The Philadelphia lawyer : a history, 1735-1945 (Book, 1992) [WorldCat.org]
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The Philadelphia lawyer : a history, 1735-1945

Author: Robert R Bell
Publisher: Selinsgrove : Susquehanna University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1992.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
One focus of this book is to look at the interrelationship between the old Philadelphia upper class and the legal profession. The upper class refers to a group of old Philadelphia families whose members are descendants of financially successful individuals. Through their families, those men have had the means to enter, train in, and practice law. While over the two centuries covered here the percentage of upper  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Biographies
History
Biography
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Bell, Robert R., 1924-
Philadelphia lawyer.
Selinsgrove : Susquehanna University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1992
(OCoLC)630921198
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Robert R Bell
ISBN: 0945636261 9780945636267
OCLC Number: 25131200
Description: 325 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Responsibility: Robert R. Bell.

Abstract:

One focus of this book is to look at the interrelationship between the old Philadelphia upper class and the legal profession. The upper class refers to a group of old Philadelphia families whose members are descendants of financially successful individuals. Through their families, those men have had the means to enter, train in, and practice law. While over the two centuries covered here the percentage of upper class lawyers decreased, their influence for many years continued to surpass their numbers. In 1944, about 10 percent of all lawyers were listed in the Social Register. In the eight largest law firms in the city they accounted for 37 percent of the partners and 23 percent of the associates. But by 1990, their influence was waning: they represented only about two percent of all lawyers in the city. Moreover, in the eight largest law firms in the city, 12 percent of the partners were in the Social Register, but only one percent of the associates. Indeed, with the twenty-first century approaching, the old upper class was - and is - becoming increasingly irrelevant to Philadelphia law. In each chapter, an examination is made of the emerging American legal system and the training and practice of law in a given historical period. Before the Revolution most American law was British law. After the Revolution there were often bitter struggles over the continued use of British common law. Rapidly the British common law was modified, giving way to American common law - and that was the major focus of law up until the Civil War. Following the Civil War and well into the twentieth century the major thrust of law was related to business and industry, especially corporations. By the 1930s there was an increasing focus on Federal Commissions and statute law. Over the decades the training of lawyers underwent change. Until the twentieth century, most lawyers were trained in law offices, and it was only slowly that law schools became the accepted means of legal training. For most of American history, the lawyer practiced alone and often appeared as an advocate in court where his forensic skills were highly valued. For the various historical eras, this study attempts to show how the Philadelphia lawyer lived, some of his values, how he learned the law, and how he practiced it. Anecdotal material is used to illustrate these points whenever possible. Forty-two Philadelphia lawyers were interviewed who, for the most part, had first entered the bar in the 1920s and 1930s. Six modern-day Philadelphia lawyers were interviewed at length, and their insights are presented in the epilogue. Following each chapter there is a profile of a Philadelphia lawyer contemporary to the period discussed. Most of the profiles are of men who, considered outstanding lawyers in their own time, have come to be regarded as outstanding in the history of Philadelphia law.

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