The September issue of San Antonio Scene features an expanded Law & Politics section that includes the Top 30 Criminal Defense Lawyers and Top 30 Personal Injury Lawyers in San Antonio, as selected by their peers. The section also contains Law News, a Law Directory, a special Immigration Law section, the Bexar County General Election Voter Guide and an article by Wyatt Wright entitled “Honor in Personal Injury Law,” an excerpt of which can be found below.
In Medieval England, watching trials was a favorite pastime of the people—presumably because they didn’t have HBO. Often, large crowds arrived and packed the courtroom making it difficult for the judges and lawyers to function. In order to create a space for the attorneys to operate, the courts installed a “bar” that separated the courtrooms into two sections: the gallery for spectators and the area in front of the bar for the lawyers. Only attorneys were allowed to “pass the bar” in the courtroom. Being welcomed to the “bar” took on a special meaning and privilege—you were able to do something that others could not. (This custom still exists in America today and if you walk into any courtroom you will immediately spot the “bar” as a low wall or fence between the judge and the gallery.)
To be sure, a lawyer holds many privileges. How he uses them is a good measure of his ability, honesty and character. But what does it mean to be a personal injury lawyer? How do we act, and how are we supposed to act? What do we do, as opposed to what the public believes we do? These are all valid questions when pursuing the goal of upholding, and in some cases restoring, the positive professional image of practicing law. But the idea is sound—an honorable lawyer is one who fights for his client, often when others are unwilling to do so.
This is the world of the modern lawyer. Lawyers help shape the course of our legal history—often without a complainant. Why? Because it is the right thing to do. Personal injury lawyers don’t wait until 100 children are killed in a defective crib; we go after the first injury to prevent future harm. We don’t wait until a dangerous drug maims millions; we work to stop it in its tracks—today! Comedian Benny Hill made a great point when he observed, “[j]ust because nobody complains doesn’t mean all parachutes are perfect.” Perhaps this is part of what drives law school enrollment—the chance to change history and to do some good along the way.
Read more in the September 2014 issue of S.A. Scene.