Often, before legislation is enacted, legislators ask, “Where does the bar association stand on this?” It may be of interest to look at things from the bar association perspective. Here is their perspective – non-lawyers are not competent to be legislators. Here is a quote from an attached ISBA document, “… the number of lawyers serving the legislature has declined. In 1971 nearly 35 percent of the state legislators were lawyers. In 2011, not even 20 percent were lawyers. Can this trend be good? I would submit that the answer is no. It is like saying that 20 percent of the mechanics at the local car dealership are certified mechanics. The rest are insurance salesman, businesspeople, schoolteachers and retirees. They maybe know how to fix your Ford, but I would rather bet on the mechanic.” That is a rather pompous attitude, particularly since, as President Lincoln so succinctly stated in his Gettysburg Address, “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. I believe that when Lincoln stated “people” he was referring to all citizens, not just lawyers.
Just as the Bar Association denigrates non-lawyer legislators, they also denigrate citizens who participate in grassroots advocacy, “frequently constituent driven, are of questionable constitutionality and, in addition, are likely not going to be effective.” Notice that when the Bar Associations do not like something, they play the fear card. They scream “unconstitutional” hoping that legislators will not ask “how is it unconstitutional” and just kill the proposed legislation. I can assure you that these grassroots advocacy groups know the issues better than the attorneys, and they are advocating for change because change is needed and any proposed change is being made because it would be effective.
Remember, the Bar Associations are a trade organizations that exists to represent the best interest of their members. Their best interest is often in conflict with the best interest of the citizens who have elected you. Note that the attached document is from the Family Law Section Chair. In family law, the words “best interest” of the children is the standard. Do not confuse best interest of the Bar Association (keeping and creating animosity going to maximize attorney revenues) with best interest of the children (to have a loving relationship with both parents.) Please remember this when considering family law legislation.