Why “A Million Lawyers at the Bottom of the Ocean” is Hardly a Start At All
While political processes are ongoing and never-ending we all tend to measure such changes in terms of our own lives; for me, one of the most significant changes to the worse was in the 1970’s when lawyers were allowed to advertise. The ruling forced lawyers to be known, to have a public reputation, in order to thrive, or even survive as a lawyer. They might have a trickle of new clients from folks in need of legal counsel picking their name out of the white pages but, most of their practice came from referrals and from knowing the people personally; lawyers for decades were very big on joining social clubs, charities, associations and what-not in order to build their network. Gee Virginia, it must have been awful back then, billions of man-hours worth of time and money going to social and charitable causes instead of billboards and Radio/TV ads promising a HUGE CASH AWARD for Your Illness or Injury.
The problem with the old rule was that it was never a law; it was merely a Bar Association ruling of long standing and tradition. You see old school lawyers understood how advertising would cheapen, rightfully, their profession in the public’s perception; they applied the rule so as to prevent very same accurate contempt for the legal profession as now obtains!
It took the Supreme Court to force the national bar association to abandon this tradition with Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977).
Within ten years of the rule being relaxed the population of U.S. lawyers had exploded and the era of Clarence Darrow entered its twilight while the reign of Morris Bart and James T. Sokolov et. al. began!
Now, we have the Supreme Court itself so politicized that one faction used its power to excuse a blatant act of corporate-funded electioneering only to see the other faction’s party take their precedent and run it to Hell and back. I am referring of course to the ruling that allowed corporate “persons” suddenly, after over two hundred years of only having right to commercial speech, to obtain a right to political free speech identical to an individual human citizen.
What is the other party doing about it? Nothing, except rush to set up their own corporate slush funds to further distort the election process and disenfranchise the voting citizen that is.