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The Lawyer's MythReviving Ideals in the Legal Profession$
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Walter Bennett

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226042558

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226042565.001.0001

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The Profession and the Loss of Professional Mythology

The Profession and the Loss of Professional Mythology

Chapter:
(p.28) 3 The Profession and the Loss of Professional Mythology
Source:
The Lawyer's Myth
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226042565.003.0004

The ideal of the lawyer-statesman was a logical extrapolation of the role of the lawyer-professional in the republican society conceived by the founding fathers after the American Revolution. Republicanism embraced the notion of public virtue—which was the capacity of people in a representative government to strike a balance between private interest and public duty that protected the common good. Lawyers, because of the nature of their work and skills, were eminently placed to function as a highly trained and principled elite whose primary role was to serve as protectors of public virtue. Lawyers, because of the nature of their work and skills, were eminently placed to function as a highly trained and principled elite whose primary role was to serve as protectors of public virtue. Republicans believed that the forces of greed and self-interest in a market-driven society would naturally undermine any higher tendency toward civic virtue and the common good. Lawyers were engaged in work that was almost certain to offend people. They contended with others; they tried to thwart and defeat the interests of others; they spoke publicly against their opponents; they represented people and interests who were often anathemas to other people and sometimes to the population as a whole.

Keywords:   lawyer-professional, Republicanism, American Revolution, lawyers, market driven

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