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How much of a risk is there that in-house lawyers intimidate the non-lawyers they counsel?

An odd, troubling point surfaces from a survey done in 2004 and the six-page report of its results about the internal legal functions of two-year US colleges. Although clumsily phrased in the quote that follows, here’s its point: lawyers in-house might run over their clients or make everything too much of a legal issue.

“The in-house two-year college attorney recognizes the risk of involvement leading to domination of the process by counsel.” The survey asked about domination because a prior survey found that 28 percent of college administrators felt it likely that the lawyer would dominate.

In the 2004 study, nearly half of the lawyers were “neutral” on whether there was attorney domination. That metric makes me furrow my brow why more did not deny it. I guess the concern is that a lawyer, vested with mystical abilities, impenetrable knowledge, and the grandeur of the law will over-power mere mortals and cow them intellectually. As a lawyer, I will put it simply and gently for any non-lawyer readers: no way.

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