affairs has come from Chief Judge HarryrnEdwards of the United States Court ofrnAppeals for the District of Columbia,rnwho wrote a landmark article in thernMichigan Law Review in 1992. As lawrnschools have become obsessed with impracticalrntheories and law firms withrnmaximizing revenues, Judge Edwards argued,rnboth have quit paying attention tornthe ethical pracdce of the law. Judge Edwardsrngot it just about right. Rarely do today’srnlaw students get an appreciation ofrnthe 18th-and 19th-century Anglo-Americanrnideal of the lawyer-statesman —therncommunity leader devoted to the lawrnand its preservation and dedicated to usingrnit to help conserve traditional values.rnToday’s lawyers commonly regard thernlaw as an infinitely malleable set of theoriesrnand doctrines which can be manipulatedrnby judges at the prompting of cleverrnadvocates. With the triumph of legal realismrnat Yale and Columbia in the 1930’srnand 40’s, law professors came to believernthat there are no overarching ethical (orrnother) principles in the law. This led to arnwholesale attack on the doctrines of constitutionalrnlaw to permit, first, an extraordinaryrnredistribution of wealth and politicalrnpower under the New Deal and,rneventually, the wholesale rewriting of thernConstitution by the Warren and BurgerrnCourts. By the late 20th century, suchrnYale law professors as Bruce Ackermanrnand Akhil Amar could explain withrnstraight faces that we needn’t botherrnamending the Constitution —a “livingrnConstitiition” could be altered simply byrnjudges recognizing the articulated desiresrnof the people, which turn out to be the articulatedrndesires of the Yale law professors.rnDuring the impeachment of Bill Clinton,rnthe Yale-Law-School-trained President’srndefense—turning on his implicitrnacknowledgment that his guilt dependedrnon what the meaning of the word “is”rnis —made it clear to almost everyone thatrnAmerican lawyering is no longer what itrnonce was. Curiously, virtually no leaderrnof the bench or bar condemned the President’srnbetrayal of the rule of law, and onlyrna very few law professors and a slim majorityrnin the House of Representativesrnseemed to sense that they were fightingrnfor a legal ideal all but abandoned everywherernelse.rnThe notion that the law is anythingrnyou want it to be has created a legal educationalrnsystem that can only be describedrnas anarchic. With no solid foundationrnleft to stand on, law faculties in thern1960’s and 70’s abandoned their requiredrncurricula for the second and third years ofrnlegal education. After the first year —rnwhich covers the ancient common-lawrntopics of property, contracts, torts, criminalrnlaw, and civil procedure —law studentsrnnow pick and choose from a Chinesernmenu of options, most eitherrnexhibiting colorful theories or reflectingrntrendy new areas of academic and politicalrnconcern. Sadly, most law-schoolrncourses after the first year do little to instillrnprofessional pride or even train studentsrnin their craft. Many students findrnthemselves grossly unprepared for theirrnbar exams, much less the practice of lawrnitselfrnStudents must now spend severalrnmonths and large amounts of money onrnbar-review courses and then undergo onernor two years of accultiiration in law firmsrnbefore they are of much use to anyone.rnFor too many, even when they learn theirrnway around law offices, the practice ofrnlaw has been drained of any joy or fulfillmentrnother than what comes from readingrntheir immense paychecks; their dutiesrnconsist of putting in 60- to 80-hourrnweeks helping clients wage interminablernbattles against the clients of other lawrnfirms. Legal realism has resulted in greatrnuncertainty in the law: Wide areas havernbeen opened up to regulation by the federalrngovernment, and there is massiverndoubt over whether new federal rules orrnold state law governs. There is more thanrnenough to keep platoons of lawyers busyrnsimply crafting agreements which seek torninsulate clients from legal liability.rnFor all these reasons, the practice ofrnlaw has become more like working inrnsome leather-upholstered, brightly lit,rnhigh-ceilinged factory and less like therncalling it once was. It is often said that associatesrnin the best law firms are cannonrnfodder; most hold their first jobs only forrnone or two years before they shuttle off tornfirms less prestigious but, perhaps, morernhumane. In the great law firms, whichrnhave roughly quadrupled in size sincernthe I960’s (500 lawyers in a big-city firmrnis not uncommon), very few associatesrnare able to wait out the eight or nine yearsrnit takes to become partners, and thosernwho do are often uncertain why they’verndone so. Of course, stunning salaries andrnpartnership draws enable them to live inrnalmost undreamed-of splendor, but untilrnthey reach senior partnership, they havernlittle free time to savor those luxuries.rnThere are still some happy and dedicatedrnlawyers, but a majority of the professionrnunderstands that something importantrnhas been lost. Within the legalrnacademy, there is a widespread acknowledgmentrnthat something has gone wrong,rnbut very little agreement over what that isrnand whether it can be repaired. Tworngenerations ago, these problems didn’trnseem to exist; but two generations ago, itrnwas not uncommon to hear even thernSupreme Court declare that the UnitedrnStates was a Christian nation and thatrnChristianity was a part of our law.rnThomas Jefferson believed that to be inrnerror, and he wrote a nasty little screedrnclaiming that Christianity could not havernbeen a part of the common law becausernthe institutions of the common law beganrnwhen England was still pagan. Jeffersonrnhad a point, of course, and there isrnalso something to Benjamin Disraeli’s remarkrnto an Anglican colleague that,rnwhen his ancestors were writing thernBible, the Anglican’s were living in treesrnand painting their faces blue. Nevertheless,rnJefferson’s views were out of thernmainstream in American law when hernuttered them, and the idea that the lawrnwas concordant with Christianity wasrnheld by William Blackstone, Joseph Story,rnJames Kent, and even AlexanderrnHamilton. The body of Christian moralrndoctrines gave context and shape to notrnonly legal education and the content ofrnthe law itself, but to the ethical aspects ofrnpractice.rnWith the national revulsion at therntreatment of the Jews at the hands of thernNazis during the 1930’s and 40’s, however,rnthe idea of any one religion or creedrnplaying a predominant role in Americanrnpublic life and American law lost ground.rnFor a whole complex of reasons, thernWASP legal establishment which had exertedrninfluence and formed the culturernfor a century and a half seemed to evaporaternalmost overnight, and legal realismrnbecame the dominant ideology. Thernproponents of legal realism allied withrnprogressivism, claiming that the new doctrinernwas much more democratic thanrnthe essentially aristocratic beliefs it hadrnreplaced. With the influence of legal-realistrnprofessors on the justices of the WarrenrnCourt, judges were emboldened, firstrnto protect racial minorities by rewritingrnpolice procedures and election practices,rnand then to “protect” religious minoritiesrnby forbidding any school prayer or evenrncompulsory reading from the Bible. Byrnthe 1990’s, the Supreme Court had declaredrnit unconstitutional for school authoritiesrnto arrange for nonsectarianrnJANUARY 2001/51rnrnrn