June 19, 2008
"Some Realism About Bar Associations"
That is the title of a new essay by Elizabeth Chambliss (NYLS) and Bruce Green (Fordham), which is now available on SSRN. Here is an excerpt of the abstract:
What are bar associations' responsibilities for law reform? Under what conditions do bar association committees act in the public interest? Do lawyers even believe in the 'public' interest as something that can be collectively defined?
The lawyer-statesman is a powerful icon among American lawyers. Yet many observers are skeptical that lawyers, individually or collectively, can set aside their clients' interests, political leanings, and other biases to serve as purely public-interested members of the 'governing class.' The empirical literature on bar associations likewise invites a certain amount of cynicism - or at least pessimism - about the possibility of public-interested law reform. Research shows that representative bar groups tend to be politically ineffective due to internal division. Most examples of effective bar influence involve elite, ideologically homogenous groups. ...
This Article considers the implications of this research for the role and design of bar law reform committees. ...
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