It would be nice to think that bad things only happen to bad people, but if bad things never happened to good people I suppose most lawyers would be out of a job. Professor Hall wrote a beautiful essay about how the law was created as a safety net to ensure some base level of civility when all other social norms failed. Unfortunately, this purpose in the law has gotten lost with all the games that some people like to play, where the law is actually used as a weapon. To right this wrong, maybe we should start asking lawyers to take a hippocratic oath, like doctors, to do no harm?
Some of us became lawyers because we wanted to help people; others simply wanted the prestige and prospect of a lucrative salary. I suppose no amount of required Continuing Legal Education courses or minimum pro bono hours will ever help the latter type of attorney convert to a kinder, gentler soul. Thankfully, the true power lies with the clients, who can choose to seek out those attorneys with a proven track record– those dedicated to taking on-going trainings and giving back to their communities.
We may not always see immediate rewards for our good work in life, but I am a firm believer that you reap what you sow. We will all have our share of heartbreak, disappointments and setbacks, but it is how we choose to handle these situations that defines our character and makes us who we are as individuals. In relationships, these challenges will create those make-it or break-it moments. For those that stay stuck in anger and want revenge, there are attorneys that will feed off these emotions and go for scorched earth litigation. These types of cases destroy families for generations and give the rest of us divorce lawyers a really bad (undeserved) reputation.
In the end, I realize I cannot stop bad things from happening to good people, and I can only hope to end their pain as quickly and gently as possible. For those that choose to practice a different way, all I can say is that another firm belief I have is that if bad things happen to good people, REALLY REALLY bad things happen to bad people.