Are lawyers really self important? Do they really have big egos? Is it really important to them to have everyone know that they graduated from law school and passed the bar? Is George W. Bush a dangerous threat to our civil liberties. Duh. Of course. (I like that so much more than: Is a bear Catholic?) The Ginormous Corporate Entity is filled with lawyers, like myself, who have fled in desperation from actual practice. Many of us, such as myself, do not have job titles that would make clear to outside observers that we are lawyers. And, in fact, many lawyers who are accustomed to dealing with other companies in the same business do not realize at first that we are lawyers. My Ginormous Corporate Entity, however, only hires experienced lawyers to do my job.
When I started at the GCE two months ago I made the affirmative decision to not be arrogant about being a lawyer. For example, when they asked me how I want my business cards to read, they inquired as to whether I wanted “Esq” to follow my name. I said no. I always thought others called you “Esq,” and that it was not something that you called yourself. An honorific. I didn’t want to be the guy who hands over a business card that screams: "Hey, I gots me an education." But when my cards arrived, I had a moment of pain when I realized that if I were to give it to people outside the company, like, you know, pretty girls, they wouldn’t know what an important lawyer I am. But I dealt. I have noticed, however, that when I am on the phone with our outside counsel or with plaintiffs’ attorneys or with insureds’ attorneys, who didn’t know me prior to my starting here a few months ago -- which is just about all of them, since I’m a national guy now rather than just being confined to the Large Urban Center -- I inevitably drop into the conversation that I practiced at the Evil Defense Firm for ten years. I suppose that at times there is an advantage to having others that I deal with know that I am lawyer. They won’t try to put one over on me. On the other hand, it can be amusing when they don’t know that I’m a lawyer and begin a lengthy explanation of what a judge is.
ME: What’s the posture of the case?
DUMB LAWYER (“DL”): We filed a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the civil RICO claims. Now, a 12(b)(6) motion is when ...
ME: I know what it is.
DL: Okay. Well, RICO is a federal statute that ...
ME: I know what RICO is.
DL: Great. We’ve also been referred to a special master to deal with discovery issues. Discovery is the process whereby ...
And on and on and on. While he was pontificating, I looked him up in the on-line Martindale-Hubbell. (If you don’t think us in-house guys Mar-Hub (verb) you to see what we are dealing with, you’re sadly mistaken.) He’s only been admitted a year. A year!!! God bless his little junior associate heart. So, yeah, I guess I do have that lawyer ego.