Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Underpaid Lawyers?

Today's poll question; do you think lawyers are underpaid? On my list of news stories that I never thought I'd see, underpaid lawyers striking for more money. It certainly seems like an oxymoron, but prosecutors in Quebec have taken to the streets demanding better pay and working conditions. I suppose this makes sense, given that the world already has way too many lawyers; supply and demand dictates that if you have too much supply, market values decline. You could go out into the streets and ask people if the world has too many lawyers, and you would very likely get an overwhelming yes.

My position on these striking lawyers is the same as my opinion on all civil service employees. Pay them the wage that is prevailing in the free market for the service they provide. If private sector gets paid more, then these lawyers are free to take new jobs in the private sector, forcing the government to increase the wage to the market rate. If the market wage is declining because of over-supply, then fire all these lawyers and hire new ones at a cheaper price.

I do support paying Crown prosecutors more than garbage collectors, and that we would want to pay a small premium to attract quality lawyers. We don't want all of the best and brightest to be defending criminals and suing people. We should pay for more than the "average lawyer", but less than the ambulance chasers.


  1. These Lawyers are just giving Quebec a taste of what Quebec gives the rest of the Country. They see Quebec with it's hand out all the time so they are just following their employer's lead.

  2. They were happy to accept the free tuition in a place with unique laws and language. Now they find their expertise is not sought after by the rest of the world. Their kids are in $7 day care no doubt. Not long term thinkers, these folks. On second thought, they are holding out hope for the special Quebec brown paper bag income supplement (wink wink).


  3. If they all quit, where can they go, not too many openings for french speaking lawyers etc in the rest of Canada.

  4. Actually, the reason lawyers can charge so much is the same one that all other "skilled" professionals can. There are not enough of them, creating an artificial demand where people fight for the best ones. Think about mechanics, dentist, doctors, skilled trades. What do they have in common? Lots of lousy to average people and a few good ones.

    I don't know about you, but I want the best people when I need something done.

    The real question is why do the various professional organizations such as law societies, etc... get to control the number of individuals who may call themselves dentists, lawyers, teachers...

    That is the question.

  5. There's a shortage of lawyers? Who knew?