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The Leftward Drift of the Legal Profession is Cause for Concern

The Leftward Drift of the Legal Profession is Cause for Concern

“lawyers are no longer primarily the allies of commercial classes, as they were in the early republic, but instead the technocrats and enablers of regulation and redistribution”

Anyone who saw what happened at Yale recently, where a mob of law students shouted down a free speech event, knows something has shifted.

John O. McGinnis writes in City Journal:

Lawyers for Radical Change

The transformation of the legal profession marks a fundamental change in American democracy. In the republic’s early days, lawyers provided ballast for stability and served as an anchor against excessive populism. The judiciary’s sober attachment to formal order was a primary reason for giving it the power to review the constitutionality of legislation. Law was the profession most likely to preserve the enduring framework of republican government against the mutable passions of the hour.

Nowadays, lawyers are a force for often-radical progressive change. Nothing symbolizes that shift better than the American Bar Association. Once an embodiment of conservatism, it has been captured by the Left. Its resolutions at its annual meeting constitute a wish list of Democratic Party proposals. It also deploys its influence in the accreditation process of law schools to make them even more monolithically left-wing than they already are.

The reasons for the shift lie, at least in part, in the reorientation of lawyers’ interests. Since the birth of the modern regulatory state, lawyers are no longer primarily the allies of commercial classes, as they were in the early republic, but instead the technocrats and enablers of regulation and redistribution. The more the nation intervenes in economic affairs to regulate and redistribute, the greater slice of compliance costs and transfer payments lawyers can expect to receive.

Thus, they cannot be counted on as supporters of property rights or even of a stable rule of law. Their interest lies frequently in dynamic forms of legal transformation and the uncertainty they bring. Far from supporting a sound, established social order, they are likely to seek to undermine it. Only an ideological attachment to older forms of legal orders, like that which Federalist Society members manifest, can call lawyers back to the essential role they play in the civic life of our republic.

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Comments

Old Soldier | May 17, 2022 at 10:34 am

The ABA does not speak for me nor has it ever.

If the legal profession drifts any further to the left, they will:

A. Fall off the edge of the legal world
B. Go full circle and appear on the right
C. Use legal mumbo jumbo to claim jure divino

“Why, may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillities, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? Why does he suffer this mad knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery? Hum! This fellow might be in’s time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries: is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt? Will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will scarcely lie in this box; and must the inheritor himself have no more, ha?”
(Hamlet)

livefreeorpie1791 | May 19, 2022 at 7:42 am

Yale represents naught, but those who attend Yale. This article is a bit of a hasty generalization. As a lawyer, I’ve seen that folks in my profession have always been on the more Marxier side of things, but still it is also full of an assortment of attitudes. You cannot say with absolute certainty that lawyers who graduated from a school in Georgia have the same outlook as those from Yale. Notably, recent polls are indicating a shift of political attitudes in I-gen as the are more likely to side with the cause of freedom.

livefreeorpie1791 | May 19, 2022 at 7:43 am

Yale represents naught, but those who attend Yale. As a lawyer, I’ve seen that folks in my profession have always been on the more Marxier side of things, but still it is also full of an assortment of attitudes. You cannot say with absolute certainty that lawyers who graduated from a school in Georgia have the same outlook as those from Yale. Notably, recent polls are indicating a shift of political attitudes in I-gen as the are more likely to side with the cause of freedom.

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