Thursday, June 27, 2019

Wells on Berle on the Corporate Bar

Harwell Wells, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law, has posted a very interesting contribution on the American legal profession to that annual symposium on Berle and Means’s Modern Corporation and Private Power.  It’s “All Lawyers are Somewhat Suspect”: Adolf A. Berle and the Modern Legal Profession, Seattle University Law Review 42 (2019):
Adolf A. Berle was perhaps the preeminent scholar of the modern corporation. He was also an occasional scholar of the modern legal profession. This article surveys his writings on the legal profession from the 1930s to the 1960s, from the sharp criticisms he leveled at lawyers, particularly corporate lawyers, during the Great Depression, to his sunnier account of the lawyer’s role in the postwar era. I argue that Berle’s views were shaped both by the reformist tradition he inherited from Louis Brandeis and his writings on the corporation, which left him convinced that the fate of the legal profession would be determined by that of the modern corporation.
--Dan Ernst