Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)

Article Title

Good Lawyers


The following article is an excerpt from the third of a series of lectures entitled, "Politics, Character, and the Profession of Law," given at the Law School last semester. The series was sponsored by the Thomas M. Cooley lectureship.

In my lecture yesterday I defined statesmanship as excellence in deliberation about public ends and described the statesman himself as someone with a special sort of character as well as an intellectual skill or expertise. The main point I shall make today is that lawyers too have a special character, a set of distinctive traits in many ways congruent with the statesman's. Because this congruence is one of disposition and desire, and not merely knowledge or belief, its existence helps to explain why so many lawyers are drawn to public life and why they are in general so successful in it. The congruence is not, of course, a perfect one - many lawyers lack either the appetite or capacity for public life and there are, in any case, other paths to statesmanship - but it is close enough to justify my claim that a temperamental link exists between them, that the statesman and lawyer resemble one another in their habits and desires.