Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Hard Day's Night

The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night

Digging into the MoneyLaw mailbag, I'm pleased to share this note from Jessica Silbey:
Jessica SilbeyI am writing to recommend a new article by my colleage Michael Rustad and his co-author Thomas Koenig. It’s in a Syracuse Law Review symposium devoted to lawyering in the 21st century (volume 58, number 2, 2008). Mike’s article is entitled A Hard Day’s Night: Hierarchy, History and Happiness in Law School and Legal Practice, 58 Syracuse L. Rev. 263 (2008). It’s a critique of Delgado and Stefancic’s article in the same volume about disaffection among contemporary lawyers. Mike and Tom suggest the disaffection is largely among the elite lawyers and that Delgado and Stefancic’s history omits the issue of class mobility. I agree that lawyer disaffection today is much more likely in the elite circles because of the jaded nature of that population that has easy access to prestige, money and opportunity. I will also say, however, that I think all law students would emotionally benefit from an interdisciplinary approach to law study and practice (as opposed to the contrasting practices of the Langdell approach with the Archer approach). I think that solos and small firm practitioners (the primary employment model of the less elite law school graduates) engage, by necessity, in interdisciplinary practicing and thinking, whereas the increased compartmentalization of law practice in the big firms leads people to think with blinders on about the work they’re doing — very alienating.
FoxI endorse Jessica's assessment of the "alienating" nature of much of contemporary BigLaw practice. It reminds me that I might want soon to fulfill an implied promise, now a whopping 18 months old, to complete this inchoate but inspired thought: Foxes rule, hedgehogs drool.


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