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Where have all the lawyers gone? | Marcel Strigberger

Friday, January 28, 2022 @ 2:37 PM | By Marcel Strigberger

Marcel Strigberger %>
Marcel Strigberger
Are the supply chain issues affecting lawyers? More specifically has the pandemic created a shortage of the available supply of lawyers. I think it has, and soon it will be getting as hard to find a lawyer as it is a cheap car rental. 

Actually even before COVID-19 hit we did not have enough lawyers. The process of attrition may have begun back in Elizabethan I days after Shakespeare said, “First let’s kill all the lawyers.” Action on this advice would certainly have affected the supply chain. There definitely would have been a notable drop in candidates writing the LSATS.

Hopefully, the bard’s advice was not heeded too much. But where are we headed now?

Just open your television news channel. We used to see frequent ads from personal injury law firms touting their superior services and clamouring assurances of “no win, no fee.” Now we have to wait at least three minutes before another lawyer commercial pops up. I know, this is unacceptable. But the writing is on the wall. The compromised supply chain is obvious.

I am afraid that if things don’t improve, the availability of lawyers will be as scarce as a white peacock.  

I believe the lawyer supply chain will only deteriorate. We shall hear news stories of attempts to import more lawyers but there will be hitches and glitches. I readily see a report of a shipload of eager lawyers arriving in Halifax. Unfortunately, however, given a shortage of longshoremen, dozens of lawyers will remain stuck on the docks just sitting on crates. And they won’t like it. They will soon organize a committee to study the problem. Then they will submit a report. 

We may be nearing the days when the courts run dry of lawyers. And you thought we had problems with the initial dearth of toilet paper? The judge enters the courtroom, the court registrar bellows, “Oyez oyez, oyez,” everybody looks around but there are no lawyers to be seen. The judge is frustrated and out of habit, says, “I want to see counsel in my chambers.”

For that matter, supply chain issues could also affect the bench. We could see a similar scarcity in judges. Rumour has it that China has stopped delivery of a chip necessary for the manufacturing of those judges’ robes. That will do it.

We can also expect a severe disruption of jury trials. There will likely be more rules on vaccine mandates for all people entering our courthouses. This will antagonize thousands of citizens who just live for the day then can be dragged to court and sit around for days for no compensation. These potential jury panellists will be egged on by civil liberty groups decrying an assault of their freedom, and they will conduct a cross-Canada protest convoy. And back. I have no doubt we’ll soon arrive at our courtrooms only to find empty jury chairs. At least the silver lining is it will eliminate the need for those silly time-consuming voir dires.

And as with other commodities, the mega retailers will likely be less affected by supply chain issues. Amazon will have no problems, announcing that it should be able to deliver a lawyer to you the next day. And ordering a lawyer will probably include a 30-day free subscription to Amazon Kindle.

As well Costco should be able to meet the demand for lawyers. The only problem I foresee with Costco is lawyer orders will be available only in bundles of a minimum of two. The client therefore will have to purchase a spare. The good news is the usual Costco super unbeatable return policy will apply. If you’re not satisfied, just bring them back for a full refund.

And speaking of toilet paper, my biggest concern is that if matters worsen, many people will start hoarding lawyers. Panic buying. 

It all gets worse. I just read a news item noting rising costs and transportation issues affecting the supply chain of sugar and cocoa and this will result in a scarcity of Easter bunnies. Shortage of Easter bunnies, car rentals, lawyers? Bummer!

What can we do about this supply chain crisis? I don’t know. Let’s keep watching those news channels and if and when we see another lawyer commercial less than two minutes apart from the previous one, we’ll know we have turned the corner.

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His just launched book Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging is now available in paper and e-book versions where books are sold. Visit Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

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