A friend of mine, a business consultant and "recovering lawyer," once told me that there wasn't a damned thing you could tell lawyers, because they thought they knew it all. This helps explain why his sojourn into the world of business consulting for law firms was so short. Another reason might have been what a boss of his once told him: "You not only don't suffer fools gladly, you don't suffer them AT ALL."
Being of the same temperament, I "feel his pain."
In an article in the March-April 1996 issue of the Harvard Business Review, entitled "Making the Most of the Best," Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business professors James Brian Quinn, Philip Anderson and Sidney Finklestein, expressed similar views, albeit with less exasperation. Of course, they didn't have to live with lawyers 24/7/365, either.
Because professionals have specialized knowledge and have been trained as an elite, they often tend to regard their judgment in other realms as sacrosanct as well. Professionals generally hesitate to subordinate themselves to others or to support organizational goals not completely congruous with their special viewpoint. That is why most professional firms operate as partnerships and not as hierarchies, and why it is difficult for them to adopt a uniform strategy.
The good professors were talking about doctors, accountants, investment bankers, management consultants and similar professionals, not merely lawyers. They all risk suffering from the twin dysfunctional traits of arrogance and hubris, the deadly combination embodied in its Platonic ideal form by THE GREATEST PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE EVER (aka "The Orange Man").
"I know a lot about a little, therefore, I know a lot about everything."
Or, as my friend less generously puts it: "Mix equal parts of arrogance and ignorance and you've got yourself a law firm."
Of course, you could have said the same for an accounting firm, a medical practice, or a business consulting firm. Nevertheless, singling out and picking on lawyers is simply more fun, isn't it?
Yeah, I thought you'd say that.
And while we're on the topic of a human being that wears a live animal for a hairpiece, let's not forget that if He-Who-Knows-More-Than-His-Generals is elevated to Bloviator-in-Chief in a few months, a side benefit for bankers might be that one of the biggest "Native American" burrs under the saddle of the banking biz might finally be forced out of public life and back on to the reservation. At least, that's the hope of Homer Simpson.