The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis

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9780465058778: The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis
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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 storythe 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 flawedU.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 decisionsbeing honest about the legal job market, revisiting the financial incentives currently driving bad behavior, eliminating the billable hour model, and morecan 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.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Steven J. Harper is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University and a regular contributor to The American Lawyer. In addition to The Lawyer Bubble, he is the author Crossing Hoffa: A Teamster's Story (a true-crime thriller and Chicago Tribune "Best Book of the Year"), The Partnership - A Novel (a legal thriller), and Straddling Worlds: The Jewish-American Journey of Professor Richard W. Leopold.

His award-winning blog is "The Belly of the Beast" (thebellyofthebeast.wordpress.com).  

Steve is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. For thirty years, he was a litigator at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, a large law firm that he joined upon graduation from Harvard Law School. He received combined B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics from Northwestern. He and his wife have three adult children and live in suburban Chicago. Visit his website at stevenjharper.com

Review:

""The Lawyer Bubble" is an important book, carefully researched, cogently argued and compellingly written. It demonstrates how two honorable callings - legal education and the practice of law - have become, far too often, unscrupulous rackets."
--Scott Turow, author of "Presumed Innocent" and other novels

"With wit and insight, "The Lawyer Bubble" offers a compelling portrait of the growing crisis in legal education and the practice of law. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the profession or contemplating a legal career."
--Deborah L. Rhode, Professor of Law and Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford University

"This is a fine and important book, thoughtful and beautifully written. It makes the case - in a responsible and sober tone - that we are producing far too many lawyers for far too small a segment of American society. It is a must-read for leaders of law firms, law schools, and the bar, as the legal profession continues its wrenching transition from a profession into just another business."
--Daniel S. Bowling III, Senior Lecturing Fellow, Duke Law School

"In this superb book, Steven Harper documents, ties together and suggests remedies for the deceit that motivates expanding law school enrollment in the face of a shrinking job market, the gaming of law school rankings and the pernicious effect of greed on the leadership of many of our nation's leading law firms. The lessons he draws are symptomatic, and go well beyond the documented particulars."
--Robert Helman, Partner and former Chairman (1984-98), Mayer Brown LLP; Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School

"Every sentient lawyer realizes that the legal profession is in crisis, but nobody explains the extent of the problem as well as Steven Harper. Fortunately, he also proposes some solutions - so there is still room for hope. This is an essential book."
--Steven Lubet, author of "Fugitive Justice" and "La

"[Harper] burns his bridges in this scathing indictment of law schools and big law firms.... his insights and admonitions are consistently on point."
"--Publishers Weekly"

""The Lawyer Bubble" is an important book, carefully researched, cogently argued and compellingly written. It demonstrates how two honorable callings - legal education and the practice of law - have become, far too often, unscrupulous rackets."
--Scott Turow, author of "Presumed Innocent" and other novels
"Imagine that the elite lawyers of BigLaw and the legal academy were put on trial for their alleged negligence and failed stewardship. Imagine further that the State had at its disposal one of the nation's most tenacious trial lawyers to doggedly build a complete factual record and then argue the case. The result would be "The Lawyer Bubble." If I were counsel to the elite lawyers of BigLaw and the legal academy, I would advise my clients to settle the case."
--William D. Henderson, Director of the Center on the Global Legal Profession and Professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law

"With wit and insight, "The Lawyer Bubble" offers a compelling portrait of the growing crisis in legal education and the practice of law. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the profession or contemplating a legal career."
--Deborah L. Rhode, Professor of Law and Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford University

"This is a fine and important book, thoughtful and beautifully written. It makes the case - in a responsible and sober tone - that we are producing far too many lawyers for far too small a segment of American society. It is a must-read for leaders of law firms, law schools, and the bar, as the legal profession continues its wrenching transition from a profession into just another business."
--Daniel S. Bowling III, Senior Lecturing Fellow, Duke Law School

"In this superb book, Steven Harper do

"[Harper] is perfectly positioned to reflect on alarming developments that have brought the legal profession to a most unfortunate place.... Essential reading for anyone contemplating a legal career."
"--Kirkus Reviews"
"[Harper] burns his bridges in this scathing indictment of law schools and big law firms.... his insights and admonitions are consistently on point."
"--Publishers Weekly"

""The Lawyer Bubble" is an important book, carefully researched, cogently argued and compellingly written. It demonstrates how two honorable callings - legal education and the practice of law - have become, far too often, unscrupulous rackets."
--Scott Turow, author of "Presumed Innocent" and other novels
"Imagine that the elite lawyers of BigLaw and the legal academy were put on trial for their alleged negligence and failed stewardship. Imagine further that the State had at its disposal one of the nation's most tenacious trial lawyers to doggedly build a complete factual record and then argue the case. The result would be "The Lawyer Bubble." If I were counsel to the elite lawyers of BigLaw and the legal academy, I would advise my clients to settle the case."
--William D. Henderson, Director of the Center on the Global Legal Profession and Professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law

"With wit and insight, "The Lawyer Bubble" offers a compelling portrait of the growing crisis in legal education and the practice of law. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the profession or contemplating a legal career."
--Deborah L. Rhode, Professor of Law and Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford University

"This is a fine and important book, thoughtful and beautifully written. It makes the case - in a responsible and sober tone - that we are producing far too many lawyers for far too small a segment of American society. It is a must-read for leaders of law firms, law schools, and the

"Harper is a seasoned insider unafraid to say what many other lawyers in his position might...written with keen insight and scathing accusations.... Harper brings his analytical and persuasive abilities to bear in a highly entertaining and riveting narrative.... "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."
--"New York Journal of Books"
"Anyone looking into a career in law would be well advised to read this thoroughly eye-opening warning."
--"Booklist," starred review
"[Harper] is perfectly positioned to reflect on alarming developments that have brought the legal profession to a most unfortunate place.... Essential reading for anyone contemplating a legal career."
"--Kirkus Reviews"
"[Harper] burns his bridges in this scathing indictment of law schools and big law firms.... his insights and admonitions are consistently on point."
"--Publishers Weekly"
"Imagine that the elite lawyers of BigLaw and the legal academy were put on trial for their alleged negligence and failed stewardship. Imagine further that the State had at its disposal one of the nation's most tenacious trial lawyers to doggedly build a complete factual record and then argue the case. The result would be "The Lawyer Bubble." If I were counsel to the elite lawyers of BigLaw and the legal academy, I would advise my clients to settle the case."
--William Henderson, Professor of Law and Director of the Center on the Global Legal Profession, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
""The Lawyer Bubble" is an important book, carefully researched, cogently argued and compellingly written. It demonstrates how two honorable callings - legal education and the practice of law - have become, far too often, unscrupulous rackets."
--Scott Turow, author of "Presumed Innocent" and other novels
"Imagine that the elite lawyer

"In addition to actual solutions, along with a comprehensive analysis of the problems, Harper provides a masterpiece of fine writing."
--"Law and More"
"The perfect book for a terrible time. If every Biglaw partner, law professor, and law school dean read this book and followed its prescriptions, we just might get our profession back on track.... Harper's analysis is spot-on."
--Lawyerist.com
"This is an important and timely book. It's two books, really. The first is a powerful recitation of how we got into this 'unfortunate place, ' which may be more of a revelation to civilians than to lawyers who have paid attention to their alma mater's struggles or their firm's business plans. The second may not be so easy for lawyers to shrug off. It's a call to remedy the problems he so vividly describes. His answers aren't neat or in many cases likely. But he's identified the root problem--and he's looking at you!"
--"American Lawyer"
"This expose is by a lawyer who has worked in the trenches.... Startling and depressing.... Readable, well-researched, and scholarly."
--"Library Journal"
"It should be required reading for anyone in the large-law-firm world--and especially anyone who thinks they want to get into that business."
--Paul Barrett, "BusinessWeek"
""The Lawyer Bubble" is a cogent critique of the legal profession by Steven J. Harper, who speaks with authority.... With the thoroughness of a skilled trial lawyer, Harper marshals impressive statistics and other materials to make his case."
--"Shelf Awareness"
"Harper is a seasoned insider unafraid to say what many other lawyers in his position might...written with keen insight and scathing accusations.... Harper brings his analytical and persuasive abilities to bear in a highly entertaining and riveting narrative.... "The Lawyer Bubble" is recommended reading for anyone working in a law related field. And for law school students--especially prospective ones--it

"[Harper has] a complete mastery of his subject matter, both from an economic and legal perspective.... Not only is Harper a gifted lawyer able to marshal facts, but he is an especially deft writer, and he tells his story as only a gifted author can.... Harper does not simply criticize the current state of affairs; he offers solutions, if only we are wise enough either to embrace them, modify them, or come up with additional curatives.... "The Lawyer Bubble" is a wake up call for those of us who love our profession, and it is a book that all lawyers should read."
--"Circuit Rider"
""The Lawyer Bubble" is a most worthwhile read, both for people already in the legal profession and those thinking about entering it. The book is a clear-eyed, sometimes harsh, but always fair-minded indictment of our deeply troubled profession.... [Harper] does a fine job of synthesizing recent developments, analyzing their root causes, and providing sensible solutions."
--David Lat, "Above the Law"
"In addition to actual solutions, along with a comprehensive analysis of the problems, Harper provides a masterpiece of fine writing."
--"Law and More"
"The perfect book for a terrible time. If every Biglaw partner, law professor, and law school dean read this book and followed its prescriptions, we just might get our profession back on track.... Harper's analysis is spot-on."
--Lawyerist.com
"This is an important and timely book. It's two books, really. The first is a powerful recitation of how we got into this 'unfortunate place, ' which may be more of a revelation to civilians than to lawyers who have paid attention to their alma mater's struggles or their firm's business plans. The second may not be so easy for lawyers to shrug off. It's a call to remedy the problems he so vividly describes. His answers aren't neat or in many cases likely. But he's identified the root problem--and he's looking at you!"
--"American Lawyer"
"This expose is by
"The legal profession is facing some fundamental changes, and Harper deserves credit for sounding the alarm.... Harper's big-picture argument is undoubtedly correct, and it is a real cause for concern."
--"Time Magazine's Ideas blog"
"Harper makes a strong case for rethinking the nature of legal education and the current business model for big law firms...a must read for managing partners, law school administrators and, most certainly, prospective law students."--"USA Today"
"[Harper has] a complete mastery of his subject matter, both from an economic and legal perspective.... Not only is Harper a gifted lawyer able to marshal facts, but he is an especially deft writer, and he tells his story as only a gifted author can.... Harper does not simply criticize the current state of affairs; he offers solutions, if only we are wise enough either to embrace them, modify them, or come up with additional curatives.... "The Lawyer Bubble" is a wake up call for those of us who love our profession, and it is a book that all lawyers should read."
--"Circuit Rider"
""The Lawyer Bubble" is a most worthwhile read, both for people already in the legal profession and those thinking about entering it. The book is a clear-eyed, sometimes harsh, but always fair-minded indictment of our deeply troubled profession.... [Harper] does a fine job of synthesizing recent developments, analyzing their root causes, and providing sensible solutions."
--David Lat, "Above the Law"
"In addition to actual solutions, along with a comprehensive analysis of the problems, Harper provides a masterpiece of fine writing."
--"Law and More"
"The perfect book for a terrible time. If every Biglaw partner, law professor, and law school dean read this book and followed its prescriptions, we just might get our profession back on track.... Harper's analysis is spot-on."
--Lawyerist.com
"This is an important and timely book. It's two books, really. The firs

The legal profession is facing some fundamental changes, and Harper deserves credit for sounding the alarm.... Harper s big-picture argument is undoubtedly correct, and it is a real cause for concern.
"Time Magazine's Ideas blog"
Harper makes a strong case for rethinking the nature of legal education and the current business model for big law firms...a must read for managing partners, law school administrators and, most certainly, prospective law students. "USA Today"
[Harper has] a complete mastery of his subject matter, both from an economic and legal perspective.... Not only is Harper a gifted lawyer able to marshal facts, but he is an especially deft writer, and he tells his story as only a gifted author can.... Harper does not simply criticize the current state of affairs; he offers solutions, if only we are wise enough either to embrace them, modify them, or come up with additional curatives.... "The Lawyer Bubble" is a wake up call for those of us who love our profession, and it is a book that all lawyers should read.
"Circuit Rider"
"The Lawyer Bubble" is a most worthwhile read, both for people already in the legal profession and those thinking about entering it. The book is a clear-eyed, sometimes harsh, but always fair-minded indictment of our deeply troubled profession.... [Harper] does a fine job of synthesizing recent developments, analyzing their root causes, and providing sensible solutions.
David Lat, "Above the Law"
In addition to actual solutions, along with a comprehensive analysis of the problems, Harper provides a ma...

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