The Good Lawyer: Seeking Quality in the Practice of Law

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9780199360239: The Good Lawyer: Seeking Quality in the Practice of Law
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Every lawyer wants to be a good lawyer. They want to do right by their clients, contribute to the professional community, become good colleagues, interact effectively with people of all persuasions, and choose the right cases. All of these skills and behaviors are important, but they spring from hard-to-identify foundational qualities necessary for good lawyering. After focusing for three years on getting high grades and sharpening analytical skills, far too many lawyers leave law school without a real sense of what it takes to be a good lawyer.

In The Good Lawyer, a follow up to their book The Happy Lawyer, law professors Douglas O. Linder and Nancy Levit combine evidence from the latest social science research with numerous engaging accounts of able attorneys at work to explain just what makes a good lawyer. They organize the book around the qualities they see as crucial: courage, empathy, integrity, realism, a strong sense of justice, clarity of purpose, and an ability to transcend emotionalism. But as the authors point out, each one must be apportioned in the right measure, and achieving the right balance is difficult. Lawyers need to know when to empathize and also when to detach; courage without an appreciation of consequences becomes recklessness. And what do you do in tricky situations, where the urge to deceive is high? How can you maintain focus through a mind-taxing (or mind-numbing) project? Every lawyer faces these problems at some point ― they're inherent in the nature of the work-but if properly recognized and approached, they can be overcome.

It's not easy being good ― quality is less something one grasps and hangs onto than a goal that requires constant striving and attention ― but this engaging guide will serve as a handbook for any lawyer trying not only to figure out how to respond to difficult situations, but how to become a better ― meaning both more competent and more virtuous ― lawyer.

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Review:


"Full of engaging stories and well-chosen historical examples, The Good Lawyer paints a remarkable portrait of the values, visions, and virtues that lawyers should aspire to, in good times and bad. At a time of upheaval in the legal profession, this book is most welcome." --Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School


"Good lawyers are not fictional and they are not cliches. They are real people, with actual clients, meaningful law practices, and satisfying careers. The ideal may be hard to realize, but it is far from impossible. Douglas Linder and Nancy Levit have now provided us with an outstanding guide to achieving a rewarding life as a good lawyer. Every attorney, or aspiring attorney, should read this book." --Steven Lubet, Williams Memorial Professor of Law and Director, Bartlit Center for Trial Strategy, Northwestern University School of Law


"The very best lawyers, including those who fill the pages of our history books and those who quietly but effectively serve their clients every day, built their practices on much more than intellectual superiority and mastery of the law. Douglas O. Linder and Nancy Levit thoughtfully explore key characteristics that good lawyers share and, in the process, remind us why we became lawyers in the first place -- and why that matters now more than ever. The Good Lawyer is a must-read for law students and prospective law students, new lawyers, and seasoned professionals." --Karen J. Mathis, Associate Executive Director of IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, and Past President of the American Bar Association (2006-07)


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"A pleasingly eclectic approach... brisk and lively reading." --Wall Street Journal


"A joy to read... the book is rich in advice and inspiration.... there is so much of value in the book to counsel law students and lawyers as they seek to develop, and maintain, self-respect. That means, then, that the book can serve as an empathetic guide throughout our legal careers, reminding us to ground our professionalism in our definition of success. Ultimately, the book reflects the beliefs of its authors that good lawyers are real people with actual clients and careers that matter--and that we can each become a good lawyer." --Naomi Cahn, Concurring Opinions


"Full of engaging stories and well-chosen historical examples, The Good Lawyer paints a remarkable portrait of the values, visions, and virtues that lawyers should aspire to, in good times and bad. At a time of upheaval in the legal profession, this book is most welcome." --Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School


"Good lawyers are not fictional and they are not cliches. They are real people, with actual clients, meaningful law practices, and satisfying careers. The ideal may be hard to realize, but it is far from impossible. Douglas Linder and Nancy Levit have now provided us with an outstanding guide to achieving a rewarding life as a good lawyer. Every attorney, or aspiring attorney, should read this book." --Steven Lubet, Williams Memorial Professor of Law and Director, Bartlit Center for Trial Strategy, Northwestern University School of Law


"The very best lawyers, including those who fill the pages of our history books and those who quietly but effectively serve their clients every day, built their practices on much more than intellectual superiority and mastery of the law. Douglas O. Linder and Nancy Levit thoughtfully explore key characteristics that good lawyers share and, in the process, remind us why we became lawyers in the first place -- and why that matters now more than ever. The Good Lawyer is a must-read for law students and prospective law students, new lawyers, and seasoned professionals." --Karen J. Mathis, Associate Executive Director of IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, and Past President of the American Bar Association (2006-07)


"

About the Author:

Douglas O. Linder is the Elmer N. Powell Peer Professor of Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and the co-author of The Happy Lawyer. Nancy Levit, the Curators' and Edward D. Ellison Professor of Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, is the co-author of The Happy Lawyer and the author of The Gender Line: Men, Women, and the Law.

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