A noble profession is facing its defining moment. From law schools to the prestigious firms that represent the pinnacle of a legal career, a crisis is unfolding. News headlines tell part of the story - the growing oversupply of new lawyers, widespread career dissatisfaction, and spectacular implosions of preeminent law firms. Yet eager hordes of bright young people continue to step over each other as they seek jobs with high rates of depression, life-consuming hours, and little assurance of financial stability. The Great Recession has only worsened these trends, but correction is possible and, now, imperative.
In The Lawyer Bubble, Steven J. Harper reveals how a culture of short-term thinking has blinded some of the nation’s finest minds to the long-run implications of their actions. Law school deans have ceded independent judgment to flawed U.S. News & World Report rankings criteria in the quest to maximize immediate results. Senior partners in the nation’s large law firms have focused on current profits to enhance American Lawyer rankings and individual wealth at great cost to their institutions. Yet, wiser decisions - being honest about the legal job market, revisiting the financial incentives currently driving bad behavior, eliminating the billable hour model, and more - can take the profession to a better place.
A devastating indictment of the greed, shortsightedness, and dishonesty that now permeate the legal profession, this insider account is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how things went so wrong and how the profession can right itself once again.
©2013 Steven J. Harper (P)2013 Gildan Media LLC
"[Harper] burns his bridges in this scathing indictment of law schools and big law firms….His insights and admonitions are consistently on point." (Publishers Weekly)
"The Lawyer Bubble is an important book, carefully researched, cogently argued and compellingly written. It demonstrates how two honorable callings - legal education and the practice of law - have become, far too often, unscrupulous rackets.” (Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent and other novels)
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
First, it should be said that this is a book of limited universal interest, notwithstanding the importance of its messages. Really, it is for lawyers (more particularly, senior lawyers, judges and academics). It is something to be mourned of my profession that it is no longer a profession at all, but a business. However, the general populace is unlikely to be interested in this moan, more's the pity.
Secondly, I was not surprised to hear the author's sentiments, because I have been bemoaning the same thing for many years now, albeit without the generous helping of statistics to back up my morose melancholia. Although it is the statistics that drive the problem, there is no doubting that they can paint a very damning picture of the justice business. I am sure that proposing a statistic (Working Culture Index) to combat the race to feature in the statistics that are the AmLaw and related league tables as an irony that is not lost on the author.
Thirdly, perhaps I (and the author) simply suffer from the usual incidence of old age in looking back on a golden time. The truth is that the time I seek to remember was almost gone by the time I commenced to practice in 1986. Still, it's nice to think of it as a purer time (although it was more probably a more naive time).
Fourthly, because I am a convert to the messages I am very likely biased in my assessment of its content.
With those matters stated, it remains to endorse the performance of Dixon, who held one's interest without being preachy.
All lawyers should read this. Some lawyers should memorise it.
Interesting overview, with some decent recommendations. Spends an inordinate amount of time on big law firms and only a few references to private practice, small firms, public interest, and in-house counsel.
Say something about yourself!
Yes, I would listen again to pick up the subtle things I missed the first time.
Exceptionally written and insightful.
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