Chicago Lawyers

Chicago Lawyers: The Social Structure of the Bar

JOHN P. HEINZ
EDWARD O. LAUMANN
Copyright Date: 1982
Published by:
Pages: 496
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610442848
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Chicago Lawyers
    Book Description:

    What determines the systematic allocation of status, power, and economic reward among lawyers? What kind of social structure organizes lawyers' roles in the bar and in the larger community?

    As Heinz and Laumann convincingly demonstrate, the legal profession is stratified primarily by the character of the clients served, not by the type of legal service rendered. In fact, the distinction between corporate and individual clients divides the bar into two remarkably separate hemispheres. Using data from extensive personal interviews with nearly 800 Chicago lawyers, the authors show that lawyers who serve one type of client seldom serve the other. Furthermore, lawyers' political, ethno-religious, and social ties are very likely to correspond to those of their client types. Greater deference is consistently shown to corporate lawyers, who seem to acquire power by association with their powerful clients.

    Heinz and Laumann also discover that these two "hemispheres" of the legal profession are not effectively integrated by intraprofessional organizations such as the bar, courts, or law schools. The fact that the bar is structured primarily along extraprofessional lines raises intriguing questions about the law and the nature of professionalism, questions addressed in a provocative and far-ranging final chapter.

    This volume, published jointly with the American Bar Foundation, offers a uniquely sophisticated and comprehensive analysis of lawyers' professional lives. It will be of exceptional importance to sociologists and others interested in the legal profession, in the general study of professions, and in social stratification and the distribution of power.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-284-8
    Subjects: Law, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Marshall Robinson

    Chicago Lawyersis one of the most richly detailed and systematically pursued analyses ever made of a profession. The existing literature on the legal profession—to which the Russell Sage Foundation has made a number of contributions—includes excellent studies of particular segments of the bar, such as Wall Street lawyers, and of particular issues, such as lawyers’ ethical conduct. But there is no other study, I think, that offers such a theoretically disciplined examination of the full panorama of this or any profession in a complex urban setting.

    The student of American society will find inChicago Lawyersa...

  6. Foreword
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    Spencer L. Kimball

    THE BOOK that follows in these pages represents the fruition of a major research effort. With others, I was “in at the creation” and had something to do with inducing the authors of this book—the principal investigators in the project to study the Chicago bar—to undertake their monumental task. Perhaps the midwife can claim only modest credit for the quality of the offspring but such as is appropriate I do claim.

    Others better qualified to judge the place of this work in the literature of the sociology of professions can state more accurately than I how importantly this...

  7. Preface
    (pp. xix-xxvi)
  8. PART I Introduction

    • Chapter 1 THE SCOPE AND NATURE OF THE STUDY
      (pp. 3-28)

      IT HAS BEEN apparent for some time that the simple view of the bar as a single, unified profession no longer fits the facts. First of all, lawyers, of course, are not merely lawyers. They are advisors to businessmen and are businessmen themselves; they are politicians, lobbyists, and judges or potential judges; they are real estate and insurance salesmen, claims adjustors, facilitators of zoning variances, scholars, and rich lie-abouts. But even those roles that are usually thought of as lawyers’ work, more narrowly defined, display considerable variety.

      The division of labor has proceeded in the law as it has in...

  9. PART II Lawyers’ Roles:: The Predominance of Client-centered Structure

    • INTRODUCTION: DEFINING THE FIELDS OF LAW
      (pp. 31-35)

      SOCIOLOGICAL studies of the legal profession have customarily used the individual practitioner as the unit of analysis. This is true both of the conventional analyses of cross-sectional survey informationl and of the accounts of lawyers at work, whether in large law firms, divorce courts, or solo practice.² What could be more natural or commonsensical than to encapsulate lawyers as identifiable persons with interesting biographies? But the assumption that the individual is the proper unit of analysis may lead us to neglect the import of a hard-won sociological insight—that it is not persons as totalities but persons in roles, engaged...

    • Chapter 2 THE ORGANIZATION OF LAWYERS’ WORK
      (pp. 36-58)

      THE ALLOCATION among lawyers of the various sorts of tasks that the profession is called upon to perform is an important determinant of the other patterns of social differentiation within the profession and thus of its degree of social integration. In this chapter we analyze three interrelated characteristics of the fields of law practice. The first deals with the amount, or volume, of effort devoted to each of the fields. What are the relative amounts of “lawyers’ effort”—the work that lawyers do qua lawyers—expended in the various fields of law? To answer this question will require us to...

    • Chapter 3 SOCIAL DIFFERENTIATION WITHIN THE PROFESSION
      (pp. 59-83)

      IN THE previous chapter we argued that the needs of a particular type of client usually dictate the character and the diversity or homogeneity of the work of a lawyer or a law firm. The practitioner who serves a neighborhood’s small businesses will often also handle the personal income tax returns of the owners of those businesses, will file their divorces, and will settle their automobile accident claims. The large firm that deals with a corporation’s antitrust problems is also likely to handle its real estate acquisitions, its securities issues, and its corporate tax returns. But a lawyer who represents...

    • Chapter 4 HONOR AMONG LAWYERS
      (pp. 84-134)

      IN THE preceding chapters, we have noted the strong relationship between the types of clients served by the fields of law and the nature of the social organization of those fields. We have also suggested, in the concluding paragraph of chapter 3, that clients or other parties outside the legal profession might determine the allocation of lawyers to different sorts of work, thus affecting both quantity and quality in the distribution of legal services. But the law is a high status profession, and the desire for elevated professional standing is presumably a part of the motivation that induces persons to...

  10. PART III Lawyers’ Lives:: Social Background, Social Values, and Career Mobility

    • Chapter 5 SOCIAL VALUES WITHIN THE PROFESSION
      (pp. 137-166)

      IN PREVIOUS CHAPTERS we have suggested that the organization of lawyers’ work, the structure of social differentiation among the fields of law, and the allocation of prestige within the profession are all principally determined by the nature and interests of the clients served. But we have thus far given little attention to the values, attitudes, or beliefs that the lawyers embrace. The daily work of doctors, engineers, or architects may be little influenced by their general social values, but the lawyer’s professional role is much more directly related to issues of choice among alternative allocations of benefits in society and...

    • Chapter 6 THE PATTERNS OF LAWYERS’ CAREERS
      (pp. 167-208)

      TOWARD THE END of the last chapter we had occasion to begin to analyze the process through which lawyers are recruited or allocated to the varying, socially differentiated roles within the legal profession. Our objective there was limited to ascertaining the extent to which the value preferences held by individual lawyers determine the type of law that they practice or the type of client that they serve. We now wish, however, to document more fully and systematically the nature of the allocation of personnel within the profession. This chapter therefore examines the movement of individuals with different sets of social...

  11. PART IV Lawyers’ Ties:: Networks of Association, Organizations, and Political Activities

    • Chapter 7 NETWORKS OF COLLEGIAL RELATIONSHIPS
      (pp. 211-231)

      IF THE SOCIAL differences among members of a community are ascribed such salience that they form the basis for a system of stratification, the boundaries among the strata are likely to function as barriers to social mobility. Some mobility across the strata will, of course, occur—sometimes through fortuity, more usually by conspicuous effort or a conspicuous lack of it¹—but stratification tends to inhibit all varieties of personal relationships among occupants of different strata. The geographical image of the boundary may even be taken literally; members of each stratum will be more likely to live and work in proximity...

    • Chapter 8 THE ORGANIZED BAR
      (pp. 232-273)
      John P. Heinz, Edward O. Laumann, Charles L. Cappell, Terence C. Halliday and Michael Schaalman

      THE CHICAGO Bar Association (CBA) is one of the two largest local bar associations in the United States and, like other major metropolitan bar associations, it has come to reflect the diversity that is now characteristic of the American legal profession. As we have already documented, the increasing specialization of law practice—a development that is, in many ways, beneficial—has led to a differentiation of interest that has surely destroyed most of whatever unity the profession may once have had. Many leaders of the organized bar now feel a sense of crisis because of deep-seated divisions within the profession...

    • Chapter 9 THE CONSTITUENCIES OF “NOTABLE” CHICAGO LAWYERS
      (pp. 274-316)

      IN THE two previous chapters, we have dealt with the networks of informal association among Chicago lawyers and with the patterns of their more formal joint activity in the principal organization of the city’s bar. But there are, of course, important connections among lawyers that are not expressed through the bar associations and that are not directly derived from their work activities and relationships. Many lawyers are involved in politics, for example, and that will certainly bring some of them together. Similarly, some members of the bar will meet and work with other lawyers in community activities such as school...

  12. PART V Conclusion

    • Chapter 10 THE HEMISPHERES OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION: SUMMARY AND SPECULATION
      (pp. 319-386)

      AS WE NOTED at the outset of this book, it comes as no surprise to find that Chicago lawyers are not a solid phalanx, marching ahead in lock step. The bar’s variety and dissension have been made public with enthusiasm. But perhaps the types of lawyers are not quite so various as we might have supposed. As the analysis presented in this book has unfolded, we have advanced the thesis that much of the differentiation within the legal profession is secondary to one fundamental distinction—the distinction between lawyers who represent large organizations (corporations, labor unions, or government) and those...

  13. Appendix A. THE CHICAGO BAR PROJECT
    (pp. 389-433)
  14. Appendix B. SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS OF LAWYERS BY FIELD OF LAW PRACTICED
    (pp. 434-452)
  15. Name Index
    (pp. 453-456)
  16. Subject Index
    (pp. 457-470)