Levit. THE GOOD LAWYER: Seeking Quality in the Practice of Law. Oxford University Press, 2014, with an
enormous bibliography to be found in the footnotes. My exposition, commentary and critique will
be presented in eleven parts.
important sources. Other parts with concern other specific matters and they
will be organized by questions about, commentaries on, and therefore
arguments with different chapters of the book
Lawyer Values Others in the Legal Profession.”
Part XI, also relates to the good
lawyer and the profession It is entitled “Seeking Quality in a Rapidly Changing
Profession.” They are related. In case, this is a discussion of Chapter 11. This
is it, and it comes last.
chapter of THE GOOD LAWYER is a difficult one. Here are some of the admonitions:
Young lawyers should find themselves qua lawyer and
Do not try to do everything.
Billable hours are not just a bad thing; they are a
Law firms should treat different types of lawyers
differently, insofar as possible.
Law firms should try to design environments in which
creative lawyers can create, and imaginative lawyers can imagine.
Good lawyers can recognize themselves as that, even
if no one else does.
not replies to these noble and quite general principles?
A lawyer cannot find “himself” as a lawyer
without dealing with a number of pieces of lawyering. Doing that is not very easy.
Can a lawyer find him/her real self-qua lawyer, if
s/he has not found at least a good chunk of her true self?
Can all lawyers specialize? Shouldn’t some lawyers be
foxes instead of groundhogs? See Isaiah Berlin’s work for the definition. Do some lawyers really like skipping
around—having a general practice—granted that it is seldom “deep”?
Is it actually the case that all lawyers are
treated alike in big firms? Even if
that’s true, is it true in every way? Aren’t there such things as leaves of
absence, e.g., for maternity purposes? Are all associates required to do
Don’t most motions and briefs have to look alike?
Don’t many filings with governmental agencies have to fit within some rule they
Is easy to fine institutions what are not
hierarchical? Don’t profit making institutions virtually require that?
If a business is a service rendering business, they
must be a way to compute the price of the services. If that cannot be done ab initio, then other
ways must be found? If the service business is required to file detailed
reports with their purchasers as to activities, then records must be kept.
Why not use time records? If something else will do the job, why not
use it. This is especially true if the law requires the service business to
have maximal connectedness with its customers?
But isn’t that exactly what the law requires of lawyers? And rightly so?
Will a good lawyer really recognize that he is a
good lawyer if others say that he is not?
Probably not. But what if they
say nothing, but the culture is such that good performance is often rewarded by
praise and thanksgiving?
mean then? What about material rewards and the sense of having professional
be left out? The world today is permeated by cyber realities. There can easily be malpractice, not to
mention ethical violations, for any lawyer who does not know how to use
computers in all sorts of ways, can there not? Many courts do not accept anything but
electronic filings. I just received 617 pages of document production in a
relatively small case—small, that is, to everyone but my client the
plaintiff. The production came on a
disc. As an expert, the material upon which I am expected to rely on for the
preparation of my expert report is often delivered to me electronically.
Lawyers are repeatedly told to encrypt their files to preserve confidentiality.
Much correspondence is conducted by email. Briefs are written using computer
tech. Much is delivered by using PDF or Word. I do all sorts of research on Westlaw.
And on. And on. And on.
“Cyber Realities” a key to being a “good lawyer”? Do all lawyers under the age
of, say, 35 have that mastery already. Do good lawyers need to keep up with the
uses of cyber technology? And, if so, how is it to be done? What about knowing
cyber law? How much does the good lawyer
automatically need to know? Is it to be found in the law school? In the CLEs?
Should video games be invented to help in the development of strategic thinking
excellences for litigators? Transactionalists? Negotiators? The answer in all
three cases is “Yes.” Hence, aren’t lessons in gaming as important in law
school training as important as seminar-classes in the profound ethics which
goes with the kind, good lawyering the authors contemplate and advocate?
Originally posted on 09/15/2014 @ 8:56 pm