New Book on the Legal Profession — “Devastating Indictment” — Greed, Unhappiness, Solutions

Amazon’s marketing blurb says it is

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.

The book itself won’t be released until April . But Steven Harper has  already published an article in the March 15 isssue of The Chronicle Review that ranks all by itself as “a devastating indictment” — of big law firms, of law schools, of law school deans, of the ABA, of law firm management consultants, of law firm rankings and of law school rankings.

Balloon design by April Gomez, photography by Matt Roth, from Chronicle

Balloon design by April Gomez, photography by Matt Roth, from Chronicle Review

The book is The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis. And we’re talking about “decades of greed and grandiosity.”  Harper is the guy who writes the law blog The Belly of the Beast.

The announcement of the book’s imminent arrival is accompanied by quite a list of pre-release blurbs attesting to its scathing-ness and its cogency and its wit.

Go look at the Chronicle  article. Here are two excerpts from it:

The cumulative impact of these policies is becoming clearer. Vulnerable young people become convinced that anyone can succeed as a lawyer. Because much of their undergraduate audience consists of liberal-arts majors who can’t decide what to do next, law schools appear to be an attractive default option. Add a universal human affliction—confirmation bias—and the fit becomes too perfect: Law schools tell prospective students what they want to hear, and sure enough, they hear it. The U.S. News rankings then tell them which schools to attend. And easy money for student loans fuels the entire system.

*  * * *

The principal victims of this phenomenon have been those lawyers who become trapped in the culture of short-termism. That culture is especially rampant among the prestigious big firms, where, as a group, lawyers are the unhappiest. As growth itself became another key element of strategy, increasing numbers of lawyers at larger and larger firms have become dissatisfied with their careers. As attention moved to current-year profits, the new model also led individual partners to jettison longstanding traditions of lifetime loyalty to a single firm in exchange for the promise of more money elsewhere—now.

Some of the pre-release promotion  promises that, in addition to the indictment, The Lawyer Bubble also delivers “solutions.” I gather that you need to buy the book to get the solutions.

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