The Vanishing American Lawyer

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Over 4,000 lawyers lost their positions at major American law firms in 2008 and 2009. In The Vanishing American Lawyer, Professor Thomas Morgan discusses the legal profession and the need for both law students and lawyers to adapt to the needs and expectations of clients in the future. The world needs people who understand institutions that create laws and how to access those institutions' works, but lawyers are no longer part of a profession that is uniquely qualified to advise on a broad range of distinctly legal questions. Clients will need advisors who are more specialized than many lawyers are today and who have more expertise in non-legal issues. Many of today's lawyers do not have a special ability to provide such services.

While American lawyers have been hesitant to change the ways they can improve upon meeting client needs, lawyers in other countries, notably Great Britain and Australia, have been better at adapting. Law schools must also recognize the world their students will face and prepare them to operate successfully within it. Professor Morgan warns that lawyers must adapt to new client needs and expectations. The term "professional" should be applied to individuals who deserve praise for skilled and selfless efforts, but this term may lead to occupational suicide if it becomes a justification for not seeing and adapting to the world ahead.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199737734
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas D. Morgan has been the Oppenheim Professor of Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law at The George Washington University Law School since 1989. He has served as Dean at the Emory University School of Law and on the faculties of the University of Illinois and Brigham Young University. In 1990, he served as President of the Association of American Law Schools. Professor Morgan has taught and written about the legal profession for over 35 years and is co-author of the widely-used law school casebook "Problems and Materials on Professional Responsibility" (10th Edition 2008). He served as Reporter for the American Bar Association Commission on Professionalism, as one of three Reporters for the American Law Institute's "Restatement of the Law (Third): The Law Governing Lawyers," and as one of three Reporters for the American Bar Association's Ethics 2000 Commission to revise the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 - The Unsettled World of American Lawyers

A. Pervasive Lawyer Anxiety

B. What is a Lawyer?

C. Why Lawyers' Anxiety May Be Intensifying

D. Putting Some of the Concerns Into Perspective

E. Why Should Lawyers' Anxiety Interest Us?

Chapter 2 - American Lawyers Are Not Part of a Profession

A. The Problematic Emphasis on Law as a Profession

B. Two Appropriate Uses of the Term "Professional"

C. The Mistake of Transforming Professionals into a Profession

D. Could the World Get Along Without a Legal Profession?

E. Some Perspective on Lawyers as a Profession? - The English
Legal Tradition

F. The Early Days in America and the Rejection of English Law and Lawyering

G. The American Bar Association and the Renewed Rhetoric that
Law is a Profession

H. The Significance of the Survey of the Legal Profession

I. What Makes the Professionalism Ideal Survive?

1. Confidentiality of Client Information

2. Committed Advocacy on a Client's Behalf

3. Preservation of the Rule of Law and Independence from Clients

4. Making Legal Services Widely Available

J. Law in America Is Not a Profession - And That's a Good Thing

Chapter 3 - The Transformation of Law Practice Since the 1970s

A. Judicial Abrogation of Lawyer Standards

B. The Dramatic Growth in the Number of Lawyers

C. The Impact of Globalization on Lawyers and Law Practice

D. Modern Information Technology and the Transformation of
Lawyers' Work

E. The Growth of Law Firms as Premier Practice Organizations

1. How Lawyers Charge for Their Services

2. The Matter of Leverage

3. The Law Firm as a Tournament

F. Transformation of the Hemispheres of the Bar

G. Transformation of the Relative Power of In-House and
Outside Counsel

H. The Diminished Significance of Licensing

Chapter 4 - How American Lawyers and Firms Should Address the New Realities

A. The Future Course of an Individual Lawyer's Career

1. Lawyers Offering Basic Services for Individual Clients

2. Contested Disputes Requiring Resolution

3. Lawyers for Corporate and Other Organizational Clients

4. Lives Individual Lawyers Are Likely to Lead

B. Private Firms Are Likely to be As Important As Ever

1. Firms Help Lawyers Diversify Risk

2. Firms Help Achieve Economies of Scope, i.e., the
Ability to Work on "Projects"

3. Firms Can Develop Reputations and Brand Names -
The Matter of Marketing

C. The Challenge of Meeting Diverse Client Needs Anywhere in the World

1. The Need to Serve Clients That Have National and
World-Wide Activities

2. Developing Practice Teams With Diverse Skills

3. Making Racial and Gender Diversity a Part of the Firm's Reality

D. Developing Institutional Strength in a World of Individual Stars

1. Seeing Firms as Shopping Centers Rather than
Department Stores

2. Making Firms Attractive Places in Which to Build a Career

3. The Challenge of Financing Firm Operations and Growth

E. Finding New Ways For Clients to Pay for Legal Services

F. Why Haven't We Seen a More Rapid Response to These Trends?

F. Substantive Changes Needed in Lawyer Regulation

1. Allow Lawyers to Form Practice Organizations with Non-Lawyers

2. Allow New Methods of Financing Law Practice

3. Permit Covenants Designed to Slow LawyerMovement
Between Firms

Chapter 5 - The Impact of the Coming Changes on American Legal Education
A. What Students Learn in Law School

1. What it Means to Think Like a Lawyer

2. Adding Additional Substantive Legal Knowledge

3. Learning Practical Skills to Meet Client Needs

4. Understanding a Client's Substantive Problem

B. How the American System of Legal Education Developed

C. Interaction Between Legal Education and Professional Licensing

D. A Road Not Taken

E. Faulty Models Driving Legal Education Today

F. Reducing the Cost of Legal Training

G. New Ways to Think About Legal Education

1. Learning How to Think Like a 21st Century Lawyer

2. An Appropriate Vision for Skills Training

3. Training in Non-Legal Matter Needed for a
Practice Concentration

4. Education for Breadth and Context of Legal Understanding

H. Multiple Possible Credentials for Legal Training

Chapter 6 - Commitment to Justice in a Competitive Future

A. Meeting Justice Needs Formerly Met by Lawyers

1. Guaranteeing a right to counsel in criminal cases

2. Providing Civil Legal Services to the Poor and Middle Class

3. The Future of Cause Lawyering and the Defense of Civil Liberties

4. Who Will Be the Future Judges?

B. Professionalism - A Last Look

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