Anyone who ventures into the business of influencing elections will
be stunned by the high percentage of lawyers involved in politics.
Whereas the number of lawyers in the adult population is 1/4 of 1%, the
number of lawyers at a typical political meeting is likely to be 10% or
more. At higher level meetings, like State Party Committee meetings,
25% or more is not uncommon. The US Congress is about 50% lawyers.
The political activist must always remember the close link between
lawyers and elected office holders. All lawyers, even those who are not
seeking elective office, are very interested in politics.
First, lawyers realize early on that the judicial branch of
government has a lot of highly compensated judgeships that only lawyers
can hold. For every thousand lawyers in the US there are about 50
judicial positions paying in excess of $75,000 per year. These jobs at
the state and federal level are mostly appointed, and the person doing
the appointing is either the President of the US or governor of the a
state. So thousands of lawyers swarm around trying to figure out which
candidates to support today in order to improve their chances of being
appointed in four, eight or twelve years.
Second, many lawyers become experts in one or two areas of the
law. These lawyers become very interested in the appointments made to
certain judgeships and regulatory positions, and in the making of laws
and rules that govern their area of interest. To retain their ability
to influence these governmental processes, these lawyers remain very
active in politics.
Finally, legal education necessarily involves a lot of explaining
about how laws and rules are made and how they change over time.
Knowledge about any system, no matter how acquired, will usually lead to
a higher than normal interest in that system. However, because of a
peculiarity of the legal mind, lawyers are unusually attracted to
politics and government. The psychological make up of the typical
lawyer is worth mentioning. Lawyers are brighter than average, more
aggressive than most, slightly more introverted than normal, and, most
important, have a larger than normal need to exercise control others.
Governmental process exert control over others. The combination of
knowledge and psychological proclivity leads to heavy lawyer involvement