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Swindle: Lawyering can be a dangerous line of work

Jason Swindle
Senior Partner Swindle Law Group P.C

Since the day the concept of “lawyer” came into being, many in the public have viewed lawyers in a negative light. Hundreds of thousands of lawyer jokes have been told over the centuries.

While we have earned some of the criticism in the community, the vast majority of lawyers help, not hurt, people and our community.

If we behaved in a manner told in most jokes, disbarments would overwhelm the profession.

Some people have taken their strong feelings toward lawyers to the point where serious crimes have been committed against members of the bar. Over the years, lawyers and judges have been shot, beaten, harassed, and treated in a way that would make the Fuhrer pleased.

Lawyering can be a dangerous line of work; particularly for lawyers focused on family and juvenile law. A recent example in Florida illustrates this danger.

Police recently arrested a divorce litigant for allegedly stabbing a Florida lawyer multiple times during a deposition May 1.

Police charged 58-year-old Gordon James King with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and tampering with a victim, according to the Winter Park Police Department. The Orlando Sentinel reports that King was arrested Thursday at his home in Seminole County with help from the U.S. Marshals Task Force.

When U.S. Marshals are forced to track down a fugitive, it can be a most unpleasant experience.

The stabbing took place at a Winter Park, Florida, law firm. The lawyer was not identified. The lawyer was taken to the Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment of stab wounds. The lawyer had a collapsed left lung, a punctured diaphragm and a cut to his hand, according to Click Orlando. At the hospital, King allegedly said he was going through a “two-year ugly divorce” and he “just lost it again.”

That would qualify as an understatement. Additionally, I suspect that King will have a more positive view of lawyers as he searches for a criminal defense attorney to take his case.

My educated guess as a father is that violence against lawyers and the judiciary occurs most often in family law cases because children are at stake.

While there is never an excuse for this violence, the prospect of someone taking children away from a parent can produce some of the most intense emotions humans can feel.

Mental illness plays a large role as well.

Protecting my employees, clients, and anyone else in the office is the top priority. Since knives are not very effective when being attacked, particularly when a person does not know how to use one, every member of our team has a legal firearm in the office to protect themselves and others from this type of incident or any other violent episode that could happen.

Yes, at times being a lawyer can be a dangerous line of work. Fortunately, in Georgia, we can protect ourselves in the office and outside if we have a Firearms Permit which allows citizens to carry firearms in a concealed manner in places where it is permitted.