The Great Recession intensified large law firms’ emphasis on financial performance, leading to claims that lawyers in these firms were now guided by business rather than professional values. Based on interviews with more than 250 partners in large firms, Mitt Regan and Lisa H. Rohrer suggest that the reality is much more complex. It is true that large firm hiring, promotion, compensation, and termination policies are more influenced by business considerations than ever before and that firms actively recruit profitable partners from other firms to replace those they regard as unproductive. At the same time, law firm partners continue to seek the non-financial rewards of being members of a distinct profession and are sensitive to whether their firms are committed to providing them. Regan and Rohrer argue that modern firms responding effectively to business demands while credibly affirming the importance of non-financial professional values can create strong cultures that enhance their ability to weather the storms of the modern legal market.
Distinguished legal scholar and Presbyterian minister Milner S. Ball examines great sagas and tales from the Bible for the light they shed on the practice of law and on the meaning of a life lived in the legal profession. Scholars and laypersons alike typically think of the law as a discipline dominated by reason and empirical methods. Ball shows that many of the dilemmas and decisions that legal professionals confront are more usefully approached through an experience of narrative in which we come to know ourselves and our actions through stories. He begins with the story of Moses, who is obliged both to speak for God to the Hebrews and to advocate for the Hebrews before God. What, asks Ball, does Moses’s predicament say to lawyers professionally bound to zealous representation of only one client? In the story of Rachel, Ball finds insights that comprehend the role of tears and emotion in the judicial process. He relates these insights to specific contemporary situations, such as a plant closing and the subsequent movement of jobs to Mexico and legal disputes over the sovereignty of native Hawaiians. In a discussion of “The Gospel According to John,” Ball points out that the writer of this gospel is free simultaneously to be critical of law and to rely extensively on it. Ball uses this narrative to explore the boundaries of free will and independence in lawyering. By venturing into the world of powerful events and biblical characters, Ball enables readers to contest their own expectations and fundamental assumptions. Employing legal theory, theology, and literary criticism, Called by Stories distills a wisdom in biblical texts that speaks specifically to the working life of legal professionals. As such, it will enrich lovers of narrative and poetry, ethicists, literary and biblical scholars, theologians, lawyers, law students, judges, and others who seek to discern deeper meanings in the texts that have shaped their lives.
Cognitive science is transforming our understanding of the mind. New discoveries are changing how we comprehend not just language, but thought itself. Yet, surprisingly little of the new learning has penetrated discussions and analysis of the most important social institution affecting our lives-the law.
Drawing on work in philosophy, psychology, anthropology, linguistics, and literary theory, Steven L. Winter has created nothing less than a tour de force of interdisciplinary analysis. A Clearing in the Forest rests on the simple notion that the better we understand the workings of the mind, the better we will understand all its products-especially law. Legal studies today focus on analytic skills and grand normative theories. But, to understand how real-world, legal actors reason and decide, we need a different set of tools. Cognitive science provides those tools, opening a window on the imaginative, yet orderly mental processes that animate thinking and decisionmaking among lawyers, judges, and lay persons alike. Recent findings about how humans actually categorize and reason make it possible to explain legal reasoning in new, more cogent, more productive ways.
A Clearing in the Forest is a compelling meditation on both how the law works and what it all means. In uncovering the irrepressibly imaginative, creative quality of human reason, Winter shows how what we are learning about the mind changes not only our understanding of law, but ultimately of ourselves. He charts a unique course to understanding the world we inhabit, showing us the way to the clearing in the forest.
Sometimes the outcome of a lawsuit depends upon sensations known only to the person who experiences them, such as the buzzing sound heard by a plaintiff who suffers from tinnitus after an accident. Lawyers, litigants, and expert witnesses are now seeking to re-create these sensations in the courtroom, using digital technologies to simulate litigants’ subjective experiences and thus to help jurors know—not merely know about—what it is like to be inside a litigant’s mind. But with this novel type of evidence comes a host of questions: Can anyone really know what it is like to have another person’s sensory experiences? Why should courts allow jurors to see or hear these simulations? And how might this evidence alter the ways in which judges and jurors do justice?
In Experiencing Other Minds in the Courtroom, Neal Feigenson turns the courtroom into a forum for exploring the profound philosophical, psychological, and legal ramifications of our efforts to know what other people’s conscious experiences are truly like. Drawing on disciplines ranging from cognitive psychology to psychophysics to media studies, Feigenson harnesses real examples of digitally simulated subjective perceptions to explain how the epistemological value of this evidence is affected by who creates it, how it is made, and how it is presented. Through his close scrutiny of the different kinds of simulations and the different knowledge claims they make, Feigenson is able to suggest best practices for how we might responsibly incorporate such evidence into the courtroom.
For two centuries, federal judges exercised wide discretion in criminal sentencing. This changed in 1987, when a hopelessly complex bureaucratic apparatus was imposed on the federal courts. Though termed Sentencing "Guidelines," the new sentencing rules are mandatory. Reformers hoped that the Sentencing Guidelines would address inequities in sentencing. The Guidelines have failed to achieve this goal, according to Kate Stith and José Cabranes, and they have sacrificed comprehensibility and common sense.
Fear of Judging is the first full-scale history, analysis, and critique of the new sentencing regime. The authors show that the present system has burdened the courts, dehumanized the sentencing process, and, by repressing judicial discretion, eroded the constitutional balance of powers. Eschewing ideological or politically oriented critiques of the Guidelines and offering alternatives to the current system, Stith and Cabranes defend a vision of justice that requires judges to perform what has traditionally been considered their central task—exercising judgment.
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY) is no ordinary professional organization. Formed in 1870 and housed in an imposing mid-town edifice, it was the first modern bar association, nationally known for its eminent membership, its reformist stance—and its intimidating selectivity. During much of its history, the ABCNY appeared to be more an upper-class, WASP legal club than an open, collegial association. How did such an organization fare in the face of post-war pressures for inclusiveness? From Patrician to Professional Elite offers a rare view of the internal dynamics of an institution adapting to a changed environment. The ABCNY maintained its elite identity by adopting a meritocratic organizational model in place of a class-based model. By shedding its overt exclusivity, the ABCNY asserted its legitimacy; by embracing an "open elite" or meritocratic model, the associate retained its high standing and relative homogeneity. In fact, the ABCNY today is dominated by the same functional group of lawyers as before, the corporate legal elite. This fascinating study of organizational change prompts a re-examination of fundamental questions about the class basis of modern professionalism and the dominance of elites within professions, in addition to illuminating the larger question of the role of elite institutions in democratic societies.
In this penetrating book, Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado use historical investigation and critical analysis to diagnose the cause of the pervasive unhappiness among practicing lawyers. Most previous writers have blamed the high rate of burnout, depression, divorce, and drug and alcohol dependency among these highly paid professionals on the narrow specialization, long hours, and intense pressures of modern legal practice. Stefancic and Delgado argue that these professional demands are only symptoms of a deeper problem: the way lawyers are taught to think and reason. They show how legal education and practice have been rendered arid and dull by formalism, a way of thinking that values precedent and doctrine above all, exalting consistency over ambiguity, rationality over emotion, and rules over social context and narrative.
Stefancic and Delgado dramatize the plight of modern lawyers by exploring the unlikely friendship between Archibald MacLeish, who gave up a successful but unsatisfying law career to pursue his literary yearnings, and Ezra Pound. Reading the forty-year correspondence between MacLeish and Pound, Stefancic and Delgado draw lessons about the difficulties of attorneys trapped in worlds that give them power, prestige, and affluence but not personal satisfaction, much less creative fulfillment. Long after Pound had embraced fascism, descended into lunacy, and been institutionalized, MacLeish took up his old mentor’s cause, turning his own lack of fulfillment with the law into a meaningful crusade and ultimately securing Pound’s release from St. Elizabeths Hospital. Drawing on MacLeish’s story, Stefancic and Delgado contend that literature, public interest work, and critical legal theory offer tools to contemporary attorneys for finding meaning and overcoming professional dissatisfaction.
To what extent can and should people participate in dealing with the personal problems they bring to consulting professionals? This book presents two alternative models for the conduct of such professional-client relationships as those between lawyers and clients and doctors and patients. One model, called the traditional, prescribes a role of minimal participation for the client. The other, called the participatory, prescribes a role of decision-making shared by the client and the professional. After presenting the two models and their implications, the book systematically tests their validity in a case study of the lawyer-client relationship in the making of personal injury claims. The distinctive feature of this work is a sophisticated and objective test of the traditional proposition that passive clients get better results than active clients. Evidence drawn from a sample of actual cases of personal injury claimants reveals that active clients in fact fare significantly better than passive clients. The book is important and novel in four respects: it offers the first clear and realistic proposal for increasing the control people can have over the complex problems they bring to professionals; it presents concrete evidence that lay participation in complex decision making need not be inefficient; it gives practical advice to clients and to lawyers for dealing with each other more effectively and it presents a comprehensive picture of the actual and often dramatic experiences of accident victims, and what it is like to make a personal injury claim.
Lawyers today are in a moral crisis. The popular perception of the lawyer, both within the legal community and beyond, is no longer the Abe Lincoln of American mythology, but is often a greedy, cynical manipulator of access and power. In The Lawyer's Myth, Walter Bennett goes beyond the caricatures to explore the deeper causes of why lawyers are losing their profession and what it will take to bring it back.
Bennett draws on his experience as a lawyer, judge, and law teacher, as well as upon oral histories of lawyers and judges, in his exploration of how and why the legal profession has lost its ennobling mythology. Effectively using examples from history, philosophy, psychology, mythology, and literature, Bennett shows that the loss of professionalism is more than merely the emergence of win-at-all-cost strategies and a scramble for personal wealth. It is something more profound—a loss of professional community and soul. Bennett identifies the old heroic myths of American lawyers and shows how they informed the values of professionalism through the middle of the last century. He shows why, in our more diverse society, those myths are inadequate guides for today's lawyers. And he also discusses the profession's agony over its trickster image and demonstrates how that archetype is not only a psychological reality, but a necessary component of a vibrant professional mythology for lawyers.
At the heart of Bennett's eloquently written book is a call to reinvigorate the legal professional community. To do this, lawyers must revive their creative capacities and develop a meaningful, professional mythology—one based on a deeper understanding of professionalism and a broader, more compassionate ideal of justice.
Examines the impact of social forces on the legal system and how the rules and orders promulgated by that legal system affect social behavior. Dr. Friedman explores the relationship between class structure and the work of legal systems in the light of the existing literature and analyzes the influence of the cultural elements contained in a legal system. In a comprehensive analysis of the concept of legal culture, the author sheds new light on the development of our legal norms and the types of legal systems which prevail in a democracy.
The past two decades have seen profound changes in the legal profession. Lives of Lawyers Revisited extends Michael Kelly’s work in the original Lives of Lawyers, offering unique insights into the nature of these changes, examined through stories of five extraordinarily varied law practices. By placing the spotlight on organizations as phenomena that generate their own logic and tensions, Lives of Lawyers Revisited speaks to the experience of many lawyers and anticipates important issues on the professional horizon.
"Michael Kelly has done it again! His Lives of Lawyers Revisited is a very easy read about some very difficult notions like 'litigation blindness' and law as a business. It presents some fascinating perspectives on our profession."
—J. Michael McWilliams, Past President, American Bar Association
"The best single book about the American realities and possibilities of the American legal profession, combining an empathic and insightful account of law practice with a penetrating analysis of the wider context of professional work."
—Marc Galanter, University of Wisconsin
"Michael Kelly believes that professional values and conduct are not realized in codes, but in the experiences of practice, and that practice draws its routines and ideals from organizations. Through his studies of lawyers in various firms, closely observed and sympathetically described, Kelly reveals how differently organizations adapt to the intense pressures of today's practice environment. His method of linking individual life-experiences to organizational strategies and the external constraints of competition and client demands infuses realism and richness into the concept of professionalism and makes this one of the most interesting and original books on professions and professionalism to appear in years."
—Robert W. Gordon, Yale Law School
"In his two volumes of Lives of Lawyers, Michael Kelly explores legal ethics in an unusual, and unusually rewarding, way. Rather than focusing on rules or arguments, Kelly looks at the kind of lives lawyers lead. Ethics, Socrates thought, is about how to live one's life, and Kelly takes the Socratic question to heart. He explores the institutions lawyers work in and the choices they make. He writes with intelligence, great insight, and above all with heart. This is a superb book."
—David Luban, Georgetown University
Michael J. Kelly is President and Chairman of the Board of the National Senior Citizens Law Center, an advocacy group for older Americans of limited means.
With the New Deal came a dramatic expansion of the American regulatory state. Threatening to undermine many of the traditional roles of the legal system and its actors by establishing a system of administrative law, the new emphasis on federal legislation as a form of social and economic planning ushered in an era of "legal uncertainty." In this study Ronen Shamir explores how elite corporate lawyers and the American Bar Association clashed with academic legal realists over the constitutionality of the New Deal’s legislative program. Applying the insights of Weber and Bourdieu to the sociology of the legal profession, Shamir shows that elite members of the bar had a keen self-interest in blocking the expansion of administrative law. He dismisses as oversimplified the view that elite lawyers were "hired guns" who argued that New Deal legislation was unconstitutional solely because of their duty to represent their capitalist clients. Instead, Shamir suggests, their alignment with the capitalist class was an incidental result of their attempt to articulate their vision of the law as scientific, apolitical, and judicially oriented—and thereby to defend their own position within the law profession. The academic legal realists on the other side of the constitutional debates criticized the rigidity of the traditional judicial process and insisted that flexibility of interpretation and the uncertainty of legal outcomes was at the heart of the legal system. The author argues that many legal realists, encouraged by the experimental nature of the New Deal, seized an opportunity to improve on their marginal status within the legal profession by moving their discussions from academic circles to the national policy agenda.
In the aftermath of sixth-century barbarian invasions, the legal profession that had grown and flourished during the Roman Empire vanished. Nonetheless, professional lawyers suddenly reappeared in Western Europe seven hundred years later during the 1230s when church councils and public authorities began to impose a body of ethical obligations on those who practiced law. James Brundage’s The Medieval Origins of the Legal Profession traces the history of legal practice from its genesis in ancient Rome to its rebirth in the early Middle Ages and eventual resurgence in the courts of the medieval church.
By the end of the eleventh century, Brundage argues, renewed interest in Roman law combined with the rise of canon law of the Western church to trigger a series of consolidations in the profession. New legal procedures emerged, and formal training for proctors and advocates became necessary in order to practice law in the reorganized church courts. Brundage demonstrates that many features that characterize legal advocacy today were already in place by 1250, as lawyers trained in Roman and canon law became professionals in every sense of the term. A sweeping examination of the centuries-long power struggle between local courts and the Christian church, secular rule and religious edict, The Medieval Origins of the Legal Profession will be a resource for the professional and the student alike.
Practitioners of private law opened the way toward Japan’s legal modernity in ways the samurai and the state could not. Tracing law regimes from Edo to Meiji, Flaherty shows how the legal profession emerged as a force for change in modern Japan, founding private universities and political parties, and contributing to twentieth-century legal reform.
How do judges determine the meaning of laws? The extent to which judges should exercise their discretion in interpreting legislation has been a contentious issue throughout American history, involving questions about the balance of power between the legislature and the judiciary. In Statutes in Court William D. Popkin provides an indispensable survey of the history of American statutory interpretation and then offers his own theory of “ordinary judging” that defines the proper scope of judicial discretion. Popkin begins by discussing the British origins of statutory interpretation in this country. He then maps the evolving conceptions of the judicial role in the United States from Revolutionary times through the twentieth century before presenting his “ordinary judging” theory—one that asks the judge to use modest judicial discretion to assist the legislature in implementing good government. Claiming that theory cannot account for everything a judge does when determining statutory meaning or writing an opinion, Popkin shows how judges who strive to be conscientious in interpreting the law are often hampered by the lack of both a framework in which to fit their approach and a well-understood common vocabulary to explain what they do. Statutes in Court fills that gap. This work will be valuable to anyone concerned about the judicial role in the interpretation of laws—from judiciary officials and law professors to legal historians and political scientists.
This primer on legal reasoning is aimed at law students and upper-level undergraduates. But it is also an original exposition of basic legal concepts that scholars and lawyers will find stimulating. It covers such topics as rules, precedent, authority, analogical reasoning, the common law, statutory interpretation, legal realism, judicial opinions, legal facts, and burden of proof.
Tournament of Lawyers traces in detail the rise of one hundred of the nation's top firms in order to diagnose the health of the business of American law. Galanter and Palay demonstrate that much of the large firm's organizational success stems from its ability to blend the talents of experienced partners with those of energetic junior lawyers driven by a powerful incentive—the race to win "the promotion-to-partner tournament." This calmly reasoned study reveals, however, that the very causes of the spiraling growth of the large law firm may lead to its undoing.
"Galanter and Palay pose questions and offer some answers which are certain to change the way big firm practice is regarded. To describe their work as challenging is something of an understatement: they at times delight, stimulate, frustrate and even depress the reader, but they never disappoint. Tournament of Lawyers is essential to the understanding of the business of the big law firms."—Jean and Colin Fergus, New York Law Journal
Over the past several decades, the number of lawyers in large cities has doubled, women have entered the bar at an unprecedented rate, and the scale of firms has greatly expanded. This immense growth has transformed the nature and social structure of the legal profession. In the most comprehensive analysis of the urban bar to date, Urban Lawyers presents a compelling portrait of how these changes continue to shape the field of law today.
Drawing on extensive interviews with Chicago lawyers, the authors demonstrate how developments in the profession have affected virtually every aspect of the work and careers of urban lawyers-their relationships with clients, job tenure and satisfaction, income, social and political values, networks of professional connections, and patterns of participation in the broader community. Yet despite the dramatic changes, much remains the same. Stratification of income and power based on gender, race, and religious background, for instance, still maintains inequality within the bar.
The authors of Urban Lawyers conclude that organizational priorities will likely determine the future direction of the legal profession. And with this landmark study as their guide, readers will be able to make their own informed predictions.