Every profession has craftsmen that constantly refine their skills and performance quality. As technology and society evolve, craftsmen respond to ever-changing societal needs by developing and harnessing new technology to create more effective and useful tools and products. As society faces overwhelming technological advances and accelerating globalization, people will become increasingly dependent on craftsmen lawyers to help them adapt to change.
Craftsmen lawyers draw on intense legal training as adaptable creators. Lawyers today receive much of same kind of training that equipped people like John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson to create an entirely new and enduring nation. Where an untrained person may see only gloom and chaos, craftsmen lawyers see patterns and building blocks with which they can define and shape how society and its citizens may survive and thrive in our rapidly evolving global community. Lawyers’ constructive creativity will become an increasingly vital social and political resource as technological evolution and globalization accelerate.
Technology often improves the quality, quantity, and availability of goods and services, but it also displaces workers. Automation minimizes the necessity of direct human participation and often produces more uniformly high quality products less expensively than ever. Such technological advances empower consumers to bypass workers that make their living in the creation and delivery of products and services. Paradoxically, permanent technological displacement of workers economically disables displaced workers from supporting the economy as consumers.
Globalization connects previously disconnected workers and consumers into the world economy. The phenomenon simultaneously expands demand for goods and services among newly engaged consumers, while flooding the labor force with impoverished workers that will accept far less compensation than the more demanding workers that they are displacing from more prosperous nations.
Technology and globalization create problems and opportunities that were unimaginable in our previously unconnected world. Some people that lived under the repressive “Iron Curtain” of communism have learned to use digital technology for piracy and extortion, a problem that has spawned massive employment growth in the cybersecurity industry. Social media has enabled ordinary people to help overthrow repressive political regimes, but terrorists have also used it to attract new recruits. Global terrorism is increasing society’s need to employ public and private security personnel.
Some people romanticize a fictional “simpler time” in American history, in which everyone supposedly conducted business on handshakes without lawyers. The truth is that law students study court rulings from ancient lawsuits and criminal prosecutions in their intensive training to become creative and adaptive lawyers. If that simpler time actually existed, law students would have nothing to study.
Other people ignorantly blame lawyers for societal problems, such as in the popular 1994 Eagles song, Get Over It, which expressed a gross Shakespearean misunderstanding in the line, “The more I think about it, Old Billy was right. Let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight.” The Eagles misunderstood Dick the Butcher’s treasonous statement of how to destabilize and overthrow the government in William Shakespeare’s King Henry the Sixth (Part 2, Act 4, Scene 2), in which Dick said, “The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.” However, the Eagles were fortunate that lawyers developed and refined the rule of law that enabled the Eagles to compose, perform, and grow wealthy from their music through recording and distribution contracts and the protections of American and international copyright and trademark laws.
Society needs craftsmen lawyers to help cultivate and protect the beneficial products of technology and globalization, and counteract the darker byproducts of change. Free markets and open exchanges of ideas promote creativity and productivity among peaceful and violent cultures alike. Conversely, increased government surveillance and transportation restrictions erode civil liberty and justice while enhancing safety and security. Fortunately, craftsmen lawyers will continue helping society redefine and rebalance the rapidly evolving and frequently competing notions of civil liberty, justice, and prosperity, versus public health, safety, and security throughout the foreseeable future.
Jeff R. Hawkins and Jennifer J. Hawkins are Trust & Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust & Estate Lawyers and active members of the Indiana State Bar Association and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Both lawyers are admitted to practice law in Indiana, and Jeff Hawkins is admitted to practice law in Illinois. Jeff is also a registered civil mediator, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the American Bar Foundation, and the Indiana Bar Foundation; and he was the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association.
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