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John Brown: Law not as easy as it looks

John Brown
John Brown

"Those who love sausages and those who love the law, should never watch while they are being made."

A few years ago I listened to another lawyer complain about the influx of pre-made wills and related documents. In some cases work that would normally be done by a lawyer had been precooked as it were and all the customer had to do was follow the instructions. “They’re trying to eat our lunch,” the lawyer said.

Notwithstanding the lunch that was eaten or not, his statement made me think a bit about this old and creaky profession that I am a part of and wonder just how much we lawyers are needed at all.

It is easy to chide the profession — we wear robes at times, we carry enormous brief cases, and we use Victorian nomenclature. In popular culture we have gone from the honest and able Perry Mason to the questionable antics seen in Better Call Saul. Do we need lawyers anymore?

But then I have clients come in with a simple will request. Only after a short interview, it is not such a simple issue anymore. For example, they want to pass on a license that you need to be a professional to even use. They want a company to continue with an in-law as director, while not losing title in case of a divorce, and other things the kits don’t tell you. I am looking into how to solve that when it hits me — I am a lawyer right now trying to solve this. I can solve this and most people cannot.

And this is what lawyers do. We solve problems.

In this column I plan to talk about the use of law in everyday issues, and to talk about greater issues that influence the law. Court cases, new legislation, and related topics will be discussed. Politics will be a hot topic too as what are our elected officers, if not the inventors of our newest laws?

Irwin Shaw wrote that lawyers are able to speak the language of litigation. I thought about that quote when I got into law school. We translate the burdensome mess of legalese to help towards certainty and understanding. We endeavor to make the opaque clear.

Everything in the column is my opinion first and only and it should never take the place of legal advice. Come on! If you need that then you should go see a lawyer.

John Brown is a lawyer based in Bay Roberts. He can be reached by email at jb@johnbrownlaw.ca.

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