The truth, however, is a bit more complicated than that. While the villains in our Legal Schnauzer tale tend to be lawyers, the heroes also often are lawyers. Unfortunately, the villains greatly outnumber the heroes.
Perhaps that's why I have great admiration for some lawyers--the rare honest ones who actually live up to their profession's high ideals. It isn't easy to be ethical in a profession that has built-in incentives for unethical behavior.
While I admire the few noble lawyers that I've encountered in real life, my favorite lawyer is a different story altogether. That's because he isn't real--and maybe that says something about the legal profession.
My favorite lawyer is Theodore Buckland, Esq., better known as Ted, the in-house counsel at Sacred Heart Hospital in the brilliant TV comedy, Scrubs.
Ted is the hospital's resident "sad sack," a title he earns by regularly having pens explode in his shirt pocket. With his band "The Worthless Peons," Ted helps provide a musical backdrop for some of Scrubs' classic moments.
As for lawyering skills, Ted is a little lacking in that department. For example, Ted is not exactly the tough-guy intimidator that Chief of Staff Bob Kelso would like to have. When Kelso confronts Dr. Perry Cox about improperly placing a patient in a clinical trial, Ted fails to convey the serious nature of the charges:
Cox: I'm waiting.
Ted: Unfortunately, you've put us in somewhat of a legal bind.
Kelso: Way to go, Ted. You couldn't scare a child.
Ted: Who would want to?
One of my all-time favorite Scrubs moments comes when Dr. Chris Turk has been sued for medical malpractice because a surgical procedure he performed harmed a patient's tennis game--even though the patient was a terrible tennis player to begin with. The patient is represented by a testicle-eating female lawyer named Nina, played by Julianna Margulies of ER fame.
Nina: So, should we start this deposition or do you boys just want to hand us a big bag of money?
Patient: Huh, huh, huh . . . big bag of money.
Turk (whispering): You aren't going to freeze up around her again, are you Ted?
Ted: No chance, I'm drugged up. Plus, if I concentrate, I think I can control the excessive flop sweat I get the second she speaks."
God, I love Ted, and so does Mrs. Schnauzer. If the real legal profession included more people like him, the world would be a better place. Ted might be incompetent, but at least he's genuine and honest. And that's way more than I can say for many lawyers.
Here is a video of "Ted's Greatest Hits" from Scrubs. Enjoy.