I got an email from a senior federal judge (not from Nebraska, so no, not the robed rider), which ended with something that scares the daylights out of me.
“…a dying profession.”
Is law dying? Are lawyers part of a dying profession? If so, then why am I wasting my time and energy trying to keep it from dying?
There are objective criteria that suggests the profession is dying. Bar exam pass rates are outrageous bad. Are we only getting the dumb kids going to law school?
The bastion of the old guard, the American Bar Association, has forsaken anything to do with the practice of law in favor of becoming a shining beacon of social justice.
Academics are making dime on A2J, Access to Justice, where starving lawyers are supposed to starve some more for the sake of people who don’t want to pay for lawyers. The prawfs aren’t donating their paychecks to the Legal Aid Society.
Then there were the geniuses at #AppellateTwitter who were outraged at the notion they should put their clients ahead of their personal convenience. There were no kind word from the judiciary for them, not that they would know that the judges before whom they will argue think they’re pathetic.
There are, no doubt, judges who will share the current trend of putting sad feelings ahead of hard lawyering, who hold dear to whatever flavor of morality they find tastiest over the duty of a lawyer to represent a client. They may spout platitudes like “the client comes first,” but they believe the cause trumps all.
Is it too late? Is the profession moribund because we’ve divorced professionalism from the ticket? Are new lawyers so inadequate that they will never be capable of doing the hard work of lawyering? Is it impossible to make a decent living practicing law, to justify the three years of opportunity costs and quarter mil of tuition?
I refuse to believe we’re zombies. Am I wrong? Am I just a naive, idealistic old curmudgeon?