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All the Lawyers?
The following discusses how the "kill all the lawyers" quote has
misappropriated by those who would benefit most if their actions went
Ironically, the rallying cry of the lawyer bashers has become Shakespeare's
quote from Henry VI: "THE FIRST THING WE DO, LET'S KILL
ALL THE LAWYERS."
Those who use this phrase pejoratively against lawyers are as miserably
misguided about their Shakespeare as they are about the judicial system
which they disdain so freely.
Even a cursory reading of the context in which the lawyer killing statement is
made in King Henry VI, Part II, (Act IV), Scene 2, reveals that Shakespeare was
paying great and deserved homage to our venerable profession as the front line
defenders of democracy.
The accolade is spoken by Dick the Butcher, a follower of anarchist Jack
Cade, whom Shakespeare depicts as "the head of an army of rabble and a
demagogue pandering to the ignorant," who sought to overthrow the government. Shakespeare's acknowledgment that the
first thing any
potential tyrant must do to eliminate freedom is to "kill all the
lawyers" is, indeed, a classic and well-deserved compliment to our
Today's Jack Cades can readily be found throughout the insurance industry and in
manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and chemical companies. They want to
dismantle the tort system. They want to disrupt the judiciary and abrogate
the common law, to the detriment of the rights of individual citizens,
consumers, and injured persons who deserve competent representation and adequate
redress for harm done to them.
Over the centuries tyrants and demagogues have come in many forms. In
today's context, it is not the "army of rabble and a demagogue pandering to
the ignorant" who cry for the demise of the lawyers, but rather modern demagogues who manipulate our governmental
institutions to their own ends.
Why? Because trial lawyers are the first line of defense to prevent
irresponsible elements within the insurance, manufacturing, and chemical
companies from dismantling the tort system, disrupting the judiciary and
abrogating the common law to the detriment of the rights of individual
citizens, consumers and tort victims.