The Destruction of Collegiality: Three Cases, Three Lessons

A Fred Barnard illustration from Charles Dickens's novel Bleak House

Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, the infamously dreary lawsuit at the center of Dickens’ Bleak House, dragged on for generations, cost a fortune, and fostered a climate of secrets, despair, and suicide, in which “. . . whole families . . . inherited legendary hatreds.” Ultimately Bleak House contributed to 19th-century reforms of the English legal system, but it has also become a shorthand term for the wasteful destructiveness that affects all participants in a lawsuit.

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