Cheaper by the Hour: Temporary Lawyers and the Deprofessionalization of the Law

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Temple University Press, Mar 4, 2011 - Business & Economics - 216 pages

Recent law school graduates often work as temporary attorneys, but law firm layoffs and downsizing have strengthened the temporary attorney industry. Cheaper by the Hour is the first book-length account of these workers.

Drawing from participant observation and interviews, Robert A. Brooks provides a richly detailed ethnographic account of freelance attorneys in Washington, DC. He places their document review work in the larger context of the deprofessionalization of skilled labor and considers how professionals relegated to temporary jobs feel diminished, degraded, or demeaned by work that is often tedious, repetitive, and well beneath their abilities.

Brooks documents how firms break a lawyer's work into discrete components that require less skill to realize maximum profits. Moreover, he argues that information technology and efficiency demands are further stratifying the profession and creating a new underclass of lawyers who do low-end commodity work.

 

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User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

If you want to read a largely value-neutral account of the degradation of labor, here it is! Many people in this ethnographic narrative, including the author, repeatedly make the point that the ... Read full review

Contents

The New Workforce
1
The Creation of the Temporary Lawyer
28
Doing Document Review
55
Struggles over Work
78
Struggles over Time
102
Struggles over Identity
130
The Emerging Legal Underclass
159
Document Review Project Summary
187
The Questionnaire
189
The Attorneys
191
References
197
Index
213
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Robert A. Brooks is Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Criminal Justice at Worcester State University in Massachusetts.

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