Nothing New Under the Sun: How the Legal Profession's Twenty-First Century Challenges Resemble Those of the Turn of the Twentieth Century

23 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2013 Last revised: 24 May 2014

Russell G. Pearce

Fordham University School of Law

Pam Jenoff

Rutgers Law School

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Drawing upon Julius Henry Cohen’s classic 1916 work, 'The Law: Business or Profession?', this Essay explains that the challenges facing the legal profession today are not new and that in current debates lawyers, judges, and law professors too often rely on inaccurate assumptions regarding the history of the legal profession. In particular, this Essay identifies five crises facing the legal profession today that parallel challenges at the turn of the Twentieth Century: (1) determining whether law is a business or a profession; (2) debating whether lawyers have responsibility for civic and business leadership; (3) considering whether lawyers should have control of the market for legal services; (4) promoting reform of legal education; and (5) managing increased diversity. The Essay argues that placing these crises in historical context reveals that the legal profession’s responses to these dilemmas have varied over time, suggests that today’s status quo is neither traditional nor inevitable, and seeks to create space for rethinking assumptions that underpin our current debates.

Suggested Citation

Pearce, Russell G. and Jenoff, Pam, Nothing New Under the Sun: How the Legal Profession's Twenty-First Century Challenges Resemble Those of the Turn of the Twentieth Century (2012). Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 40, pp. 481-502, 2012 (published 2013); Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2320558. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2320558

Russell G. Pearce (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
212-636-6834 (Phone)
212-636-6899 (Fax)

Pam Jenoff

Rutgers Law School ( email )

NJ
United States
8562256318 (Phone)

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