For the past several months, I’ve been somewhat intimate with lawyers on an almost daily basis. I remember being somewhat surprised at first that lawyers (at least in Israel) have a “lawyer”/”attorney” prefix to their name, quite exactly like doctors do.
So yeah, both of these professions are ancient, very respected, gods know it’s well paid (especially if you’re good) and most importantly, everyone, and I do mean everyone, needs them.
People are social and competetive, so they need lawyers.
People are aggregates of decaying biomass, so they need doctors.
There’s something amazingly platonic about these professions: If the slaughterhouse is closed, you go to a veggie restaurant. If you’re out of bread, you fix yourself a salad. There’s a variety of things we buy and consume that we can achieve in many, many ways, but the things lawyers and doctors give us have no substitute:
you cannot buy livelihood, you cannot buy life, you cannot buy justice.
But here you are paying a person to do his best to give you one of those.
There’s also one more thing that doctors and lawyers both do, but I bet that lawyers get a lot more training in it: they use inquiry and evidence.
Now, a bad doctor would simply have to spew out whatever textbook procedure he memorized and he probably saves a life. A lawyer isn’t that lucky.
Perhaps this reliance on inquiry is what makes doctors and lawyers be worthy of an honoring prefix: it is probably the most difficult job in the world, to constantly investigate and inquire and solve puzzles. These two both wade through the bogs of conflicting interests, hidden evidence, and most of all, their own limited intelligence.
Sure, there’s a lot of things that require talent and skill and hard work – but these things can be reproduced, especially hard work. Lawyers and doctors have to reinvent the wheel just a bit more every time they go to work. Every “product” they deliver is a complete work of art, a collection of their vast amount of knowledge and their inquisitive quest to get their job done.