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.
"An important and thought-provoking addition to the literature on the ethics of lawyers."
---Kimberly Kirkland, Franklin Pierce Law Center
The Consciousness of the Litigator investigates the role of the lawyer in modern American political and social life and in the judicial process, and plumbs lawyers' perceptions of themselves, their work, and, especially, their sense of right and wrong.
In so doing, the book sheds light on the unique and little-examined subject of the moral mind of the litigator, whose work extends to all corners of society and whose primary expertise---making legal arguments---is the fundamental skill of all lawyers.
The Consciousness of the Litigator stands with Michael Kelly's Lives of Lawyers as a must-read for the many law students, scholars, and practicing litigators who struggle to balance ethical questions with the dictates of their highly commercialized profession.
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.
Gary Bellow and Martha Minow, Editors University of Michigan Press, 1998 Library of Congress K184.L377 1996 | Dewey Decimal 340
"War stories" is the phrase used by academic lawyers to disparage the ways practicing lawyers talk about their experiences. Gary Bellow and Martha Minow in Law Stories have gathered a group of stories that explore the actual experiences of clients and lawyers in concrete legal contexts.
The essays in Law Stories are all first-person accounts of law problems and the way they were handled, written by lawyers involved in the problems. They offer the voice and insight of the self-reflective practitioner. As such they provide us with a dimension missing from many third-person accounts of cases, a layer of emotion and perspective on legal institutions experienced by people caught or working within them.
Focusing on cases arising in public interest practices, the stories deal with problems arising from child custody, parental rights in a Head Start program, the consequences of large corporate bankruptcy for the corporation's retirees, juvenile crime, unemployment benefits, the rights of a victim of crime, the rights of welfare recipients, and the rights of small shareholders. These stories raise a variety of questions, including the nature and extent of the lawyer's role, the way the system listens to certain kinds of stories told in certain ways and refuses to hear other stories, how participation in the legal system affects the identity of those who are involved in it and how the popular image of law and legal processes differs from the reality depicted in these cases.
This book will appeal to both practitioners and teachers of law as well as social scientists interested in studying the role and place of law in the system.
The contributors include Anthony Alfieri, Gary Bellow, Lenora M. Lapidus, Alice and Staughton Lynd, Martha Minow, Nell Minow, Charles Ogletree, Abbe Smith, Lynne Weaver, and Lucie E. White.
"[Law Stories will] enlighten not only law students but the general and professional public who will find these accounts as compelling as any work of popular fiction. Unhappily, these accounts of law's inadequacy as a vehicle for social justice are not fictions. . . ." --Law and Politics Book Review
Gary Bellow and Martha Minow are Professors of Law, Harvard Law School.
Lawyers and the legal profession have become
scapegoats for many of the problems of our
age. In The Lawyer Myth: A Defense of the
American Legal Profession, Rennard Strickland and
Frank T. Read look behind current antilawyer media
images to explore the historical role of lawyers as a
balancing force in times of social, economic, and political change. One source of this disjunction of perception and reality, they find, is that American society has lost touch with the need for the lawyer’s skill and has come to blame unrelated social problems on the legal profession. This highly personal and impassioned book is their defense of lawyers and the rule of law in the United States. The Lawyer Myth confronts the hypocrisy of critics from both the right and
the left who attempt to exploit popular misperceptions about lawyers and
judges to further their own social and political agendas. By revealing the facts and reasoning behind the decisions in such cases as the infamous McDonald’s coffee spill, the authors provide a clear explanation of the operation of the law while addressing misconceptions about the number of lawsuits, runaway jury verdicts, and legal “technicalities” that turn criminals out on the street.
Acknowledging that no system is perfect, the authors propose a slate of reforms for the bar, the judiciary, and law schools that will enable today’s lawyers—and tomorrow’s—to live up to the noble potential of their profession. Whether one thinks of lawyers as keepers of the springs of democracy, foot soldiers of the Constitution, architects and carpenters of commerce, umpires and field levelers, healers of the body politic, or simply bridge builders, The Lawyer Myth reminds us that lawyers are essential to American democracy.
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.
Because of concern over the cost and quality of legal representation in this country many have argued that formally trained lawyers are not the best advocates in many situations. However, the professional bar has fought to maintain its monopoly on the provision of legal services. Can nonlawyers be effective legal advocates? Herbert Kritzer provides the first systematic comparative study of the work of lawyers and nonlawyers that evaluates the quality of representation provided by lawyers and nonlawyers. The book describes lawyers and nonlawyer advocates at work in four different legal settings: unemployment compensation claims appeals, Social Security disability appeals, state tax appeals, and labor grievance arbitrations.
The analysis shows clearly that nonlawyers can be effective advocates and, in some situations, more effective than many lawyers. Kritzer combines an examination of case outcomes with a systematic observation of advocates in the hearing room, providing a compelling portrait of their work and a solid basis for understanding the differences in the effectiveness of advocates with different training. The author's findings have important implications for our policies toward restrictions on those who can provide legal assistance, specialization in training and practice, and the meaning of professional monopolies in a world of increasing complexity.
This book will appeal to student of the legal process, the sociology of professions, and all concerned with the operation of the U.S. legal system.
Herbert M. Kritzer is Professor of Political Science and Law, University of Wisconsin--Madison. He is the author of Let's Make a Deal and The Justice Broker.
America has long enjoyed a love/hate relationship with its attorneys; jokes equating lawyers with vermin abound at the same time that our love of litigation is reflected in a doubling of the ranks of lawyers since the 1960s. Though we often see the lawyer as a crusading lone wolf of justice, the illuminating Lives of Lawyers demonstrates that the integrity of individual lawyers is fundamentally influenced by the nature of the legal organizations that have come to dominate the field. In fleshing out these agencies of legal expertise, Kelly offers important insights into the personal ideals of lawyers, the struggle to clarify professionalism as interpreted by the legal origination, and the effects of these factors on society's perceptions of law and lawyering.
Lives of Lawyers paints an intimate portrait of five legal entities: two corporate firms, an in-house corporate counsel's office, and a public interest agency. Each is viewed through a kaleidoscope of client/colleague relationships, connections to civic and community life, income levels and career satisfaction of attorneys, the social status of the organization, and the character of the particular law practiced. These detailed portrayals vividly reveal the diversity inherent to the profession and the wealth of responses to the question of what shapes the values of today's legal practices. The author's deft use of narrative and debt to the discipline of biography and sociology make his five stores a first-rate read.
Kelly gets into the trenches with lawyers comprising these organizations; they don't mince words in passing judgment on themselves, their employers, or the state of the profession--particularly its growing commercialism. Nonetheless, Lives of Lawyers reminds us of the constantly renewed dedication by lawyers to the principles of legal professionalism.
Michael J. Kelly is University Vice President and Professor of Law, Georgetown University.
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.
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.
In Tangled Loyalties, Susan P. Shapiro charts a journey across the state of Illinois. To explore the role of conflict-of-interest in the private practice of law she looks at a wide variety of law firms, including those located near lakes, rivers, and corn fields; in strip malls, storefronts, and historic landmarks; in town squares, residential neighborhoods, deteriorating downtown areas, and glittering high rises.
This unique, empirical study examines the actual attitudes and perceptions of legal practitioners. The author discusses the realities of the profession--what lawyers face day to day, how they deal with conflicts of interest, and how those experiences vary from LaSalle Street to Wall Street to Main Street, from megafirms to solo practices. In describing how conflicts arise in their daily work, Shapiro sheds light on the nature of legal work--on clients, colleagues, law firm power and politics, economics, markets, malpractice insurance, careers, ethics, values, business judgments, and lawyers' most anguishing moments. In short, we learn what it means to be a lawyer at the end of the twentieth century.
Tangled Loyalties also looks at how these conflicts in law affect other fiduciaries--accountants, doctors, psychotherapists, journalists, and academics--and the way in which they respond to competing interests and the honoring of those interests.
Tangled Loyalties will appeal to readers interested in the legal and other professions, social institutions and relations, and issues of trust, ethics, social control and regulation.
Susan P. Shapiro is Senior Research Fellow, American Bar Foundation.
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.
The past few decades have seen the legal system entering American popular culture like never before, from the media blitzes surrounding high-profile trials to the countless television programs in which judges rule on everyday disputes. What, if anything, does this mean for the legal system itself? According to Richard K. Sherwin, it is a dangerous development—one that threatens to turn law into spectacle, undermining public confidence as legal style and logic begin to resemble advertising and public relations.
"Sherwin offers insightful, intriguing analyses of movies and other cultural products. His examination of legal discourse and popular culture will inform, enlighten, and even entertain."—William Halton, The Law and Politics Book Review
"[Sherwin's] knowledge of how media culture affects the courtroom is valuable, as is his rigorous examination. Can we prevent America's legal system from going 'pop'—losing its legitimacy by becoming just another part of popular culture? Given America's courtroom obsession . . . it's about time someone did some explaining."—Julie Scelfo, Brill's Content
"[A] brilliant analysis of the jury system in our media-saturated age. . . . [D]iscerning readers will see a truly integrative intelligence at work, proposing possible solutions rather than simply bemoaning problems."—Publishers Weekly