The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis

Front Cover
Basic Books, Apr 2, 2013 - Law - 272 pages
14 Reviews
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 pre-eminent 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.

  

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Review: The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis

User Review  - Goodreads

This was okay. It said a lot of the things that I already knew and it was way too focused on Big Law. One thing that it was definitely right about is that I had blinders up when I went to law school and would not listen to anybody telling me not to go. Read full review

Review: The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis

User Review  - Rebecca Cohen - Goodreads

This was okay. It said a lot of the things that I already knew and it was way too focused on Big Law. One thing that it was definitely right about is that I had blinders up when I went to law school and would not listen to anybody telling me not to go. Read full review

Contents

Tracking the Bubble
3
The Role of the ABA and U S News Rankings
15
Inadequate Responses
43
Attorney Dissatisfaction
57
The Transformation of Big Law Firms
67
Surging Income Inequality
99
Continuing Destabilization
123
A Case Study
133
DEFLATING THE BUBBLE
153
Epilogue
203
Acknowledgments
209
Index
239
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Steven J. Harper is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University’s Law School and Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences. He is a regular contributor to the American Lawyer and the author of three previous books, including Crossing Hoffa: A Teamster’s Story and The Partnership: A Novel. After a 30-year career as a litigator, he recently retired from Kirkland & Ellis LLP—the firm he joined immediately upon graduation from Harvard Law School. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been listed in numerous compilations of the best lawyers in America. Harper lives in Wilmette, Illinois.

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