Do we need more lawyers to help us navigate through the legal system? Do we need to educate and inform the population better so that people can better represent themselves when they need to? Or do we need a legal system in which you don’t need a lawyer–a "lawyerless society"?
Our first option is to create more lawyers and keep our complex legal system as it is. Not a bad choice if you want nothing to change. Our second option is to make everyone a lawyer. Not a bad choice either–it would certainly minimize the elitist divide that exists now. But how would police forces cope with an informed public? How would municipalities, provincial and federal governments act if people had enough knowledge of the law to negotiate their way through the regulatory and tax systems – like lawyers? Now there’s a scary thought – informed citizens acting like lawyers, refusing to get pushed around, asking questions, making informed decisions. The ‘real’ lawyers, especially those in charge, would have to create a system that was even more incomprehensible than it is now, creating the need for ‘superlawyers’ with an elite education. Our third option is to change the system so that you don’t have to be a lawyer to understand the law. Now there’s a radical thought for you! Imagine that, a legal system that took care of you so that you didn’t need to hire an expert to protect you. Perhaps we do need more lawyers. They could help educate the public so that people could represent themselves successfully. And they could also help transform our complex legal system into one that people could understand.
Nancy Kinney B.A., LL.B
Founder of AdviceScene.com
Democratizing the Law One Question at a Time