Divorce Lawyers at Work: Varieties of Professionalism in Practice

By Lynn Mather; Craig A. McEwen et al. | Go to book overview

NOTES

Chapter 1
1
We discovered these particular communities through our research. Communities of practice, as we discuss them, are similar to some of the sites or “arenas” of professionalism described by Nelson and Trubek (1992a). We did not know what communities we would find in our research, just as “arenas of professionalism cannot be defined a priori, but must be determined based on empirical investigation” (Nelson and Trubek 1992a: 185).
2
Indeed, as Zacharias notes, “no term in the legal lexicon has been more abused than ‘professionalism’” (1995: 1307). Even the American Bar Association's Commission on Professionalism has had to acknowledge what it calls the “elasticity” of the concept of legal professionalism (1986: 10).
3
For critics such as Johnson (1972), Larson (1977), and Abel (1988), the ideology of professionalism has simply served all along to justify and disguise the bar's monopoly over the legal marketplace. Professionals, in their view, are not virtuous, self-restrained experts serving society and monitoring the conduct of colleagues but rather members of self-interested groups using political, economic, and social power to limit competition and protect fees.

The doubts of both advocates and critics about the efficacy of professional control of lawyer conduct find reinforcement in other scholarship that raises questions about the utility of professional norms (Abel 1989); points to the increasing importance of large organizations to the practice of law (Galanter

-203-

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