American lawyers: a disintegrating guild?

Yes, lawyers are organized as a guild, but I’m not convinced that arrangement is disintegrating or on the way to doing so. I explain why in a new piece at Liberty and Law that’s a response to an essay-in-chief by Jim Chen of Louisville Law School arguing that competition and technological advance are fast eroding lawyers’ guild privileges. The other response-essay is by Brian Tamanaha of Washington U. in St. Louis, whose new book Failing Law Schools has been getting widespread acclaim [NLJ, Garnett]
and whose recent essays in the NYT and Daily Beast have stirred widespread discussion. (& Instapundit, Paul Caron/TaxProf, Scott Greenfield).


  • “Don’t bet against proven success”? How about, “Don’t bet against entrenched oligarchy”?

    If the object of the organized bar is to perpetuate itself in power instead of the promotion of liberty and justice for all, then every lawyer swears falsely every time he repeats the Pledge of Allegiance. He gets his countrymen’s contempt the old fashioned way: He earned it.

    Besides, other institutions have been proven successes until they weren’t. Until 1860, Negro slavery was a proven success. Until 1905, the Romanov dynasty was a proven success. Until 1964, Jim Crow law was a proven success. The Soviet Union was a proven success until 1991. A long standing tyranny is still tyranny and will collapse as soon as its enemies gain enough power to break it.

  • […] Chen and others review Brian Tamanaha’s new book Failing Law Schools [Paul Caron, TaxProf; earlier including my Liberty and Law symposium entry with Chen and Tamanaha] “After law school […]