3 Ways Lawyers and Law Students Can Be Less Cynical

By George Khoury, Esq. on March 14, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, while addressing a group of law students at the 2018 Federalist Society's National Student Symposium, recently explained his belief that we all need to be less cynical and negative about our country. The statement should be taken with every grain from an entire salt mine as the Justice sits in the highest of ivory towers.

However, there is a fine line between being critical and being cynical. Unfortunately for law students and lawyers, it's pretty simple to cross that line, and not just when studying/practicing, but also in daily life. After all, law school pretty much teaches lawyers how to be cynical and has helped to destroy many relationships. However, there's still hope for (some) students and lawyers, and even (some of) the most staunch cynics. Below you can find three tips on how to be a little less cynical.

1. Ignore Evidence

As lawyers and law students, cynicism tends to develop as we read more and more cases. The more one studies or practices law, the more one sees that everyone in this world is motivated by self-interest (or at least the people who file/defend lawsuits). One way to be less cynical is to just ignore all the obvious evidence that supports your cynical conclusions. Your friends and family will like you a whole lot more if you just learn to let things go and become more agreeable.

2. Leave the Profession

Face it, as a lawyer, you're paid to be cynical, unless you go to trial, then you're being paid to be cynical and personable (if there's a jury, that is). It's why you charge such a high hourly rate. If you're not a cynic, your client can suffer.

Professional athletes have to face the risk of physical injury, lawyers have to be bad guys that aren't afraid to look a victim straight in the face and then ask a string of question to make the victim look like a liar, or at least partly, if not fully, to blame for their own damages. For lawyers that still have a soul, working on either side of the table can crush it.

3. Go Full On Skeptic

While being a cynical lawyer is good for your clients, going full on skeptic is really the best way to avoid being a cynic. After all, there's no reason to believe anything without strong evidence. The drawback here is that skeptics tend to be less liked than cynics, as cynics just deny and recoil while skeptics demand evidence. While going that route won't win you any popularity contests, at least you'll be making Justice Thomas happy by being less cynical.

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