Professional Identity as Advocacy
Mississippi College Law Review, Vol. 7, 2012, pp. 7-41
35 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2013 Last revised: 17 Oct 2013
Date Written: 2012
The legal profession adheres to a story of a unified profession. Nevertheless, the profession has distinct professional sub-groups which repeatedly represent clients with interests adverse to those represented by attorneys who identify with other sub-groups. The idea of "professional identity as advocacy" describes how such professional sub-groups accuse opposing subgroups of greed, self-aggrandizement, or worse. This is most notable in two areas: personal injury litigation and criminal cases. This process has two seemingly contradictory consequences. First, it renders narrow areas extraordinarily visible, thus defining popular discourse and conceptions about lawyers and law. Second, it masks vast areas of litigation and law that have a fundamental impact on social justice yet do not generate the "profile" triggered where professional identity as advocacy is at its most intense. This Article explores the nature and consequences of professional identity as advocacy and examines the degree to which this dynamic can or should change.
Keywords: practice of law, personal injury litigation, criminal cases, legal subgroups, advocacy, professional identity, popular image, attorneys, lawyers, public image, greed, self-aggrandizement, legal profession
JEL Classification: L89, K19, K39, K40, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation