'All Lawyers are Somewhat Suspect': Adolf A. Berle and the Modern Legal Profession

23 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2019 Last revised: 2 Aug 2019

See all articles by Harwell Wells

Harwell Wells

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Date Written: June 25, 2019

Abstract

Adolf A. Berle was perhaps the preeminent scholar of the modern corporation. He was also an occasional scholar of the modern legal profession. This article surveys his writings on the legal profession from the 1930s to the 1960s, from the sharp criticisms he leveled at lawyers, particularly corporate lawyers, during the Great Depression, to his sunnier account of the lawyer’s role in the postwar era. I argue that Berle’s views were shaped both by the reformist tradition he inherited from Louis Brandeis and his writings on the corporation, which left him convinced that the fate of the legal profession would be determined by that of the modern corporation.

Keywords: Berle, Corporate Law, Law Firm, Legal Profession, Legal History

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Wells, Harwell, 'All Lawyers are Somewhat Suspect': Adolf A. Berle and the Modern Legal Profession (June 25, 2019). 42 Seattle University Law Review 641 (2019), Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3409852

Harwell Wells (Contact Author)

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

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Philadelphia, PA 19122
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