I really dislike the following:
- people using technicalities to avoid or escape or subvert or obscure the intent of the law. This isn't limited to lawyers but it is a significant part of what lawyers do.
- that legal systems in general and our own New Zealand legal system are so often diverted from producing just and positive outcomes. Adversarial systems so often produce win-lose outcomes when more positive outcomes are available such as win-win. I've sat through an entire seven-week fraud trial with four defendants which cost millions to produce an outcome that did not return any of the many millions of stolen money. I'm quite sure that other approaches would have produced the same result without the extensive costs.
- that the outcomes from our legal system are often a lot like a lottery. About the only rule that I am aware of is that those with the biggest pockets win far more than they should. This primarily relates to civil proceedings but it is often true for criminal proceedings as well.
There are a number of "schools of thought" that can be applied to the law. For example, the Black-letter Law, the Natural Law, the Spirit of the Law, etc... Each of these takes into consideration that there is an "ideal" law which should be used as a baseline for establishing "behaviours". In the US, the criminal aspect of this is referred to as the Model Penal Code. It's distributed across the whole of the nation but, it's also subject to interpretation. In the "Black Letter" instance, a woman who steals bread to feed her children is guilty of theft, irrespective of circumstances. Under this assumption, what is written shall be done. In the Spirit of the Law, the theft is viewed under extenuating circumstances and guilt/innocence is weighed accordingly. If a judge cannot skirt a mandatory sentence, he or she can change what a person is being charged with (through processes) or, structure it such that the perpetrator is not over-burden with an excess penalty. Yada yada, etc, etc. The Natural Law goes into a whole other discussion of what "we as humans" assume as the natural law of governance - a tolerable acceptance, etc. etc. For instance, Cannibis is illegal at the Federal level but, legal within certain states. Allowing the states to address the legal issues at that level is "somewhat" of an example of the execution of Natural Law. By all means, any legal beagles feel free to correct me.
In a civil case, fault/no-fault (win/lose) is decided upon at a baseline of 51% vote upon a preponderance of the evidence. In a criminal case, it requires a unanimous decision. The measure in civil litigation is much lower than what is required for criminal so... if you take a case like O.J. Simpson and throw $10mn at it, you will eventually create enough muddy water such that the measure to satisfy a criminal conviction is highly unlikely. However, when the same case is tried in civil court, you will see people like him get completed roasted over an open fire. Biggest pockets.. absolutely... In a law suit, you name as many people as you can and let each of those prove they are not at fault until someone cannot. The last man standing owns the fault.
The law is not perfect and there are a number of people who will abuse the crap out of it. I agree with what you are saying in your "dislikes" but, it is what it is. Supposing you were in N. Korea, Russia, China, or any Muslim country where the laws are either ambiguous or determined by an "anointed" soul... where would you rather be tried or have your case heard?