As a practicing lawyer, you probably do everything you can to counter the negative public perception of the legal profession—say, calmly explaining to the guy sitting next to you at a dinner party that aggressive lawyers help to keep greedy corporations in check. In the best cases, you may sufficiently impress this individual that he calls on you in the future when he needs a lawyer—but your lesson may be valuable in another, less obvious way.
At some point in the future, that guy who sat next to you at the party may not be in need of a lawyer, but he may also find himself summoned to jury duty for a personal injury case. And if even a little bit of your “lawyers are a force for good” message got through, he may be more disposed to give the plaintiff's attorney the benefit of the doubt, rather than dismissing him from the get-go as a money-grubbing shylock whose sole purpose is to collect one-third of his client's settlement.
Of course, this person won't be seated on your case—the fact that he knows you socially is enough to have him excluded from the jury. But look at it this way: if some other lawyer, somewhere, has had the same positive effect on a potential juror, that person may wind up seated on your next case, where he will give your client a more sympathetic hearing. This is a good example of how countering the negative public perception of lawyers can have a tangible benefit down the road!
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