The Value of 'Thinking Like a Lawyer'

31 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2011

See all articles by Michelle M. Harner

Michelle M. Harner

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Date Written: 2011


The legal profession was hit particularly hard by the recent recession. Law firms laid off lawyers in record numbers, and law school graduates found few if any employment opportunities. Clients also started rethinking the terms of the lawyer-client relationship, at least in the larger law firm context. Some commentators suggest that these changes are indicative of things to come; that the legal profession is undergoing a long-overdue paradigm shift that will permanently change the nature of the legal profession. This Essay examines these developments through the lens of Larry Ribstein’s The Death of Big Law and Richard Susskind’s The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services. It compares and contrasts Ribstein’s and Susskind’s analyses of the profession and assesses potential lessons for lawyers, clients, and legal educators. This Essay concludes by encouraging professionals to remain open to changes that improve efficiency and client service. It also stresses the value of preserving and promoting the hallmark of being a lawyer - that is, thinking like a lawyer.

Keywords: legal profession, Larry Ribstein, Richard Susskind

Suggested Citation

Harner, Michelle M., The Value of 'Thinking Like a Lawyer' (2011). Maryland Law Review, Vol. 70, No. 2, 2011, U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-8, Available at SSRN:

Michelle M. Harner (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States
410-706-4238 (Phone)

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