Vermont Bar Journal
Summer 2007 - #1.
Kill All the Lawyers A Devastating Look at How Law School and Law Practice Do the Job
THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL SUMMER 2007
"Kill All the Lawyers" A Devastating Look at How Law School and Law Practice Do the JobReviewed by Kathryn Sarvak, Esq,.This book leads to the singular conclusion that the term "happy lawyer" is, in fact, an oxymoron. You may see yourself as the exception, but the author respectfully disagrees: you are either an unhappy lawyer secretly longing to throw off the chains of a profession holding you back from a meaningful and balanced lifestyle, or you are sadly delusional, blinded or worn down by a system designed to keep you blissfully unaware of the parasitic destruction of your true self. In this book, Litowitz examines
a nightmarish situation for young lawyers: a boring and expensive education; a crushing debt burden; a pointless but mandatory bar exam; exhausting jobs with little opportunity for partnership; shocking rates of anxiety, depression and alcoholism; all amid an atmosphere of public hatred. What gets lost in the equation is the very thing that makes law attractive in the first place--the chance to use one's intellectual ability to secure justice for a client (p. 15).
The basic premise of the book is that lawyers, particularly young lawyers, are profoundly unhappy, and that the profession, from law school through senior partnership, is the root cause. After laying the groundwork of the pressures upon young lawyers, including an anxiety-ridden education, crushing debt, and disillusionment with the reality of what it means to pursue justice, the author examines six causes of dissatisfaction. His arguments about the first cause--law school--caught me off guard because I enjoyed law school. At least, I thought I did. Now, however, I wonder how the law school experience might have skewed my opinion. Litowitz questions whether the traumatic anxiety of the Socratic method is an appropriate teaching tool; whether the case method of teaching creates a pro-litigation disposition while sacrificing practical skills; and whether the lack of political and philosophical diversity creates dispassionate graduates, destroying social conscience, and transforming "bright ambitious, young students. . . into apolitical and cynical beings [who are]...