cover image The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis

The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis

Steven J. Harper. Basic, $25.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-465-05877-8

A former partner at megafirm Kirkland and Ellis burns his bridges in this scathing indictment of law schools and big law firms. Harper (Crossing Hoffa), who worked in the field for 30 years, has a lot of bones to pick with various bodies, and he begins by chastising law schools for misrepresenting the opportunities available to their heavily indebted students after graduation (some alumni have even sued their schools for “deceptive conduct”), and for privileging profit over adequately preparing their pupils for real-world practice. He dutifully lays some of the blame on students for ignoring “the persistent warnings” regarding the current state of law schools and the legal profession, but if prospective law students aren’t thoroughly discouraged by Harper’s initial volley at schools, his fusillade at the major firms should do the trick. He depicts big-firm culture as dominated by profit concerns and built on the leveraging of overworked associates. Some of his suggestions for improving the overall health of the industry are more realistic than others (he proposes, for example, that clients with clout push firms to charge less for services rendered by associates working “unproductively long hours”), and more time could be spent discussing small and midsized firms, but his insights and admonitions are consistently on point. Agent: Danielle Svetcov, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Apr.)