Lives of Lawyers Revisited: Transformation and Resilience in the Organizations of Practice
by Michael J. Kelly
University of Michigan Press, 2007
Paper: 978-0-472-06963-7 | eISBN: 978-0-472-02517-6


The past two decades have seen profound changes in the legal profession. Lives of Lawyers Revisited extends Michael Kelly’s work in the original Lives of Lawyers, offering unique insights into the nature of these changes, examined through stories of five extraordinarily varied law practices. By placing the spotlight on organizations as phenomena that generate their own logic and tensions, Lives of Lawyers Revisited speaks to the experience of many lawyers and anticipates important issues on the professional horizon.

"Michael Kelly has done it again! His Lives of Lawyers Revisited is a very easy read about some very difficult notions like 'litigation blindness' and law as a business. It presents some fascinating perspectives on our profession."
—J. Michael McWilliams, Past President, American Bar Association

"The best single book about the American realities and possibilities of the American legal profession, combining an empathic and insightful account of law practice with a penetrating analysis of the wider context of professional work."
—Marc Galanter, University of Wisconsin

"Michael Kelly believes that professional values and conduct are not realized in codes, but in the experiences of practice, and that practice draws its routines and ideals from organizations. Through his studies of lawyers in various firms, closely observed and sympathetically described, Kelly reveals how differently organizations adapt to the intense pressures of today's practice environment. His method of linking individual life-experiences to organizational strategies and the external constraints of competition and client demands infuses realism and richness into the concept of professionalism and makes this one of the most interesting and original books on professions and professionalism to appear in years."
—Robert W. Gordon, Yale Law School

"In his two volumes of Lives of Lawyers, Michael Kelly explores legal ethics in an unusual, and unusually rewarding, way. Rather than focusing on rules or arguments, Kelly looks at the kind of lives lawyers lead. Ethics, Socrates thought, is about how to live one's life, and Kelly takes the Socratic question to heart. He explores the institutions lawyers work in and the choices they make. He writes with intelligence, great insight, and above all with heart. This is a superb book."

—David Luban, Georgetown University


Michael J. Kelly is President and Chairman of the Board of the National Senior Citizens Law Center, an advocacy group for older Americans of limited means.

    \lrrh: Contents\
    \1h\ Contents \xt\
    Chapter 1. The Fishing Expedition
    Part 1. Stories of Law Practices
    Chapter 2. Marks, Feinberg, Fried and Burch 
    Chapter 3. Public Interest Law at the Maine Public Utilities Commission
    Chapter 4. The Lawyers of Standish Development Company
    Chapter 5. Mahoney, Bourne and Thiemes
    Chapter 6. McKinnon Sieves
    Part 2. Reflections on the Profession
    Chapter 7. Change and Continuity in the Organizations of Practice
    Chapter 8. Thinking about Practice Organizations
    Chapter 9. The Idea of Profession
    Afterword: Reflections on Describing a Sardine Factory

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