How Lawyers Lose Their Way: A Profession Fails Its Creative Minds

How Lawyers Lose Their Way: A Profession Fails Its Creative Minds

by Jean Stefancic, Richard Delgado, Jean Stefancic
     
 


In this penetrating book, Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado use historical investigation and critical analysis to diagnose the cause of the pervasive unhappiness among practicing lawyers. Most previous writers have blamed the high rate of burnout, depression, divorce, and drug and alcohol dependency among these highly paid professionals on the narrow… See more details below

Overview


In this penetrating book, Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado use historical investigation and critical analysis to diagnose the cause of the pervasive unhappiness among practicing lawyers. Most previous writers have blamed the high rate of burnout, depression, divorce, and drug and alcohol dependency among these highly paid professionals on the narrow specialization, long hours, and intense pressures of modern legal practice. Stefancic and Delgado argue that these professional demands are only symptoms of a deeper problem: the way lawyers are taught to think and reason. They show how legal education and practice have been rendered arid and dull by formalism, a way of thinking that values precedent and doctrine above all, exalting consistency over ambiguity, rationality over emotion, and rules over social context and narrative.

Stefancic and Delgado dramatize the plight of modern lawyers by exploring the unlikely friendship between Archibald MacLeish, who gave up a successful but unsatisfying law career to pursue his literary yearnings, and Ezra Pound. Reading the forty-year correspondence between MacLeish and Pound, Stefancic and Delgado draw lessons about the difficulties of attorneys trapped in worlds that give them power, prestige, and affluence but not personal satisfaction, much less creative fulfillment. Long after Pound had embraced fascism, descended into lunacy, and been institutionalized, MacLeish took up his old mentor’s cause, turning his own lack of fulfillment with the law into a meaningful crusade and ultimately securing Pound’s release from St. Elizabeths Hospital. Drawing on MacLeish’s story, Stefancic and Delgado contend that literature, public interest work, and critical legal theory offer tools to contemporary attorneys for finding meaning and overcoming professional dissatisfaction.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822335634
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
01/28/2005
Pages:
152
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Introduction: Why Are Lawyers So Unhappy? xi

Part I: Panthers and Pinstripes 3

1. The Caged Panther: Ezra Pound 5

2. Pinstripes: Archibald MacLeish 12

Part II: Discontents 31

3. Formalism: A New/Old Disease 33

4. Lawyers and Their Discontents 47

5. Lawyers’ Lives 62

6. Other Professions: Medicine 72

7. High-Paid Misery 77

Notes 87

Index 135

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