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Tournament of Lawyers: The Transformation of the Big Law Firm
by Marc Galanter and Thomas Palay
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Cloth: 978-0-226-27877-3 | Paper: 978-0-226-27878-0

Tournament of Lawyers traces in detail the rise of one hundred of the nation's top firms in order to diagnose the health of the business of American law. Galanter and Palay demonstrate that much of the large firm's organizational success stems from its ability to blend the talents of experienced partners with those of energetic junior lawyers driven by a powerful incentive—the race to win "the promotion-to-partner tournament." This calmly reasoned study reveals, however, that the very causes of the spiraling growth of the large law firm may lead to its undoing.

"Galanter and Palay pose questions and offer some answers which are certain to change the way big firm practice is regarded. To describe their work as challenging is something of an understatement: they at times delight, stimulate, frustrate and even depress the reader, but they never disappoint. Tournament of Lawyers is essential to the understanding of the business of the big law firms."—Jean and Colin Fergus, New York Law Journal
    1. Introduction
    2. The Emergence of the Big Firm
    3. Circa 1960: The Golden Age of the Big Law Firm
    4. The Transformation
    The Changing Environment of the Big Firm
    The Transformation of the Big Firm
    The "New Information Order" of the Law
    5. Explaining Big-Firm Growth and Change: The Promotion-to-Partner Tournament
    The Pattern of Growth
    Toward A Theory of Exponential Growth
    Some Alternative Theories of the Kink in Post-1970 Growth
    Confronting the Constraints on Exponential Growth
    6. Metamorphoses? A Brief Inquiry into the Future Shape of Law Practice
    Appendix A: Data on the Size of Law Firms
    Appendix B: Regression Results
    Appendix C: Graphs of Firm Size


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