How attorneys' work is deprofessionalized, downgraded, and controlled through part-time and temporary assignments.
Recent law school graduates often work as temporary attorneys, but law firm layoffs and downsizing have strengthened the temporary attorney industry. Cheaper by the Hour is the first book-length account of these workers. Drawing from participant observation and interviews, Robert A. Brooks
provides a richly detailed ethnographic account of freelance attorneys in Washington, DC. He places their document review work in the larger context of the de-professionalization of skilled labour and considers how professionals relegated to temporary jobs feel diminished, degraded, or demeaned by work that is often tedious, repetitive, and well beneath their abilities. Brooks documents how firms break a lawyer's work into discreet components that require less skill to realize maximum profits. Moreover, he argues that information technology and efficiency demands
Janet Stringer, MD - Baylor College of Medicine, Jewish Institute for Medical Research