LEGAL ETHICS & PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY eJOURNAL

"From Emancipation to Assimilation: Is Secular Liberalism Still Good for Jewish Lawyers?" Free Download
From Emancipation to Assimilation: Is Secular Liberalism Still Good for Jewish Lawyers?, in Jews and the Law (Ari Mermelstein, Victoria Saker Woeste, Ethan Zaidoff & Marc Galanter, eds. 2014)
Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2535385

RUSSELL G. PEARCE, Fordham University School of Law
Email:
ADAM WINER, McGill University
Email:

Jewish lawyers played a central role in the development of secular liberal jurisprudence, with its commitment to equal treatment of individuals, including the legal campaigns for civil rights and for separation of church and state. Secular liberalism similarly provided the impetus for ending widespread discrimination against Jewish lawyers in the legal elite. Today, however, during the crisis of professionalism, secular liberalism’s focus on privatizing identity in order to maximize individual freedom deprives Jewish lawyers of resources that could help construct a meaningful professional identity. Similarly, secular liberalism provides ambiguous guidance in battling the most significant remaining discrimination against Jews – discrimination against Orthodox Jews.

This chapter suggests that Jewish lawyers consider integrating their religious commitments into their professional role, an approach consistent with a wide range of Jewish theological perspectives, from Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative, to Orthodox. This grounding would provide a strong foundation for meaningful Jewish identify as a lawyer committed to equal justice under law and the public good.

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Advisory Board

Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility eJournal

STEPHEN GILLERS
Vice Dean and Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

DAVID J. LUBAN
Georgetown University Law Center

RONALD DANIEL ROTUNDA
Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

WILLIAM H. SIMON
Arthur Levitt Professor of Law, Columbia University - Law School, William W. and Gertrude H. Saunders Professor of Law, Stanford University - Stanford Law School

DAVID B. WILKINS
Harvard Law School - Program on the Legal Profession

CHARLES W. WOLFRAM
Charles Frank Reavis Sr. Professor Emeritus, Cornell Law School