§ While it is popular to heap derision upon lawyers as a class they are critical to the defense of freedom. While it is true that the rich get off more often than the poor do this is not a problem with lawyers. This is a problem with the lack of funding for both prosecution and defense.
§ It is so critical to justice that people have access to lawyers that it is enshrined in both the constitutions of the United Kingdom and the United States. If anything is changed about this it should not to eliminate lawyers, but to insure that the poor and stupid are not convicted because of that rather than actual guilt.
§ As to all the guilty people that get off because of lawyers it is a generally accepted principle of law that it is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent person be wrongly punished. I think it vital to consider this when complaining about the injustice of someone like OJ Simpson getting off. The prosecution made critical mistakes, while the defense did a fantastic job. So we got an unusual outcome. Also remember that most industrialized nations have very strong standards for proof of a crime. So it is not true that this could only happen in America.
§ Like with most things impressions can be misleading in talking about laws and lawyers. It is important that statistics be considered rather than deciding the system is broken from a single incident. (Or worse yet, from fiction.)
§ Interesting factoid: The Shakespeare quote about lawyers is out of context.
Henry VI, Part II:
Cade: There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny; the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it a felony to drink small beer. All the realm shall be in common, and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to pass. And when I am king -- as king I will be -- there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.
Dick: The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
§ The intent of the original speaker of this line (to kill all the lawyers as part of a plan to replace the rule of law with the rule of personal whim) is quite dissimilar to the usual modern use of this line (to express frustration with the complexities and perversities of the legal system).
§ The additional complaints about how much people sue in America is not, in my opinion, a result of lawyers. It is because in America it is much easier to get access to the legal system. Would it be truely better if a person could not sue for redress? If people could get away with harming one another without any consequence?