Critiques of The Legal Profession

Arron, Deborah L. Running from the Law: Why Good Lawyers are Getting out of the Legal Profession, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA (1989).
An anthology of insights and histories of lawyers whose choices made “powerful statements about their values.” One of the early books that broke the conspiracy of silence about dissatisfaction within the legal profession.

Arron, Deborah L. What You Can Do with a Law Degree. A Lawyer’s Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside and Around the Law, Decision Books (2003).Â
The author takes the reader through self-discovery in a structured and practical manner. A useful tool for lawyers in a decision-making process about career choice.

Bachman, Walt, Law vs. Life: What Lawyers are Afraid to Say about the Legal Profession, Four Directions Press, New York, NY (1995).
The author speaks with candor and cynicism about the legal profession. He focuses on the increasing demands of the legal marketplace and the “moral neutering” imposed by what he views as the lawyer’s ethical duty of advocacy.

Kronman, Anthony T, The Lost Lawyer: Failing Ideals of the Legal Profession, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA (1995).
The author describes a spiritual crisis affecting the American Legal Profession. He attributes it to the collapse of what he calls the ideal of the lawyer-statesman: a set of values that prizes good judgment above technical competence and that encourages a public-spirited devotion to the law.

Stefancic and Delgado, How Lawyers Lose Their Way: A Profession Fails Its Creative Minds (Duke University Press, 2005)
This unusual 85-page book uses the story of Archibald MacLeish as the backdrop for raising questions about the efficacy of the legal profession (and then, by analogy, the medical profession) for professionals themselves as well as society at large. The authors focus on “formalism” as the disease to which lawyers, judges, law firms and law schools have succumbed; they loosely offer as a solution the use of “interdisciplinary critical theory.” In the interest of full disclosure, this book should have been the opening chapters of a deeper book.  Nonetheless, it’s a worthy attempt to carve out some new territory in the discussion about the state of the legal profession. Its brevity makes for a useful read as a springboard for discussion.