American Lawyers by Richard L. Abel

By Richard L. Abel

This specified portrait of yankee attorneys strains their efforts to professionalize over the past a hundred years through erecting limitations to regulate the standard and volume of entrants. Abel describes the increase and fall of restrictive practices that dampened pageant between attorneys and with outsiders. He indicates how attorneys concurrently sought to extend entry to justice whereas stimulating call for for prone, and their efforts to control themselves whereas forestalling exterior keep watch over. facts on source of revenue and standing remove darkness from the good fortune of those efforts. Charting the dramatic transformation of the career during the last 20 years, Abel records the growing to be quantity and value of legal professionals hired outdoors deepest perform (in company and govt, as judges and lecturers) and the displacement of company consumers they serve. Noting the complexity of matching ever extra various entrants with extra stratified roles, he depicts the mechanism that legislation colleges and employers have created to allocate graduates to jobs and socialize them inside their new environments. Abel concludes with severe reflections on attainable and fascinating futures for the criminal occupation.

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Art may be revealed as fakery: "laetrile" as a cancer cure, for instance. More dramatically, politicians and the public may lose faith in the ability of economists to forecast or manipulate macroeconomic trends. 29 20 AMERICAN LAWYERS Pursuing Social Closure By constructing a marketable commodity, service producers become only an occupation. To become a profession they must seek social closure. 30 Although these are inextricably linked in practice, it is analytically useful to distinguish them, dealing with market control here and collective mobility later (see "Closure as Social Mobility").

I have chosen that framework in the belief that the organization of a profession helps to illuminate its role in society. There is little debate about the importance of the subject: both official spokespersons for the profession and external critics agree that lawyers significantly influence political, economic, social, and cultural life. But anyone wishing to understand lawyers still must choose which questions to ask. This book is a sociology of the legal profession, not of lawyers' work. My focus is not dictated by the logic of explanation: the relationship between legal work and the social organization of the profession is reciprocal—one is not prior to the other.

And because the construction of community, the encouragement of altruism, self-governance, and the maintenance of ethical standards and competence 18 AMERICAN LAWYERS are not insignificant issues for professionals (even if they usually are subordinated to material survival and advancement), the dialogue between structural functional theory and its critics remains important. I try to make these theoretical frameworks more concrete, vivid, and immediate with illustrations drawn from contemporary debates and events within other American professions.

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