Top 7 Things Turkeys and Attorneys Have in Common

#7. They are both odd birds.

Turkeys have some strange body parts: snoods, spurs, caruncles, gizzards, beards,  and wattles; not your average tweetie bird.  Attorneys tend to use strange language, words normal people never use such as: aforementioned, hereinafter, pursuant to,  estoppel, laches, voir dire  certiorari, habeas corpus, prima facie, inter alia, and  mens rea.

#6. They both need to cook a long time to be really good.

Just as the best, most tender turkeys take a very long time to cook, the best attorneys out there have been cooking for a while.  Law school does not prepare graduates for the everyday practice of law.  No matter how well you did in law school, it takes time in the practice of law to be a good attorney.

#5. They are both misunderstood and stereotyped.

Being called a turkey is no compliment.  It is a slang saying for being stupid or incompetent.  This was not always the case for the turkey. Wild turkeys were respected birds before being domesticated and bred into a condition of stupidity.  Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey, not the bald eagle, to be our national bird.  Attorneys have been the brunt of more jokes than probably any other profession, based mainly on a stereotype that is inaccurate for the vast majority. Where is the respect?

#4. They are both staples of tradition in our society.

What is more Norman Rockwell than turkey at Thanksgiving? The turkey is the very symbol of tradition for most holiday meals.  A civilized society has law and justice at its core.  Attorneys are the back bone of the adversarial system that keeps society balanced and fair.

#3. They both stick their necks out.

Turkeys are known for their wattles that hang down, sometimes to the ground.  “Turkey neck” is the popular term for a sign of aging that keeps cosmetic plastic surgeons quite happy.  Each time an attorney takes a case on contingency, she is sticking her neck out for the client.  Pro Bono work is another example of attorneys taking on a risk for the benefit of another.

#2. They both like to strut.

Male turkeys strut with their tail feathers fanned out on display to show dominance.  In the legal world it is called posturing.  It is part of the job in many practice areas.  Posturing takes place in other professions too, but attorneys are especially good at it.

#1. People want to shoot both of them.

Yes, people want to shoot turkeys and attorneys, but for different reasons. While they shoot turkeys for sport, people want to shoot attorneys for revenge.  The guilty criminal defendant who thinks his attorney should have gotten him off scott free; he wants revenge.  What about the successful civil plaintiff that thinks her attorney took too much of the settlement?  One person thinks he pays too much alimony, thanks to his attorney.  Another thinks she does not get enough alimony, thanks to her attorney. You get the idea – people want to shoot attorneys.

Photo by Just chaos

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About
Misty L. Sheffield is a freelance paralegal helping solos and small law firms in civil litigation. She has been assisting attorneys for over 12 years. Read More »