• The Birth of a Legal Economy: Lawyers and the Development of American Commerce

    Author(s):
    Justin Simard
    Date:
    2016
    Group(s):
    MSU Law Faculty Repository
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/aqyv-7c65
    Abstract:
    Despite well-documented struggles encountered during the recent economic downturn, American lawyers maintain a dominant presence in American life.' There are more lawyers in the United States than in any other country in the world.2 This continuing economic dominance has roots more than two centuries old. This Article shows that lawyers helped lay the foundation for capitalism in the early Republic. At a time when both federal and state governments held little power, lawyers stepped in to fill the gap. Private lawyers served basic economic roles: they established legal institutions and markets on the frontier, generated liquidity before the federal government printed money, and provided the security that their clients needed to participate in volatile national markets. The profession grew alongside capitalism, and it built a culture and developed institutions, such as law firms, that solidified the connection between lawyers and commerce. These lawyers formed the basis of the modern profession and the modern American economy.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 weeks ago
    License:
    Attribution
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