No, not that one. Bierce . . .
I found this great quote while reading The Freeman Book (a collection of articles and essays from Nock’s famous journal in the 1920s): “The poor wish only to be rich, which is impossible, not to be better. They would like to be rich in order to be worse, generally speaking.” Ambrose Bierce.
He’s absolutely right, of course. It’s the biggest reason I don’t do any pro bono legal work, despite the efforts of leftists in the Michigan State Bar Association to make it a requirement (aside: one self-righteous Bar President once told business lawyers, who objected to mandatory pro bono divorce and landlord-tenant work on grounds that they don’t do that type of work, “That’s no excuse. We will offer you free training”; it apparently never crossed her mind that the business lawyers may have other ways to spend their days).
Poor people who seek free legal assistance rarely seek justice. They seek revenge and domination. They want to beat up someone in court, without paying a dime for it. They want to bring thunder and lightning in order to vindicate themselves and beat on their adversaries, even though they can’t pay enough money to light a candle.
As a Catholic, I try to keep myself dedicated to helping the poor, but free legal services is a delicate thing, a very delicate thing with all sorts of pitfalls. As a lawyer, you’re better off giving alms and just leave it at that, though I do a lot of free and reduced-fee work for charitable organizations.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList