I have argued, in an article in the Illinois Law Review, and in an op-ed for the New York Times/DealBook, that the perils of the revolving door, whereby lawyers move in and out of government service whilst many wring their hands about it, are overstated. In this post, I want to defend that argument mostly with reference to the employment outcomes of a set of elite prosecutors, most of whom went through the revolving door, but who have not exhibited the signs of corruption we might expect.
I’m not surprised by the result. Most government officials have plenty of reasons to do a good job even if they do not believe they will never leave their posts. Indeed, sometimes a successful stint in the public sector enhances private sector earning potential, to say nothing of more immediate civil service prospects. The revolving door also fosters citizen participation in government, which is supposedly something that the United States particularly values. And elite lawyers, the sort particularly likely to go through the revolving door, do not look like they are kowtowing to their future employers while working for the government….
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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