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The County Courthouse No Longer Looms Over the Community, 51 SMU L. Rev. 1559 (1998)


The title of this Article may be mysterious, but only because it is a
metaphor. The subject of my Article is actually professionalism
and professional ethics in the practice of law. My theme is that
our contemporary concepts of professionalism and professional ethics are
based upon an obsolete image of society, one that contrasts with the social
context in which the practice of law is now conducted. This obsolete
image is widely shared by senior members of the profession, who may
have actually experienced the old style of practice, and by many younger
ones. Enraptured by this image, we keep harking back to earlier times
for solutions, or at least amelioration of, what we describe as the erosion
of professionalism, particularly "civility." I do not dispute that there has
been change of the relationships referred to by the term civility. However,
the important question is the nature of that change. My purpose is
to direct attention to the social condition in which "professionalism"
must now be nurtured. The modern condition is an impersonal, highly
competitive environment.

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