The Philadelphia Lawyer: A History, 1735-1945

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Susquehanna University Press, 1992 - 325 Seiten
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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Inhalt

Preface
9
Early Colonies 1682 to 1750
13
Andrew Hamilton 16761741
27
Colonial Period 1750s
37
John Dickinson 17321808
49
Revolutionary War Era 17701788
55
Philadelphia Nations Capital 17881800
72
William Lewis 17511819
83
John Graver Johnson 18411917
177
Progressive Era 18901910
194
Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker 18431916
211
World War I Decade 19101920
217
Boies Penrose 18601921
229
1920s
233
George Wharton Pepper 18671961
243
Great Depression 1930s
248

New Nation 18001830
88
Jared Ingersoll 17491822
103
Jacksonian Era 18301850
106
Sidney George Fisher 18091871
121
Civil War Era 18501870
127
Horace Binney 17801875
145
Corporate Era 18701890
157
Francis Biddle 18861968
269
Early 1990s
274
Notes
290
Select Bibliography
304
Name Index
315
Subject Index
321
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