Miss Manners how to “politely, yet firmly, respond to people who insult one’s profession.” Image from Shutterstock.
A lawyer who is fed up with insults against the legal profession asked advice columnist Miss Manners how to “politely, yet firmly, respond to people who insult one’s profession.”
“I am a lawyer, and I say so when I’m asked what my profession is,” the lawyer wrote. “Some people feel it is then their right, or even their obligation, to go on a tirade against all lawyers. This happens mostly at social gatherings, where I would prefer not to respond in kind, yet I feel as if some response is warranted.”
Miss Manners suggested this response to criticism against lawyers: “I hope you’ll never need one.”
It’s not the first time that Miss Manners encountered a letter writer unhappy about lawyer criticism. In April 2019, an attorney’s wife wrote that she had attended a patriotic musical program with her 80-year-old husband in which the emcee made disparaging remarks about lawyers.
The letter writer said the audience didn’t laugh. Instead, several people gasped, likely because the letter writer and her attorney husband were well known in the community. The woman later told the emcee that her husband had been practicing law for 55 years “helping literally thousands of people,” and they were proud of his profession.
Miss Manners agreed that disparaging jokes about any profession are risky and tasteless.
But Miss Manners suggested that it would have been better to let the emcee learn his lesson from the audience’s tepid reaction. The woman’s admonishment “likely only taught him the unfair and inaccurate lesson that lawyers’ spouses are even more humorless than lawyers themselves,” Miss Manners wrote.