Ambulance chasers seem like the most hideous people. They called a friend repeatedly when she'd been involved in a minor auto accident. They talk people into lawsuits that make no sense at all. The final straw for me came when a co-worker lost his infant son to SIDS. Lawyers called every hour offering to sue anybody, most especially the babysitter.

So I asked my stepfather about this, with some digust. He was a very successful attorney. He didn't need to chase ambulances, and never had, starting out with Legal aid then working as a city prosecutor. That way he maintained a steady income as gained experience and built his practice. He dropped to part time as his practice grew, and eventually going into business for himself.

He said, "When I was admitted to the bar in 1968 the population of Ohio was over 9 million, and there were 10,000 lawyers. Today the population of Ohio is 8 million, and there are 30,000 lawyers. Do you really think there is so much more legal work?"

He continued to say "What happens is that most people finish law school with many thousands of student loan debts. The very top people, the Harvard Law School graduates will get snapped up by the big, established law firms, and they'll start out okay. But for everybody else, they're in the hole up to their ass. To make any money at all, they have to open an office, which costs money, hire a secretary, whom they have to pay. They need to generate income right away or go bankrupt. Bankruptcy can get you disbarred. But they have no reputation and no referrals. What would you do in their circumstance?"

He had a point. "So the solution is admit fewer people to the bar."

He laughed. "Not so fast. How would you do that? The bar exam is hard enough. Tightening the exam would be fairer, except to people who aren't good at taking tests. You could close law schools, but then almost everyone who will get into law school will come from a prestige school. They admit kids from other prestige schools. That would assure that almost all lawyers were rich kids. My dad was working class, and I had to put myself through school. Couldn't afford Harvard."

"So there's really no good solution is there," I admitted. "So what should I tell my friends to say when they get called by an ambulance chaser?"

"Tell the jerk to fuck off."