IN 1968, I invited a group of friends to discuss the problems with our law work and the failings of the justice system. In evening meetings at my home, we were driven both by our dissatisfactions and a sense of possibility, a feeling that we could be doing better with our lives. This wasn’t what we had become lawyers for. We wanted to work on problems that were socially significant, and we were prepared to make waves. We liked the idea of working as a community of friends, with people we cared about. We were in a position to take risks, since our work in prestigious legal institutions provided us a substantial safety net. We were inspired by other people who were taking bigger risks—in the resistance to the war and in ...

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