Lawyers’ Topic Group

East Coast Owning-Class Workshop, April 1994

Lawyers are oppressed by:

•Overresponsibility

•Lack of support

•Being expected to do other people’s bidding

•Being expected to work until exhausted

•Being expected to juggle other roles (e.g., parenting) so that they don’t interfere with lawyering.

•Being made to feel terrified about losing our jobs, about prestige, and about being sued for malpractice

•Lawyer jokes

Role of lawyers in perpetuating the current economic and social system:

The work we do in areas such as corporate finance; relief from taxes and regulation; consumer, housing, and mental health law helps keep the system going and smoothes the rough edges so that oppressed people will be deceived into thinking that the system is working for them and therefore won’t organize against it.

Results of our oppression:

We have to do things that don’t match our values: our work can reinforce greed, competition, small-mindedness, ugliness, pressure to perform, confusion.

Manifestations of our internalized oppression:

•Needing to look good

•Being scared about money

•Getting inadequate support and supervision

•Feeling like “these are things you should know already”

•Feeling that unemployment is a relief: wanting to get a divorce from the legal profession

•Having middle-class male pat- terns run wild

Potential role of lawyers:

As lawyers we want to find work that brings joy to our hearts; we want other lawyers as our staunch allies. Our strengths lie in our ability to organize, advocate, speak out, and represent tough cases and unpopular causes.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00