Essential reading for anyone contemplating a legal career.

An insider reports on the legal profession’s impending implosion.

Focusing on two vital institutions, the law schools who act as gatekeepers and “big law,” the prestigious firms that set the tone, Harper (Law/Northwestern Univ.; The Partnership: A Novel, 2010, etc.), for 25 years a partner at the distinguished firm of Kirkland and Ellis, now an adjunct professor, is perfectly positioned to reflect on alarming developments that have brought the legal profession to a most unfortunate place. The lawyer bubble, he argues, as with the dot-com, real estate and financial bubbles that preceded it, cannot be blamed on the Great Recession. Rather, it’s a creation of those charged with safeguarding the profession, who’ve abandoned any long-term vision out of greed for money, power and status. In thrall to the U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings, law schools regularly manipulate the methodology that determines the listings; deans focus on the short-term financial performance of their own institutions, encouraging an oversupply of applicants and graduating students into a job market already glutted. Similarly, big law takes its cues from the American Lawyer’s list of the nation’s top 100 firms, looking to maneuver for position, sacrificing long-established firm cultures in favor of immediate profit and maximum partner reward, and causing widespread dissatisfaction within the ranks. Harper describes associate labor in these firms as depressing, unfulfilling and unrelenting. Most readers will shed no tears at this sorry spectacle, but the author clearly cares deeply about the future of his beloved profession, and he reminds us of a time when a legal career was more about service, collegiality, community and shared purpose. He offers numerous suggestions that might allow the profession to cushion the consequences of the bubble about to burst, but given the pathologies he describes, their adoption appears unlikely anytime soon.

Essential reading for anyone contemplating a legal career.

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0465058778

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Basic Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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