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The Scale of Justice: Observations on the Transformation of Urban Law Practice

28 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2009  

John P. Heinz

American Bar Foundation; Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research

Robert L. Nelson

Northwestern University

Edward Laumann

University of Chicago

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 1, 2001

Abstract

In the last quarter of the twentieth century, urban law practice changed markedly. Using data from two surveys of Chicago lawyers, the first in 1975 and the second in 1995, the article argues that the most consequential development was the sheer increase in the size of firms. The organization of the delivery of legal services was restructured, and the relationships between lawyers and clients changed. Growth in the power and prestige of corporate inside counsel, greater competition among law firms, and the move by those firms into broader geographic markets precipitated changes in firm management. The recent movement into the international market for legal services of large accounting firms, financial service firms, and consulting firms (creating "multidisciplinary" partnerships) suggests the possibility of more far reaching changes in the next decade or two.

Keywords: lawyers, law firms, professions, lawyer/client relations, legal profession

JEL Classification: K19, K3

Suggested Citation

Heinz, John P. and Nelson, Robert L. and Laumann, Edward, The Scale of Justice: Observations on the Transformation of Urban Law Practice (August 1, 2001). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 27, August 2001; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 09-20. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1502164

John P. Heinz (Contact Author)

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research ( email )

2003 Sheridan Rd
Evanston, IL 60208-2600
United States
312-503-8473 (Phone)

Robert L. Nelson

Northwestern University ( email )

1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-5415 (Phone)
847-491-9907 (Fax)

Edward Laumann

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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