Lives of Lawyers Revisited

Transformation and Resilience in the Organizations of Practice
Michael J. Kelly
A profound ethnographic analysis of how lawyers understand and respond to sweeping changes in the legal profession


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 J. Kelly, former Dean of the University of Maryland School of Law, is a member of the Board of the National Senior Citizens Law Center [NSCLC], a non-profit organization committed to advocacy on behalf of older Americans.

Praise / Awards

  • "Lives of Lawyers provides valuable insight into law practice."
    —Debra Schleef, Contemporary Sociology

  • "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

  • "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, President of the American Bar Association, 1992-1993

  • "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, Frederick Haas Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Look Inside

Copyright © 2007, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 432 pages.
  • 7 Tables & 7 Figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2009
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02517-6

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