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The Lost Lawyer: Failing Ideals of the Legal Profession Paperback – 15 March 1995
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Anthony Kronman describes a spiritual crisis affecting the American legal profession, and 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 encourages a public-spirited devotion to the law.
For nearly two centuries, Kronman argues, the aspirations of American lawyers were shaped by their allegiance to a distinctive ideal of professional excellence. In the last generation, however, this ideal has failed, undermining the identity of lawyers as a group and making it unclear to those in the profession what it means for them personally to have chosen a life in the law.
A variety of factors have contributed to the declining prestige of prudence and public-spiritedness within the legal profession. Partly, Kronman asserts, it is the result of the triumph, in legal thought, of a counterideal that denigrates the importance of wisdom and character as professional virtues. Partly, it is due to an array of institutional forces, including the explosive growth of the country's leading law firms and the bureaucratization of our courts. The Lost Lawyer examines each of these developments and illuminates their common tendency to compromise the values from which the ideal of the lawyer-statesman draws strength. It is the most important critique of the American legal profession in some time, and an an enduring restatement of its ideals.
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From the Back Cover
- Publisher : *Harvard University Press; 1st edition (15 March 1995)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 440 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0674539273
- ISBN-13 : 978-0674539273
- Dimensions : 15.57 x 2.77 x 23.5 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 461,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Lost Lawyer is out of touch academic elitism at it's best. It outlines the ideal of the Lawyer-Statesman and then spends the rest of the book explaining attacks and erosion on the Lawyer-Statesman ideal. It's academically lazy, when you purport a fiction as reality, it's easy to find reality incompatible with it.
My question to Kronman is, if we've deviated from the lawyer-statesman ideal and lost our way, why did it take 200 years to abolish slavery and what was Thomas Jefferson thinking with Sally Hemmings? It wasn't very statesmanlike. What was Abe Lincoln doing when he negotiated slavery. In his letter to Conkling, Lincoln revealed that he gave 100 days notice of the emancipation proclamation, and that he wouldn't issue it if the rebelling states returned their allegiance. Does the lawyer-statesman negotiate the human and civil rights of men for political gain? I doubt this.
The Lawyer-Statesman is a fine ideal to strive for, but don't try to tell me that we once had it and lost it. If you want to move towards it, fine, I can accept that, but arguing that we've come from it is lost. John Adams defending the British soldiers in Boston is no different than Stephen Vladeck defending suspected terrorists at Guantanimo Bay. Nothing has been lost, your just selectively looking for the purposes of your argument.