Law and legal instrumentalism

This entry was last revised on September 16,

US-headquartered firms offer higher pay, but far fewer places.

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Reasons not to work in high-end commercial law Career capital Our view is that the career capital you can accrue as a commercial lawyer is less flexible than nearby alternatives such as consulting.

While law is a respected profession, it does not foster the skills and connections that would be most useful in directly impactful careers, your colleagues and work environment may negatively affect your motivation to help others, and transitioning from commercial law to policy may be harder than commonly assumed.

The following goes into a little more detail. A law degree is a well-recognised and respected credential. Law remains one of the most prestigious professions.

Law and legal instrumentalism

However, career capital in Law and legal instrumentalism law is limited in a number of ways, particularly when compared with the nearby alternative of consulting. To a lesser extent, skills that are specific to commercial law such as settlement negotiating, deal structuring, and litigation strategy are unlikely to be immediately applicable in other professions.

Importantly, commercial law does not seem to foster the generalist research skills and broad policy knowledge that would be useful in many directly impactful career paths. Colleagues and connections Most of your network is likely to be in the legal and financial sector.

While this may be useful for fundraising or transitioning to finance, it is less likely to lead to opportunities for direct impact. In addition, the people you work with and the professional culture you are immersed in may impact on your own values and motivation, and a career in commercial law could negatively affect your motivation to help others.

Exit Opportunities Successful commercial lawyers looking to change careers should not struggle to find employment. And if your aim was to go into consulting, it would be better to do it directly.

One exit option worth considering in more detail is the move from law to politics, as there is a widespread conception that becoming a lawyer is a tried-and-tested route to Parliament. There is justification for this view. For instance, 89 lawyers were elected as MPs in Even if we control for the fact that MPs are largely drawn from the most highly educated part of the workforce, since there have still been 10 times more lawyers in the House than one would expect if the House were broadly representative solely of the professional and higher managerial segment of the population.

Law and legal instrumentalism

In the UK Parliament since the 8 June electiona total of 62 out of 9. Note that this 9: The ratio of solicitors to barristers in practice is almost 9: Moreover, if we compare this to the some 10, people who work as commercial lawyers, we can see the chance of transitioning from commercial law to Parliament is very slight.

As the graph below shows, the number of lawyers in the House of Commons has been declining since Further, as the numbers of MPs with legal backgrounds has fallen, so the number with a political background has increased.

On the supply-side, lawyers and commercial lawyers in particular may be increasingly less-inclined to stand for parliament given their higher earnings, the reduced status of MPs, and the increasing demands of their job.

A recent YouGov poll, 40 for example, found that British voters want fewer lawyers and more doctors, scientists, and factory workers in Parliament: While the causes of the decline of lawyers in politics remain unclear, the trend seems fairly robust and should mitigate any uncritical enthusiasm for commercial law as a route into politics.

When we speak to people in party politics about how best to enter, by far the most common answer is to enter directly as a career politician, rather than working in law first.The contemporary US legal culture is marked by ubiquitous battles among various groups attempting to seize control of the law and wield it against others in pursuit of their particular agenda.

Law as a Means to an End: Threat to the Rule of Law (LME) announces that the American legal system is off course, heading “toward turbulent waters with threatening shoals,” and that “[w]e must pay heed to the signs now”. The danger is to the very rule of law, and the source of the danger is legal instrumentalism, the idea that “law is a means to an end”.

Law, a set of coherent rules and values within a society, is a human process. As such, it is crucial to approach its application within society in a pragmatic and realistic sense rather than a formal one, which views law as a set of mechanical and abstract principles.

Going into law isn’t going out of style. Law ranks among the top five career options for students and is one of the most popular degree courses at undergraduate level. Still, unless you are an unusually good fit, there are likely to be better options. Abstract. At the heart of the United States legal culture lie two core notions that exist in deep tension with one another: the idea that law is an instrument, and the rule of law ideal.

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