Craftsmanship and Character: A History of the Vinson & Elkins Law Firm of Houston, 1917-1997

Front Cover
University of Georgia Press, 1998 - Law - 658 pages
This pioneering work by one of the country's leading legal historians is perhaps the most complete history ever written of a major American multinational law firm. Granted unprecedented access to the private files of the Vinson & Elkins firm in Houston, Texas, Harold M. Hyman has crafted a unique and detailed history and analysis of the founding, growth, and operation of a prototypical multinational firm.

The history of Vinson & Elkins both mirrors and contrasts with that of many other major American law firms. It began in 1917 with two partners, a handful of clients, and ten thousand dollars. By the 1990s the firm retained more than five hundred lawyers, represented more than eight thousand clients on several continents, and posted multi-million-dollar annual earnings.

Craftsmanship and Character serves as a model study of American law firms and opens the door for more explorations of these hugely influential but largely unstudied institutions.

 

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Contents

Introduction Hell Tell It All Or How Terrible The TruthAbout Houstons Lawyers?
1
Chapter 1 The Beginnings of Our Association To 1917
14
Chapter 2 Seizing Opportunity
35
Chapter 3 Not SouthernGentlemenLazy Banker Elkins and Sons
65
Chapter 4 Building VE The Grand Acquisitors
93
Chapter 5 The Right Thing to Do and the Right People to Employ Keeping Their Loyalty and Keeping Them Around
122
Chapter 6 VE and the Quest for Oil Money and Power
147
Chapter 7 Burdens The Depression Decade and World War II
182
Chapter 11 To Make the Future Longer Than the Past
312
Chapter 12 Had They but Time
348
Chapter 13 One Good Visionary
383
Chapter 14 Thaumaturgist Smiths Pacific Transformations
418
Chapter 15 Branching Out during Smiths and Attwells Decades
448
Chapter 16 Some BranchingsIn during the 1980s and 1990s
487
Epilogue The Significance of Where We Came From
521
YearEnd Attorneys 19171946
532

Chapter 8 The Remaining Years of Our Association
220
Chapter 9 Life and Some Transfigurations
252
Chapter 10 Stepping Down but Not
282
Notes
549
Index
645

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About the author (1998)

Harold M. Hyman is William P. Hobby Professor of History Emeritus at Rice University. His books include Union and Confidence: The 1860s, A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution, and Craftsmanship and Character: A History of the Vinson & Elkins Law Firm of Houston, 1917-1997 (Georgia).

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