The Lawyer Bubble by Steven J. Harper
A Profession in Crisis

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Mr. Harper's blunderbuss condemnation of most large firms and most law schools is off-target. By and large, they have proved resilient in a competitive legal climate.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

A noble profession is facing its defining moment. From law schools to the prestigious firms that represent the pinnacle of a legal career, a crisis is unfolding. News headlines tell part of the story—the growing oversupply of new lawyers, widespread career dissatisfaction, and spectacular implosions of pre-eminent law firms. Yet eager hordes of bright young people continue to step over each other as they seek jobs with high rates of depression, life-consuming hours, and little assurance of financial stability. The Great Recession has only worsened these trends, but correction is possible and, now, imperative.

In The Lawyer Bubble, Steven J. Harper reveals how a culture of short-term thinking has blinded some of the nation’s finest minds to the long-run implications of their actions. Law school deans have ceded independent judgment to flawed U.S. News & World Report rankings criteria in the quest to maximize immediate results. Senior partners in the nation’s large law firms have focused on current profits to enhance American Lawyer rankings and individual wealth at great cost to their institutions. Yet, wiser decisions—being honest about the legal job market, revisiting the financial incentives currently driving bad behavior, eliminating the billable hour model, and more—can take the profession to a better place.

A devastating indictment of the greed, shortsightedness, and dishonesty that now permeate the legal profession, this insider account is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how things went so wrong and how the profession can right itself once again.

 

About Steven J. Harper

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Steven J. Harper is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University’s Law School and Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences. He is a regular contributor to the American Lawyer and the author of three previous books, including Crossing Hoffa: A Teamster’s Story and The Partnership: A Novel. After a 30-year career as a litigator, he recently retired from Kirkland & Ellis LLP—the firm he joined immediately upon graduation from Harvard Law School. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been listed in numerous compilations of the best lawyers in America. Harper lives in Wilmette, Illinois.
 
Published March 8, 2016 by Basic Books. 315 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Lawyer Bubble
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Richard A Epstein on May 05 2013

Mr. Harper's blunderbuss condemnation of most large firms and most law schools is off-target. By and large, they have proved resilient in a competitive legal climate.

Read Full Review of The Lawyer Bubble: A Professi... | See more reviews from WSJ online

NY Journal of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Logan Lo on Apr 02 2013

The Lawyer Bubble is recommended reading for anyone working in a law related field. And for law school students—especially prospective ones—it really should be required reading.

Read Full Review of The Lawyer Bubble: A Professi... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

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