Bloom, Murray Teigh. The Trouble With Lawyers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968.

 

Bloom, Murray Teigh. The Trouble With Lawyers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968.

Cheating scientists are white-collar criminals, a form of deviance which is rampant in all
professions. (G. B. Shaw had it that all professions are conspiracies against the laity.) This book
details some of the deviance of lawyers. It is an angry book, written by a journalist who has
amassed a number of cases of misbehavior by lawyers in the performance of their professional
duties.

The law does, of course, have a code of ethics which is supposed to guide its members but, of the
code, we have this beautiful quote from Dr. Corinne Lathrop Gild, University of California, "Not
all the planks of a professional association's code of ethics are meant to be taken in the same
spirit. Some are merely costumes the profession puts on to impress outsiders. Some are
preachments to be honored but not necessarily obeyed. Some are guides but permissive ones.
Some are tactical moves in controversies with outside groups." (p. 166) In other words, the
profession is not being merely ethical when it produces a code of ethics.

It is from the law that judges get picked. One question dealt with here is how good are judges.
The answer is "not very." The best estimate the author gives is that about half are unfit to sit on
the bench (see page 185). For a variety of reasons, the removal of the unfit is not attempted. In
New York and California the bar is credited with having made some efforts in the right direction
about unfit judges, but the systems are not too effective.

Possibly the most flagrant abuses take place in probate law, the settling of estates, where the
customary fees are staggering for doing next to nothing. To make corrections in this highly
profitable business would require the cooperation of lawyers, and that isn't likely.