Chapter

The Profession and the Loss of Professional Mythology

in The Lawyer's Myth

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780226042558
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226042565 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226042565.003.0004
The Profession and the Loss of Professional Mythology

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The ideal of the lawyer-statesman was a logical extrapolation of the role of the lawyer-professional in the republican society conceived by the founding fathers after the American Revolution. Republicanism embraced the notion of public virtue—which was the capacity of people in a representative government to strike a balance between private interest and public duty that protected the common good. Lawyers, because of the nature of their work and skills, were eminently placed to function as a highly trained and principled elite whose primary role was to serve as protectors of public virtue. Lawyers, because of the nature of their work and skills, were eminently placed to function as a highly trained and principled elite whose primary role was to serve as protectors of public virtue. Republicans believed that the forces of greed and self-interest in a market-driven society would naturally undermine any higher tendency toward civic virtue and the common good. Lawyers were engaged in work that was almost certain to offend people. They contended with others; they tried to thwart and defeat the interests of others; they spoke publicly against their opponents; they represented people and interests who were often anathemas to other people and sometimes to the population as a whole.

Keywords: lawyer-professional; Republicanism; American Revolution; lawyers; market driven

Chapter.  10717 words. 

Subjects: Legal System and Practice

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