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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 story—the growing oversupply of new lawyers, widespread career dissatisfaction, and spectacular implosions of pre-eminent law firms. Yet eager hordes of bright young people continue 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 story—the 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 flawed U.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 decisions—being honest about the legal job market, revisiting the financial incentives currently driving bad behavior, eliminating the billable hour model, and more—can 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.


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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 story—the growing oversupply of new lawyers, widespread career dissatisfaction, and spectacular implosions of pre-eminent law firms. Yet eager hordes of bright young people continue 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 story—the 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 flawed U.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 decisions—being honest about the legal job market, revisiting the financial incentives currently driving bad behavior, eliminating the billable hour model, and more—can 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.

30 review for The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    This book was very disturbing to say the least. In my opinion law students should try to branch out more. Too many people are drawn to human rights law and criminal law, and that's all well and good but there are some really interesting new emerging fields of law in the digital age that some people avoid simply because they assume it will be boring. And just because you have a law degree doesn't necessarily mean you can't still enter a career in the legal field that isn't being a lawyer, e.g. a This book was very disturbing to say the least. In my opinion law students should try to branch out more. Too many people are drawn to human rights law and criminal law, and that's all well and good but there are some really interesting new emerging fields of law in the digital age that some people avoid simply because they assume it will be boring. And just because you have a law degree doesn't necessarily mean you can't still enter a career in the legal field that isn't being a lawyer, e.g. a legal officer or professor. Of course, there's also a crowd of people who want to go into law for the perceived prestige alone, for the title, and they get this image in their head of the stereotypical rich-as-hell Trump-esque lawyer who's all powerful yet still helps others and makes boatloads of cash doing it. This book is one of few that addresses the reality of finding work in the legal profession, but doesn't try to be pessimistic to the point where it steers people away from a career they might still really enjoy. Instead, it's more like a guidebook for how to succeed in the real world without making a living off the backs of others or stooping to sleazy ambulance-chasing behavior.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Angad Nagra

    A riveting, lucid and comprehensive indictment of the short-sighted, corrosive and thoroughly unsustainable mentalities responsible for bringing about the legal profession's current crisis. Unlike many fellow commentators that have also chimed in on the subject in recent years, Harper goes the extra step of offering some bold but practical and thoughtful solutions to the profession's various predicaments. His criticisms of law school admissions practices are justifiably scathing, and his take on A riveting, lucid and comprehensive indictment of the short-sighted, corrosive and thoroughly unsustainable mentalities responsible for bringing about the legal profession's current crisis. Unlike many fellow commentators that have also chimed in on the subject in recent years, Harper goes the extra step of offering some bold but practical and thoughtful solutions to the profession's various predicaments. His criticisms of law school admissions practices are justifiably scathing, and his take on the prevailing business model at many large law firms is helpfully informed by his many years of personal experience as a practitioner and partner at one such firm. Absolutely essential reading for any practicing lawyer and, more importantly, for anyone currently considering a legal career.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sera

    Wow, am I happy with the path that my legal career has taken me. I've spent the last 20+ years earning a salary in the corporate world instead of toiling away in a law firm. Who would have thought that not landing that "big" job out of law school was such a blessing in disguise? This book is pretty depressing for recently graduated law students or those who don't have much legal experience. I had no idea that partners in big law firms made the money grab at the expense of their associates and no Wow, am I happy with the path that my legal career has taken me. I've spent the last 20+ years earning a salary in the corporate world instead of toiling away in a law firm. Who would have thought that not landing that "big" job out of law school was such a blessing in disguise? This book is pretty depressing for recently graduated law students or those who don't have much legal experience. I had no idea that partners in big law firms made the money grab at the expense of their associates and non-equity partners. Law schools are also to blame as they continue to lure new students with promises of exciting legal careers with big salaries. These promises are what cause people to borrow $100K in student loans to pay for an education where the current employment rate for graduates is less than 50%. These students cannot find jobs and are then burdened with debt that the government guarantees, which means that if defaulted upon, could bankrupt our country. This book provides another example of how the leaders of this country failed this country by their excessive greed and transfer of wealth to the 1%. What's interesting is the partners of the large law firms who Harper spends much of his time focusing on in the book are in the TOP 1/10TH OF THE 1%!!!! Overall, read this book if you are considering a legal career. If Harper doesn't talk you out of it, give me a call. I'll talk you out of it for sure.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erik Lee

    This book is a must-have for those related to the legal industry (prospective all students, current law students, seasoned attorneys). Steven J. Harper is no amateur in all things legal. A former partner of one of the top firms in the nation, Kirkland & Ellis, Harper has done a great service to the legal profession by penning this volume. While much of the advice flowing from the ever-transient blogosphere is laden with cynicism, Harper's prognosis plaguing the industry is firmly grounded in tho This book is a must-have for those related to the legal industry (prospective all students, current law students, seasoned attorneys). Steven J. Harper is no amateur in all things legal. A former partner of one of the top firms in the nation, Kirkland & Ellis, Harper has done a great service to the legal profession by penning this volume. While much of the advice flowing from the ever-transient blogosphere is laden with cynicism, Harper's prognosis plaguing the industry is firmly grounded in thorough research. Harper attacks the question, "why the profession is in jeopardy," by naming two main culprits--law schools and big law firms (hereafter, BigLaw). Simply put, the same number-driven, short-termism ethos that drive successful business plans have been applied, with deleterious aftereffects, to the law schools and BigLaw. In other words, when the deans of law schools began to operate their institutions based on how to improve their rankings on USNWR lists, any semblance of integrity and honesty went out the window. In similar fashion, those in charge of running BigLaw have fallen victim to their rankings on the American Lawyer and other similar lists, and have gone on to destroy previous firm culture that could not be measured. In short, Harper manages to find a thread that runs across both the BigLaw and their feeder institutions, law schools: tyrannical pragmatism. Obeying the tenants of the most bare-bones business methods, both spheres of the legal profession have adopted a practice of purging what cannot be measured. For example, the BigLaw was not always known for its draconian billing policies, outrageous leverage ratios, and two-tiered partnership systems that prevent many associates from ever becoming equity partners. In the past, the firm culture was able to carry on the traditional merits of the legal profession without the concern of its place in a publicly accessible rankings. With metric-focused leaders in both law firms and law schools, both institutions have poisoned the industry in the same manner that short-term profit approach left the financial industry in deep distress. I found the book extremely helpful to see the "intergenerational tensions" between young attorneys and older partners that has been generated by a gradual acceptance of a business model that has hitherto not been appropriate for law firms. Unlike many advices given from the anonymous sources online, Harper sees hope in the future of the legal industry. When undergraduate know what they are getting into, when applying for law schools, Harper wishes them to see how some of the firms boasting of their attorney satisfaction today systematically ignore the metrics imposed on them to make the rankings. Happiness, Harper suggests, must be the guiding principle that directs both the law schools and firms, not the short-sighted financial rewards that has made the profession what it is today. I found the book's tone very similar to that of Greg Smith's "Why I Left Goldman Sachs." Smith, too, reveals the decline of the banking industry as it moved from client-focused, culture-oriented team of advisers, to a money-thirsty, short-term minded collection of individuals competing for a bigger piece of the poisonous pie. There is a future in law. But there is much work to be done to clear up the mess.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    good read since I always wanted to be a lawyer. draws clarity to our financial and educational system defects and how it has affected a whole profession. touches on corporate firms, student loans and brings to light what is actually behind the hype of a legal career. should be a must read for anyone thinking about a legal career.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kate McGuinness

    Steve Harper's analytic skills demonstrate what a fantastic attorney he must have been when he practiced law. A sobering, thoughtful approach. A must read for anyone considering law school.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wendelle

    A salient read. This book is emphatically not another extended doom-and-gloom editorial on the attorney glut in the US that would disparage naive law school students. Rather it is a careful, sympathetic study by a well-recognized lawyer on the status of his profession. The author loves his job and recognizes that the perks his position provides-- the chance at noble work and financial stability-- drive many students to devote the trajectory of their life to law. He identifies two structural caus A salient read. This book is emphatically not another extended doom-and-gloom editorial on the attorney glut in the US that would disparage naive law school students. Rather it is a careful, sympathetic study by a well-recognized lawyer on the status of his profession. The author loves his job and recognizes that the perks his position provides-- the chance at noble work and financial stability-- drive many students to devote the trajectory of their life to law. He identifies two structural causes that have driven attorneys to become statistically one of the most despairing and stressful professions: law schools and big law firms. As he explains, law schools in the United States have structurally geared themselves toward profit and have increased both acceptance percentages and crippling tuition even as the rate of student loans stagger and placement rates after graduation sink. The following quotation from the book is revealing of the situation: "Summarizing that industry’s attitude, a business consultant described his thoughts in 2011 as he watched Occupy protesters at New York University wearing T-shirts with the amounts of their student debt scribbled across the front: “I couldn’t believe the accumulated wealth they represent—for our industry. It was lip-smacking.” His article included a picture of some students in their T-shirts, including one with “the fine sum of $90,000” and another with “a really attractive $120,000.” Another consultant suggested that student loans might be the accounts receivable industry’s “new oil well.” Something is terribly amiss in a society where policies and incentive structures make debt collection a growth business." The author places similar culpability on big law firms that have radically rerouted their mission around the for-profit model. Big law firms are high-earning places where law students increasingly redirect their career compass due to both prestige and the student loan situation. However, these firms have become pyramid schemes with associate lawyers at the base and equity partners owning firm shares at the top. Equity partners easily earn millions from bonuses on top of base pay and establish themselves among the cohort of America's 1%. Associate partners and nonequity partners become secondary characters in the firm, driven to take cases they would not prefer, to fulfill big firm conditions on billable hours. Furthermore, they are the first people to be let go during times of recession, not because the firm cannot support their employment but because the alternative is to threaten the equity partners' bonuses and pay, and that would not be acceptable. It is a sober look at a profession that like so many others seems to become subjected to an artificial Red Queen model of survival, where one has to run twice as fast just to keep up, or perhaps never even. The author is firmly on the side of the students who have been blindsided regarding the realities of the profession. This is a profession that, despite pretensions to sophistry, has always had chances to rise to the spirit of nobility toward fellow men: One lawyer profiled in the book who was lucky enough to escape financial pressures and thus become a public defender was informed by his client: In all his years in and out of 'the joint', his defender had been the first person to speak to him like a human being.

  8. 5 out of 5

    R.G. Widagdo

    Title : 4/5 Cover : 3/5 Opening : 3/5 Content : 4/5 Languages : 3/5 Closing : 3/5 Blurb : 2/5 Recommendation : 4/5 Total : 3/5

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marklutherlawoffice

    The book was written in 2013 so it's a little outdated-but still interesting to read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    David

    Some of this is just the same as big business (guess what: the corporation (or large law firm) is more concerned with your making them a lot of money than with your having a fun, balanced life) or universities (it's cheaper to pay adjuncts to teach; long-time faculty are more familiar with legal theory than with practical skills needed to negotiate a settlement, etc.), but some is lawyer-specific (e.g., the perverse incentives built in to getting paid by the "billable hour"). Aspects of the bubbl Some of this is just the same as big business (guess what: the corporation (or large law firm) is more concerned with your making them a lot of money than with your having a fun, balanced life) or universities (it's cheaper to pay adjuncts to teach; long-time faculty are more familiar with legal theory than with practical skills needed to negotiate a settlement, etc.), but some is lawyer-specific (e.g., the perverse incentives built in to getting paid by the "billable hour"). Aspects of the bubble he describes seem likely to affect everyone. If you bill your time at 1,000/hour, a recession will cut down on how many can afford you, thus making you less effective as a rainmaker, thus causing your firm to pay lower partner bonuses, leading to "stars" abandoning the ship, which hurts the firm, which hurts the underlings etc. etc. The part about too many students going to law school in the first place and then finding, after running up ruinously high student loan debt, that they can't land a great job anyhow, may be self-correcting, though. One of the stats he keeps coming back to was that only 55% (in 2010) had a full-time, permanent job requiring a law degree 9 months after graduation. [As a side note, the pathetic system-gaming of the law schools concerned about their USNW&R ranking would be funny if it were a board game and not real people's lives -- ex: hiring one's own alums for short-term gigs right before the 9-month-after-graduation snapshot to inflate stats]. This news seems to be filtering back to undergraduates. The National Jurist (Oct. 2013 issue) reported that law school enrollment is down by 1/3 just since 2010. 112K students took the LSAT last year, compared to 171K 3 years earlier. So whether or not all the author's suggestions for how firms might alter their productivity measurements and treat colleagues more humanely are realistic, students are voting with their feet, and it seems as though that will force change eventually on the schools and after them the law firms. Hope so, anyway. This book paints a grim picture of what life would be like as a lawyer.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Moral of the story: Let's be better people, and better stewards of the profession. Well researched and well reasoned, this book certainly paints a bleak portrait of the legal profession today. I found myself drawing a number of interesting counterpoints between the practice of law in the military and that in the civilian world. Counterpoints I would love to write more about if I ever find the time (which, if I'm being honest, is rather unlikely). I can't speak to the accuracy of statements about l Moral of the story: Let's be better people, and better stewards of the profession. Well researched and well reasoned, this book certainly paints a bleak portrait of the legal profession today. I found myself drawing a number of interesting counterpoints between the practice of law in the military and that in the civilian world. Counterpoints I would love to write more about if I ever find the time (which, if I'm being honest, is rather unlikely). I can't speak to the accuracy of statements about life in big law firms and the junior associate "rat race." I found the portions of the book devoted to those topics informative, if rather negative, but so far outside my own experience as a military and public-interest attorney as to have very little fodder to point me toward useful action. The sections on law school admissions were much more relateable to me, as someone who will be paying off law school pretty much in perpetuity. While I have never once experienced regret toward my decision to attend law school, many of the statistics cited in the book were surprising and sad. The clambering for rankings, and for the revenue generated by the students drawn in by such rankings, is disturbing at the least. The prisoner's dilemma presented to law schools and universities wishing to break out of that cycle is frustrating, but not insurmountable. Ultimately, this book was about the creeping pandemic effect greed and pretension can cause (and in some cases has caused) within the profession. It should be a wake up call to students considering law school, to deans and faculty at law schools and universities, and to those in a position to make a change in the greater practice (which is really just about everyone from one angle or another).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Simmons

    A rather depressing read about (in this author's view) the fall from grace of a once-noble profession. Harper spends the biggest (and best) part of his book identifying the challenges facing the American law school system and big law firms. Chapter Two, about the nefarious influence of U.S. News & World Report rankings, makes for eye-opening reading even for a reader like me who was already critical of such rankings. Harper's closing section on potential solutions is a bit of a jumble: a retread A rather depressing read about (in this author's view) the fall from grace of a once-noble profession. Harper spends the biggest (and best) part of his book identifying the challenges facing the American law school system and big law firms. Chapter Two, about the nefarious influence of U.S. News & World Report rankings, makes for eye-opening reading even for a reader like me who was already critical of such rankings. Harper's closing section on potential solutions is a bit of a jumble: a retread of points he already made earlier and some fairly unrealistic hopes that the profession will come to its senses and carve out a better, brighter future. He presents, briefly, one law firm as a potential role model for others -- I would have liked to read more from him about Munger Tolles & Olson and less about cautionary tales such as Dewey & LaBoeuf (the fall of which has been documented better elsewhere).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Don

    unrestrained self-interest, what created can fix, ease of fed loans closest thing to a debtor prison, 195+ schools 44k/year grads 1m 750k working, false rankings UI Villanova others 15% hired own grads to boost rank, 57% satisfied at work 26% bartenders 87% preachers, 3.5 times depressed as regular workforce, large firm mergers in denial on failure of mismanagement, too easy for loans 3rd year restructure revise billable hours to discourage 2200+ hours more flat fees change tenure as overpaid pr unrestrained self-interest, what created can fix, ease of fed loans closest thing to a debtor prison, 195+ schools 44k/year grads 1m 750k working, false rankings UI Villanova others 15% hired own grads to boost rank, 57% satisfied at work 26% bartenders 87% preachers, 3.5 times depressed as regular workforce, large firm mergers in denial on failure of mismanagement, too easy for loans 3rd year restructure revise billable hours to discourage 2200+ hours more flat fees change tenure as overpaid profs schools need to be responsible for loans, preference for less than 2k billable, outside board mandatory retirement no equity partner, poor leadership and to act as owner, new lawyers can change, if measure wrong thing do wrong thing, understand who you are what you enjoy build firm then clients book Flourish on happiness and well-being, better choices can fix.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is a must-read for anyone contemplating a career in law. Harper critiques the law school admission process and US News & World Report-type ratings, examines the demise of several high profile law firms, and discusses reasons why there is little to no cultural identity in large law firms today. In sum, he paints a pretty grim picture. He does offer solutions, but many of them are unlikely to be adopted large scale (e.g. eliminate billable hours and non-equity partners). At the very least, th This is a must-read for anyone contemplating a career in law. Harper critiques the law school admission process and US News & World Report-type ratings, examines the demise of several high profile law firms, and discusses reasons why there is little to no cultural identity in large law firms today. In sum, he paints a pretty grim picture. He does offer solutions, but many of them are unlikely to be adopted large scale (e.g. eliminate billable hours and non-equity partners). At the very least, though, this is an excellent source for the potential law student to perhaps temper expectations and possibly even steer them into other types of law (e.g. public service) that reap lower salaries but overall have a better quality of life.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sklape

    For anyone who is considering law school or has a friend or family member considering a career in law, this is must read. I plan to have my students who think they want a career in law read this book. Law schools have become cash cows for universities promising big salaries for graduates. Yet, they know that 50% of law school graduates will not be able to find jobs that require a legal educaton. Harper wrote an opionion piece called "The Tyranny of the Billiable Hour" for the NYTimes which he ex For anyone who is considering law school or has a friend or family member considering a career in law, this is must read. I plan to have my students who think they want a career in law read this book. Law schools have become cash cows for universities promising big salaries for graduates. Yet, they know that 50% of law school graduates will not be able to find jobs that require a legal educaton. Harper wrote an opionion piece called "The Tyranny of the Billiable Hour" for the NYTimes which he expands upon in his book. The legal profession is in crisis and in need of a massive overhaul.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Wow, Big Law Firms, Wow. Just wow. Apparently they were as prone, probably moreso, to the crazy arrogance that effected the rest of big business in the last decade. Not really all that eye opening, as I've read bits and pieces of this story on the legal blogosphere over the last few years, but putting it all together as one cohesive thesis was an interesting read. Plus, the author is clearly fond of what prestigious law firms used to be, could have been, rather than the fixation on annual per pa Wow, Big Law Firms, Wow. Just wow. Apparently they were as prone, probably moreso, to the crazy arrogance that effected the rest of big business in the last decade. Not really all that eye opening, as I've read bits and pieces of this story on the legal blogosphere over the last few years, but putting it all together as one cohesive thesis was an interesting read. Plus, the author is clearly fond of what prestigious law firms used to be, could have been, rather than the fixation on annual per partner profits that they've become. I'd say this is a must read for any law student or want-to-be law student.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Whew. Glad I graduated from law school 20+ years ago and am ahead of this atrocious bubble. I graduated with de minimis law school loans, the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings was in its infancy, and tried out the life of an associate at a big firm in NYC for a few years but knew even back then that it wasn't a long-term career choice. And now, I just don't know what prospective or current law school students are thinking when they enroll in a school that will leave them with a MOUNTA Whew. Glad I graduated from law school 20+ years ago and am ahead of this atrocious bubble. I graduated with de minimis law school loans, the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings was in its infancy, and tried out the life of an associate at a big firm in NYC for a few years but knew even back then that it wasn't a long-term career choice. And now, I just don't know what prospective or current law school students are thinking when they enroll in a school that will leave them with a MOUNTAIN of debt and think that it won't be the worst ball and chain that will follow them around for the REST OF THEIR LIVES. Pay as you go or just don't go at all.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    A eye opening (and maybe too eye-opening, even) novel that describes the downfall and the flaws within the legal profession. Harper does a great job dissecting and following issues caused by the law schools to the issues created by large law firms, including Dewey & LaBeof that led to their eventual bankruptcy. He not only deconstructs and pinpoints the sources of the lawyer bubble, but goes a step further in suggesting any potential reforms that could be undertaken by all parties (prospective l A eye opening (and maybe too eye-opening, even) novel that describes the downfall and the flaws within the legal profession. Harper does a great job dissecting and following issues caused by the law schools to the issues created by large law firms, including Dewey & LaBeof that led to their eventual bankruptcy. He not only deconstructs and pinpoints the sources of the lawyer bubble, but goes a step further in suggesting any potential reforms that could be undertaken by all parties (prospective law students included) to inflate it. Great read, thoroughly researched.

  19. 4 out of 5

    V

    Insightful, candid, and action-oriented. It stays true to its promise to focus on law schools and big firms. I would have loved an additional focus, however, on the public interest, government and so called JD advantage realms - understanding Mr. Harper presented much here already. I how he ended the book with a focus on the decision for peeps to go to law school as well as his take on the power of information. I recommend you read this. V

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ro_runner

    If you've been involved with the legal profession in any capacity in the last 15 years or so, none of this will be new to you. All of the information seems to come from sources like the American Lawyer and interviews with a few law school professors. I was hoping for at least a tidbit if new information or snarky entertainment,but I didn't find it here. Will the lawyer bubble change any time soon? Will anyone take the advice of this author? I doubt it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    First half of book (law schools) dull, repetitive, written like a lawyer would, way too many numbers and stats used to back up arguments, which aren't adequately put in context with other industries. Really pointless, especially from a UK point of view. Second half of book (big law) fascinating, excellent and much less repetitive. Worth reading for second half if you're a lawyer, and for first half I guess if you're considering law as a career.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jim Wilson

    Nice concise overview of what one lawyer thinks of the world of big law firms. A member of both that world and academia, the author points out clearly how the practice of law has changed in the last thirty years. Should be subtitled "A Segment of A Profession in Crisis" since it deals only with a small but significant portion of the world of lawyers. Quick read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hani Omar

    Campos, Tamanaha, et al. have nipped away at the margins of the issue through their various online efforts, but Harper brings all of these arguments together in one searing indictment of the legal profession, its gatekeepers, and its self-anointed arbiters at US News and AmLaw. Quite simply, if you haven't read this book you understand neither the scope nor the depth of the problem.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ken Hamner

    Interesting book revealing many flaws in the evaluation criteria for law school rankings, their manipulation and effect. It also discusses some of the trends affecting the industry, mostly at the large law firm level. Overall the book was good, although the recommendations of the book were a bit simplistic and naive.

  25. 4 out of 5

    SA

    I am not a lawyer, will never be a lawyer, but am surrounded by lawyers. I want to put this book in the hands of every graduating senior in a humanities course at university. Harper is brave and bold in writing this.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Charles M.

    Law professor tells what he thinks is wrong with legal profession; from a large firm standpoint...too high fees, billable hours system, etc. There is definitely a lawyer bubble, but law schools (such as the one the author teaches at) is feeding into the problem.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Cohen

    This was okay. It said a lot of the things that I already knew and it was way too focused on Big Law. One thing that it was definitely right about is that I had blinders up when I went to law school and would not listen to anybody telling me not to go.

  28. 4 out of 5

    allison

    A must-read for anyone considering law school, law students, and every law graduate (ever!). It should be required reading.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    This book affirmed many of the beliefs I had about why the legal field is so over-saturated. It was an interesting read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mikaela

    Probably spot on, but not an encouraging read as a 2L about to go through OCI. Provides some realistic and necessary suggestions for improving the current state of the legal profession.

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