Cultural Narratives of the Legal Profession: Law School, Scamblogs, Hopelessness, and the Rule of Law

David R. Barnhizer, Cleveland State University

Link to a copy on HeinOnline - Available at your institution or remotely via their proxy server or via password.

Prepublication version on SSRN


This essay discusses the potential impacts of the narratives that lawyers, law student, legal educators, and others use to define what it means to be part of the legal profession on the lawyer's traditional role as a conservator of the rule of law and other legal institutions. While cultural narratives about the law have always included legal mythologies of long hours, difficult partners and clients, and the dedication required to practice law, more recent narratives such as legal “scamblogs," and oral traditions among students seem to signal a marked shift to failure stories based in despondency, despair, and anger. Whether these recent narratives will dominate the culture of lawyering remains to be seen, but the proliferation of these types of stories potentially threatens the willingness of current and future lawyers to participate in a rule of law system that appears to cheat them of both their careers and their future happiness.