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Careers of Lawyers, Law Practice, and Legal Institutions

Jack Ladinsky
American Sociological Review
Vol. 28, No. 1 (Feb., 1963), pp. 47-54
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2090457
Page Count: 8
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Careers of Lawyers, Law Practice, and Legal Institutions
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Abstract

A sample of 207 stable metropolitan lawyers evenly divided among individual and medium-to-large firm practices is analyzed for relationships between background and type of law practice. Data reveal that solo lawyers more often come from minority religious-ethnic, entrepreneurial, and working-class homes, have inferior educations, and experience chaotic work histories. Causal analysis establishes that religious and socio-economic origins are independent background factors. These findings are interpreted in terms of the processes and effects of self-selection and recruitment in the allocation of the lawyer labor supply to work settings. The importance of the social composition of the recruitment base for legal practice and the law is explored. It is suggested that background characteristics give rise to career contingencies that impose a number of important constraints on the operation of legal institutions.

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