A Nation Under Lawyers: How the Crisis in the Legal Profession is Transforming American Society

Mary Ann Glendon, Author
Mary Ann Glendon, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $24 (331p) ISBN 978-0-374-21938-3
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-674-60138-3
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Analyzing the ``significant advance of arrogance, unruliness, greed, and cynicism in the legal profession,'' Harvard law professor Glendon (Rights Talk) ambitiously assays the burgeoning legal world. According to the author, big-firm lawyers are motivated less by professional ideals than by client loyalty, judges prefer judicial supremacy to more democratic processes and legal education has drifted from professional pedagogy to often-irrelevant ideology. However, she believes ``legal hubris'' may have begun to decline and suggests that the Anglo-American legal tradition can reinvigorate today's ``pragmatic'' students. Glendon's analysis has historical depth and ideological subtlety: she recognizes both the strengths and the weaknesses of the past and states that the number of lawyers matters less than what those lawyers do. While her overblown subtitle might be better inverted-society probably has more effect on lawyers-and her survey is necessarily incomplete, this readable, moderate book should stimulate debate. (Nov.)
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