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Corporate Dehumanization: BigLaw pecking orders

March 9, 2013

Business Insider: Why I Fled My Dehumanizing Corporate Law Firm And Never Looked Back“:

corporate law can wreck your spirit. … the work can be mind-numbing. … utterly demoralizing … a pecking order …”You are going to become a partner, or you are disposable.” … Her work life was made more miserable by the unfriendly atmosphere in the office. The firm once held a “diversity training” where lawyers were told they should greet one another to make people feel less alienated, but partners and senior associates balked at the notion of saying hello to underlings. … “just not very humanizing.” … “my body just turned on me,” she says, “and I was just not going to physically go into the office anymore.” Her departure was not unusual. “They take in large junior classes each year, and at the end of two years most people are gone for different reasons,” she says. “People just disappear.”

Recall Zombies in relation to Sub-humanization and oppression and recall Zombies working nights in the Haitian sugar mills in “White Zombie”:

Recall again, Duncan Kennedy’s polemic on “Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy”, mentioned recently by ZombieLaw because of New Yorker article about Senator Cruz calling Harvard Law professors communist – Kennedy’s theory in that 1983 argument is that these kinds of dehumanizing law firm practices described by Business Insider begin in the organizational structure of the law schools.

This problem is not exclusive to the legal industry, all across corporate America these kinds of corporate class divisions are part of the institutional structure, as learned from the school structures. Notions of teacher authority, of principals and office secretaries, the way the school staff treat each other is emulated throughout students understanding of their world. These world schema are then emulated in perpetuity.

According to Kennedy’s argument, the cycle of dehumanization should be fought by law students forming their own radical reading groups (it’s easy to start, at the end of class just make an announcement and ask if anyone’s up for some Gramsci). Kennedy also suggests equalizing pay, that the faculty and the janitorial staff should get the same compensation (that will be harder to set up). The resistance starts with you.


From → corporations, jobs

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