Friday, January 3, 2014

The Best Book On The Legal Profession

Many books make a difference to the reader. In the short-term, it might entertain and provide a needed diversion from the realities of life. In the long-term, it might inform, enlighten or inspire one to transform his or her life in a meaningful way. I recently received a book that represents reflection, insight, and reform in regards to the legal profession. It is such a well-written book that really gets to the heart of an industry in need of help.

Sheldon Krantz, author of The Legal Profession: What Is Wrong and How to Fix It (Lexis Nexis, December) gets to the heart of the matter when he writes:

“The public has always had a love-hate relationship with lawyers. The complaints about us have not changed much over the years: there are too many of us. We are too expensive. We make matters more complicated than they need to be. We are too contentious. Our interpersonal skills are lacking because of weaknesses in our training. And we are not very good at creative and constructive problem solving. Perhaps the most damning indictment against the legal profession is that it has become greedy and self-focused and largely ignores serving those in need who do not have the money to hire us.”

Krantz knows what he’s talking about.

He’s seen the legal profession from every angle over an illustrious career spanning a half-century. He has served as a federal prosecutor, law professor, dean of the University of S.D Law School, and a partner at one of the world’s largest law firms for almost 20 years. His wife is a former Assistant Attorney General in the Clinton and Obama Administrations.

Some of the key problems and innovative solutions identified by Krantz surround one’s access to justice, changes at law firms, and new roles for law schools. Amongst his proposals, he advocates for:

·         Removing restrictions that preclude non-lawyers from helping to address unmet legal services needs.
·         Establishing mandatory pro bono requirements for all lawyers.
·         Providing reduced fee and expanded pre-paid legal insurance options for persons with limited means.
·         Increasing the profession’s commitment to provide useful information to those who represent themselves in legal matters.
·         Offering incentives, comparable to those available to doctors, for recent law graduates to become “community lawyers” in rural and smaller economies.

He uses 132 pages to share astute observations on his beloved profession and provides an agenda to revamp the legal profession. Well done!

Excerpt, Foreword by Patricia Wald, Chief Judge of US Court of Appeals DC Circuit (retired) and Esther Lardent, President, Pro Bono Institute:

“The short-comings and looming crisis confronting the legal profession are now familiar topics, spawning a cascade of books and articles on the current literary scene. Commentators -- academic and popular -- opine freely on the failings of law schools to provide practical training for their overcharged students, record levels of attorney dissatisfaction with long hours and thin job satisfaction, a fluctuating market that results in no jobs for large numbers of law school graduates, and a profession that speaks of its noble aspirations but fails dismally to provide for the essential legal needs of a majority of poor and middle class citizens.”

Did you know?
·         New York has the most lawyers in the country -- with 161,000 (as of July 2011, ABA Journal). The second-largest state, by population, Texas, has fewer than half that many lawyers- 78,844. California, a state with almost twice the population of New York, has 157,388 lawyers. Eighteen states have fewer than 10,000 lawyers each
·         55% of lawyers are men; 45% are women. (National Association of Law Placement, 2012).
·         There are more than 1.2 million lawyers in the U.S -- more lawyers per capita than any other nation. That’s one lawyer for every 313 Americans.
·         94% of all law partners are white and 87% of all lawyers are white.
·         It is estimated that 360,000 new lawyers will graduate in the next decade -- but only 73,000 jobs will be created in the legal profession during that time.


Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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