Book Review: Lawyers in the Dock
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 59, No. 311, 2009
U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-26
In his new book, Lawyers in the Dock, Richard Abel, a prominent legal profession scholar, has produced a must-read. The book includes six detailed case studies of attorney deviance and explores the attorneys’ backgrounds, career paths, misconduct, and disciplinary records. Through its rich, contextual accounts, the book makes two significant contributions. First, pedagogically, it moves beyond the traditional approach to teaching legal ethics (and indeed to teaching law generally), which typically relies on case excerpts, statutory provisions (in this case, the Model Rules of Professional Conduct), and short hypotheticals, and instead develops a revealing narrative in which students (and practitioners) can better comprehend lawyers’ misconduct. Second, substantively, by situating wrongdoing in context, the case studies enhance our understanding of the reasons for, and the manifestations of, lawyers’ deviance. Lawyers in the Dock also attempts, provocatively - and yet less successfully - to extract from its case studies a normative claim, namely, that lawyers betray trust. This book review summarizes the book’s case studies, analyzes its pedagogical, descriptive and prescriptive insights, and constructively criticizes its normative assertions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Date posted: October 15, 2009
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