The current state of the legal profession in the United States is, overall, not a happy one. There is an epidemic of distress and dissatisfaction among lawyers, and public esteem for the profession has fallen to an all-time low. My second book, Transforming the Practice of Law: Reclaiming the Soul of the Legal Profession, contains an in-depth analysis of the factors contributing to the current state of affairs, beginning with a discussion about the nature of legal education. Significant developments affecting the behavior of lawyers and the reputation of the profession are also discussed.
The American Bar Association's Model Code of Professional Responsibility established the professional ideal of zealous representation, encouraging lawyers to be fervent partisans on behalf of their clients. Widespread publicity about the Watergate conspiracy exposed a number of lawyers acting as though they were above the law. As a result of the Supreme Court's decision ending bans on advertising by lawyers and the growing influence of large law firms within the profession, the private practice of law has become a highly competitive commercial enterprise. So long as the profession stays on its current path, many lawyers will experience distress and dissatisfaction in their professional lives and the reputation of the profession will continue to decline.
Transforming the Practice of Law: Reclaiming the Soul of the Legal Profession contains suggestions for specific steps that can be taken to guide the profession to a path that leads to a better destination, where lawyers find meaning and fulfillment in their professional lives and where the legal profession is held once again in high regard by the society it serves. The book can be purchased online at: http://www.amazon.com/Transforming-Practice-Law-Reclaiming-Profession/dp/0692514120.