The Multiple Meanings of Shakespeare’s “The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All The Lawyers”

By: Brian Mangan

It is no secret that lawyers are generally viewed unfavorably by the population at large. A recent Gallup poll showed that only 19% of people rated lawyers “high” or “very high” in terms of “honesty and ethical standards,” compared to 85% of nurses, 58% of police officers, 28% of  bankers, 24% of journalists, and 21% of business executives (while car salesmen, at 8%, and members of congress, at 10%, were two of the few professions to lag behind)

The generally low opinion of lawyers, combined with the general prominence of lawyers and lawmakers in general society, have lead to most of us hearing more than our share of lawyer jokes.  Lawyers like myself, who have a pretty decent sense of humor, usually laugh along with them (Q: What do you call three lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A: A good start).

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First Kill All the Doctors

First Kill All the Doctors
© Katie Law Goodwin, January, 2015 from
When I wrote First Kill All the Lawyers: In Pro Per (Balboa Press, March 2014), I figured most people would understand the reference to the famous quote from Shakespeare from Henry VI, Part II.
But I have loved using a mash-up from that quote for my second book: First Kill All the Doctors.
Contempt prior to investigation is a very alienating stance. How is it, then, that some people choose not to even examine my book due to its title, which often alienates them from the possibility of even finding out that the book is not about hating lawyers? And little do they know – or seem to want to know – that Shakespeare did not hate lawyers or even condemn them, much less literally kill the?
Rather than provide a defense for something which needs no defense, I decided to begin my second book and use the premise of the first: let people rush to judge and then find out for themselves what is true, or not true.
So, the second book takes as a premise that one can combine one’s inner healer alongside a physician in the case of a difficult or unremitting disease; that it is possible and surely necessary to activate one’s inner wisdom and natural healing capacity if and when one becomes ill – to couple this with the wisdom, technology and healing potentials of Western medicine in order to create the best shot possible going forward.
And I choose not to spend much time in the dismal reporting of statistics: Up to 75% of all American deaths are iatrogenic. Is that really possible? The third largest killer of us all – at least in hospitals and during medical “care” is physician induced? Let’s go for what works, not for what doesn’t work!
So, in First Kill All the Lawyers, I advocate strongly for going one’s own way in civil court during a divorce process. I respect the law and used that respect for my own good during my nearly two years in civil court, representing myself.
And in First Kill All the Doctors I advocate listening to one’s own wisdom then proceeding with gentle inner strength to a healing path only an individual can possibly decide for themselves. And, like my first book, this book is irreverent, funny, and (mostly) true. And my own journey with diseases is really something!
Just like one needs a good lawyer for a criminal case, one needs a good physician for a difficult disease.
But ultimately we are left to rely on our own wisdom, something many of us forgot we had due to the intense marketing of fear.
Check back for chapters in the weeks to come….!


Katie Law Goodwin

Katie Law Goodwin


Birthin’ This Here Baby

Birthin’ This Here Baby
Katie Law Goodwin ©February, 2014

I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to give birth. I wasn’t afraid of labor or pain or gunk or ick or blood or sticky icky gooey discharges. I wasn’t afraid of any of that. But I didn’t want to let go of the most precious relationship I had ever had. I had never known closeness and intimacy like that, and I had no reference point for anything resembling this from a human outside my body…so I did not want to birth my baby girl. I wanted her to stay in my tummy forever.
I am having the same experience with this book. Each time we get closer and closer to the last edit…the last proof…I okay the last galley change…I get the same panicky feeling in my throat. What will change? Will it be the same? Who will look at me? They will look at the baby now, not at me…Will I ever have this sense of control and awe and love and expectation again? What will happen with the first bad review? What will happen if the baby is deformed? What will happen if she is born dead?
It is an insane awareness, always operating underneath the surface of awareness, always tickling the back of the egoic throat – this need to know, to be in control, to want to change the obvious end of things. To work so hard for a goal, and then want to – as we so grotesquely say – toss the baby out with the bathwater…well, I am well aware of the many psychological implications of this not wanting to let go.
I may not have been so forthcoming about my tendency if I had not heard the President and CEO of my publishing company give a talk about first- time author’s and this need to hold on – this inability to let go and publish their first project.
This baby has been in my tummy for 8 years. Eight years. She went stagnant for three years and then resurfaced two years ago when I disciplined myself to awaken every morning at 5:00 a.m. and write until 8:00 a.m. Then she was finished. This last year has been about polishing, editing, changing, scrubbing – even heartbreak as a previously contracted and accepted manuscript was then rejected by the publisher, then revised, resubmitted, and reaccepted. Much drama and intensity with this pregnancy, like the others.
And now it is time to let go. To let the baby be born. Let the powers-that-be clean her, give her an Apgar score, clear her breathing passageways, and let her Mama take a much needed break before the whirlwind of publicity begins.
Today I let go. I signed off on 320 Galley pages of proofs. I signed off on a beautiful cover proof. The baby is in the canal, ready to crown.