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Kill All the Lawyers?

The following discusses how the "kill all the lawyers" quote has been
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 distinguished profession.

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.

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