A friend of mine, John Kolbas, wrote a response to my blog "Era of Hell in a Hand Basket" which merits printing. You will find his opinions thoughtful and informative.
Accountability is an issue today, but it has always been an issue. Some always stand up when it is necessary or when called to do. Some seldom stand up when necessary or when called to do so and some never stand up when necessary or when called to do so.
As relates to attorneys, our laws are written by attorneys, our laws for the most part are voted on by attorneys, our laws are interpreted by judges who almost always are attorneys. Although many attorneys speak of justice, their desire to make a living (certainly an acceptable goal) and support the efforts of their colleagues in making a living have guided them to be sure that the law follows the path of deep pockets. In the laws they write, pass and rule on personal accountability takes a back seat to blame being put on others for all that is wrong in the world. Perhaps no profession has done more to convince the public that it is someone else’s fault than the legal profession. Personal accountability suffers when the masses are bombarded on a daily basis with messages attempting to convince them that everything is someone else’s fault.
Do those who suffer at the hands of another deserve justice? Of course they do; but bad outcomes are not always malpractice, coffee is normally hot, and parents need to teach their children how to use a step ladder and keep their heads out of plastic bags.
If the legal profession wants to again elevate itself to where it once stood in society, it will need to return to its roots of counseling, mentoring and advocating. The most visible in the profession are the ambulance chasers and those who attempt to convince everyone that corporations are at fault for all that is wrong in the world. Until the profession reins in these members by working towards laws and a justice system, that assure justice, not simply a path to deep pockets, the profession will continue to remain near the bottom of the respect ladder.
Personal accountability will increase when society enacts laws and adjudicates those laws holding individuals and corporations responsible for their actions in a manner not guided by who can pay, but by who is actually and justly responsible.