There has always been a little rivalry between lawyers and doctors, hasn’t there? A certain amount of jealousy about the other’s place in society, a bit of resentment about the way “they” do things. But it’s really sort of a silly exercise isn’t it—trying to determine which of two professions is “better”? Law and medicine are each noble callings, their histories littered with towering figures like Clarence Darrow and Jonas Salk, their ranks today filled with some of our brightest minds. And “better” how? Is there any reasonable way to determine superiority when there is no standard against which to measure? It doesn’t even seem rational to compare and contrast such dissimilar bodies. But I did anyway.
And lawyers are way, way better.
At this point, I am legally required to disclose that I am, in fact, a lawyer. The truth is, I don’t think this is at all relevant and if I had my way I wouldn’t have told you. I believe my objectivity is beyond question. But after seeing a draft of this article, the editors of this fine publication insisted that I make the disclosure. Ironically, when I refused, they sued me.
I can’t reveal any of details of my defense, other than to say that in her written decision the presiding judge called my presentation “the lowest, meanest display of personal vitriol that [she] had ever encountered in over 20 years on the bench,” after which she added that I “offended not only these editors but also basic standards of decency and fair play.” It is always nice to hear compliments about your work, but it would have meant more if she’d ruled in my favor. While my appeal is pending, the editors wisely decided to print this article, knowing full well that I would counter-sue them if they pulled it.
This leads directly to the first reason why lawyers rule and doctors drool:
1. People fear us
When people meet you at a cocktail party, they are impressed and interested in what you do. They love to munch on crackers and cheese and hear your riveting stories about saving lives and easing the troubles of the suffering. When they meet us, they put on a fake smile, get sweaty palms, and suddenly lose their appetites. Depending on just how guilty their consciences are, some even get a little dizzy.
When they are in need, they come to you. When they’re not even looking, we come after them.
Everyone knows it’s better to be feared than loved. We lawyers get to live the dream every day.
2. Lawyers are physically stronger than doctors
Admittedly, I base this on one specific instance of moving an antique bureau, but the results were startlingly clear. My lovely wife, who just happens to be a doctor, could barely hold up her end as we struggled to get that behemoth down our basement stairs. Sure, going backwards down the stairs made things more difficult for her, but it’s her own fault she wasted so much energy cursing at me. And, yes, there is a reason I had the lighter end—it’s called scouting things out the night before. While I may have told her that each end weighed the same, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that lying is perfectly acceptable if done in the service of your client, in this case, my back.
Unfortunately, my client didn’t feel all that great after spending the next several nights on the couch.
3. Less time spent dealing with body cavities
Unless, of course, we are trying to collect a fee from a client—in which case we’ll reach pretty much anywhere.
4. Black robes beat white lab coats
It’s not just that black is a way more intimidating color than white; it’s also the length of the garment. You can wear just about whatever you want under those flowing black robes—or nothing at all. I have it on good authority that Chief Justice Roberts wears only his birthday suit under his robe during oral arguments at the Supreme Court. Also, admit it: You feel silly wearing white after Labor Day.