Recovering the Lost Lawyer

ABA Journal of the Professional Lawyer 1, 2014

16 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2014

Date Written: July 14, 2013


Writing 20 years ago, Anthony T. Kronman saw law schools, law firms, and courts losing sight of the lawyer-statesman ideal, a professional ideal that encompasses not only a lawyer’s legal knowledge, but also his practical wisdom: the capacity to suspend one’s world-view and truly to understand another’s perspective, to deliberate in a manner that is informed by this understanding while integrating it its broader social context, and to form and be inclined to act in accordance with sound judgments. Like the professional ideal of the lawyer as an officer of the court, the lawyer-statesman ideal recognizes the lawyer’s commitment to public service as an inherent feature of his professionalism. Kronman regretted the loss of the lawyer-statesman ideal, because lawyers’ striving to embody this ideal elevated the profession.

I analyze the core values of the lawyer’s professional identity in terms of the lawyer-statesman and the officer of the court, and compare them with social psychological assessments of the core values instilled by feminine socialization. I find that retaining women in the legal profession by accommodating the social roles of both men and women lawyers beyond the workplace would promote a professional culture that allows lawyers to recover both their personal lives and their traditional ideals of professional excellence. Efforts to allow both men and women to participate meaningfully in the domestic sphere, and both senior citizens and young adults to contribute to the workforce, not only promote each person’s well being and ability to engage in the community, but also advance each person’s development through a broader range of experiences and opportunities to attain the practical wisdom that is at the heart of the lawyer-statesman ideal. Policies that allow both men and women to participate fully at home, in their communities, and in their work do more than promote individual health and development: they offer real hope of restoring the dignity and stature of the legal profession.

Keywords: legal profession, professional identity, women, lawyer-statesman, officer of the court, professionalism

Suggested Citation

Freeland, Deborah, Recovering the Lost Lawyer (July 14, 2013). ABA Journal of the Professional Lawyer 1, 2014. Available at SSRN:

Deborah Freeland (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

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