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37% of people say lawyers have “very low” ethical standards

Recent Gallup poll finds lawyers are perceived as only slightly more honest and ethical than car salesmen, stockbrokers and telemarketers

With the Congressional approval rating hovering at an all-time low these days (Americans are even supporting pornography and polygamy before their elected representatives), it may not come as a surprise that people are also somewhat jaded about the honesty of their attorneys.

A Gallup poll conducted from Nov.  28 to Dec. 1 found that lawyers are in the bottom half of professions about whose ethical standards and honesty the respondents were least confident.

When asked to rank 21 professions, ranging from medical professionals to clergy to journalists to salespeople of all kinds, respondents viewed attorneys as about “average” (43 percent) when it came to ethical standards. While that may not seem so bad, just 19 percent said they had “very high/high” confidence in lawyers’ honesty, and 37 percent rated them as “very low/low.”

By comparison, the much-maligned members of Congress were viewed as least ethical, with just 7 percent of people giving them a “very high/high” ranking, and 64 percent a “very low/low” rating. On the opposite end of the spectrum, nurses were seen as most ethical (84 percent “very high/high” and 1 percent “very low/low”).

Aside from Congress, respondents only had less confidence in five other professions than lawyers: stockbrokers, labor union leaders, car salesmen, telemarketers and lobbyists.


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