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  Before drawing any conclusions, asking about motives and grinding an axe, please, note that the title of this posting does not belong to us, but is of the Bloomberg Businessweek article. In fact, the non-scientific notion that "The trouble with law is lawyers" was first suggested by Clarence Darrow, renown attorney and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union. According to the aforementioned article based on conclusions in the new book War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires by

Peter Turchin is the vice president of the Evolution Institute and professor of biology and anthropology at the University of Connecticut"

the 30 indicators he developed for tracing the destabilization of societies—the Roman Empire, Imperial China, medieval and early-modern England and France, etc. now point to "the demise of American society". One of this indicators is Lawyer Glut. It is well documented that the army of lawyers grew from 285,933 lawyers in 1960 or 627 people per 1 lawyer to 723,189 lawyers in 1988 or 339 people per 1 lawyer and in 2012 according to American Bar Association there were 1,245,205 attorneys in US or 253 people per 1 lawyer more than in any other country in the world. As professor Turchin explains in his article Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites as Our Society Frays published in Bloomberg Opinion there was a precedent in American history
From 1830 to 1860 the number of New Yorkers and Bostonians with fortunes of at least $100,000 (they would be multimillionaires today) increased fivefold. Many of these new rich (or their sons) had political ambitions. But the government, especially the presidency, Senate and Supreme Court, was dominated by the Southern elites. As many Northerners became frustrated and embittered, the Southerners also felt the pressure and became increasingly defensive.
As we all well aware this conflict eventually caused the Civil War.    
   While there are other 29 factors identified by professor Turchin that have to be present for the social calamity that brings demise of the society because of political forces fed by lawyers who pursue political ambitions instead of legal is intuitively convincing argument. However, as professor Turchin correctly noted in his blog
 As usual, when writing for popular outlets, one must sacrifice detail for readability. For those readers who are interested in exploring these issues in more detail I collected together the relevant blogs, under three headings.
So if you are interested in learning more, please, read professor's blogs from that list or at least this one Bimodal Lawyers: How Extreme Competition Breeds Extreme Inequality

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Comment Preferences

  •  This makes no sense (9+ / 0-)

    "Humankind cannot bear very much reality." - T.S. Eliot

    by fixxit on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 11:10:07 PM PST

    •  That is a reasonable conclusion. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx, Ahianne, denise b

      Check previous entries by the diarist and you may detect a theme, though, along with repeated usage of the royal "we", a short fuse (when he/she/they deign to respond), and pushing the envelope on fair usage of others' writings.

      Definitely an axe to grind, regardless of protests to the contrary, and not a terribly deep playbook.

      Inside of me are two dogs. One is mean and evil. The other is gentle and good. The two dogs fight all the time. Which dog wins? The one I feed the most.

      by bakeneko on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 01:22:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Basic problem with this argument. (10+ / 0-)

    Lawyers do what their clients ask them to do within the law or a reasonable extension of it. And you are blaming the messengers bearing the client's intentions rather than the clients who insisted they wanted X done, and are prepared to pay for it, and X is not itself illegal. I also note that there are a vast number of ordinary life matters which are now so complicated, such as tax law, and estate law, which ordinary folk acting along cannot negotiate at all. What do you propose that they do?

  •  Too many lawyers (8+ / 0-)

    leads to lawyers driving taxicabs, with debts they can never hope to pay off.

    That's why Turchin identified them as victims in his article.

  •  Sure. (19+ / 0-)

    There are too many civil rights lawyers, pursuing cases like those challenging stop and frisk, or racial profiling here in Maricopa County; too many personal injury attorneys taking the cases of families whose sons or daughters were killed in horrible jails; too many public defenders fighting for equal justice for people charged with crimes and ground up in our "justice" system; and too many prosecutors making sure victims have a chance to be heard. Definitely too many lawyers out there.

    Oh, you didn't mean these lawyers? Just some other group of "bad" lawyers, which, I'm just guessing here, YOU get to identify?

    That's the thing really: there are bad members of any group, but the value of the profession cannot be judged solely on the worst it has to offer, but by its best as well. And the best lawyers have to offer is pretty goddamn important; lawyers do some amazingly good things for our world.

    You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” --George Bernard Shaw, JFK, RFK

    by CenPhx on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 11:42:25 PM PST

  •  I am so sick of lawyer bashing (14+ / 0-)

    My wife is an attorney. She went to law school with a group of attorneys that have stuck together, even doing a yearly fishing trip down a secluded mountain river (The Catholic Hookers Society). Each and every single one of those attorneys are the finest people on this planet. And, of the other attorneys I know, I can say exactly the same, with but one possible exception.

    Chances are, if you don't like your attorney, it is often because one didn't take his/her advice in the first place.

    •  I learned a valuable lesson from a lawyer (0+ / 0-)

      I once thought a lawyer was supposed to look out for your best interests.  Not true.  A lawyer first looks out for his/her best interests, then the opposing lawyer's best interests, then your best interests, then the opposing client's best interests.
      The lawyer I hired was ignorant of labor law in a wage dispute and advise that I settle for 20% of what was owed.  I wanted to go to trial, but she pushed for a settlement.  Finally, we were offered 40% and I relented and we accepted.  The check bounced.  But the opposing lawyer made good on the check.
      All of this happened in the day before trial was to start.  I later found out that my lawyer had a vacation cruise scheduled that would have conflicted with a trial.
      And the fees they charge for (at best) mediocre service are obscene,  

      •  You had a bad attorney (6+ / 0-)

        Perhaps you didn't do your homework before you hired him. Regardless, it sounds to me like you had a malpractice claim or at the least should have reported the conflict of interest to the Bar association (something attorneys dread!).

        They do, indeed, have an obligation under the law to best represent your best interest.

        •  Too late for that, now (0+ / 0-)

          She did come highly recommended and worked for a large firm in out state's capitol.  I was prepared, I'd read the labor law and knew what was at stake.  She never did do her homework, and she left triple damages on the table.  Worse, she didn't believe me when I told her what needed to be done.
          A malpractice claim against this lawyer would have entailed hiring another lawyer.  With the experience I had with her, I decided to avoid as many lawyers as I could in the future.  It's been a good decision so far.  

        •  not a conflict of interest I think (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CenPhx, matador

          but probably still a violation of the state's bar ethics rules if they truly didn't know what they were doing in the case, because competency is an ethical requirement, and indeed in trying to settle when it wasn't in the interest of the client. The model rules also require reasonable fees and generally if the bar association finds they were unreasonable they are returned to the client, but people need to keep in mind that both legal education and legal services are expensive. Doing legal research alone adds up quickly.

          Conflict of interest rules (ABA model rules 1.7-1.10) are generally about conflicts between current, former, or prospective clients, though there are a few personal conflicts that can get in the way too.

          ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

          by James Allen on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:05:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  get a life. (4+ / 0-)

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 01:43:38 AM PST

  •  I'm guessing a messy divorce... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo, raboof, CenPhx

    wherein the spouse's attorney helped coin the diarist's pen name.

  •  WTF? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Twenty-Dollars (0+ / 0-)

    I would have bet twenty-dollars that, based upon the title o f this post, that it would have been about affluenza.

  •  My late father in law (0+ / 0-)

    was a nice Jewish Philadelphia lawyer.

    He hated them, too.

    He entered Jefferson Hospital for routine surgery on leg veins, ended with systemic staph infection that settled in his spine, keeping him hospitalized for months and unable to work or walk straight for the rest of his life.

    The other partners in his Philly firm decided to expel him from further partnership - no more money for YOU - and his efforts to sue the hospital failed after his hospital records were changed or lost...

    He was not financially destroyed, but his income was ended other than his own investments. He actually punched one of his former partners at their last meeting...

    He was a good ol' guy in many ways, but a lawyer to the end...and after - he wrote the trust that took my wife's inheritance  and divided it equally among her 2 brothers at her death.

    So I guess I was screwed by a lawyer, too.

    Bring me the head of Geraldo Rivera.

    by old mark on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 08:14:36 AM PST

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