Are lawyers, professionals in every sense of that term, also intellectuals?

Frank Furedi, Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone: Confronting 21st Century Philistinism (Continuum 2004) at 38-41, discusses the differences between professionals and intellectuals. “The mental work of the professional is focused on the provision of services, not the promotion of ideas.” Ideas become instrumental, means to a solution, rather than values in their own rights.

Furedi writes that “Activities such as offering a critique of the status quo, acting as the conscience of society, or pursuing the truth regardless of the consequences are not what the job of a professional is all about.” Intellectuals embrace autonomy, divergent thinking, and the development of ideas as an ultimate value. Professionals don’t rock the boat, don’t stray outside accepted roles, strive to keep themselves marketable, and do what they can to fit into commerce. More managerial or technocratic, the professional lawyer is not an intellectual.

We welcome comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *