What do you call 600 lawyers at the bottom of the sea? Marc Galanter calls it an opportunity to investigate the meanings of a rich and time-hored genre of American humor. Lowering the Bar analyzes hundreds of jokes from Mark Twain classics to contemporary anecdotes about Dan Quayle, Johnnie Cochran, and Kenneth Starr. Drawing on representations of law and lawyers in the mass media, political discourse, and public opinion surveys, Galanter finds that the increasing reliance on law coexists uneasily with anxiety about the legalization of society. Always entertaining, his book explores the tensions between American's deep-seated belief in the law and their ambivalence about lawyers.
Marc Galanter is the John and Rylla Bosshard Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and Centennial Professor in the Department of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science.