Craftsmanship and Character
A History of the Vinson & Elkins Law Firm of Houston, 1917–1997

Harold M. Hyman

A Histoy of the Vinson & Elkins Law Firm of Houston, 1917-1997


"Sets a standard for law firm histories that is unlikely ever to be matched . . . For most of its great length, Hyman's book is as good as law firm history is ever likely to get, and in parts that is very good indeed."
—Books-on-Law/Jurist: The Law Professor's Network

"A welcome addition to the literature on law firms."
American Historical Review

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This pioneering work by one of the country's leading legal historians is perhaps the most complete history ever written of a major American multinational law firm. Granted unprecedented access to the private files of the Vinson & Elkins firm in Houston, Texas, Harold M. Hyman has crafted a unique and detailed history and analysis of the founding, growth, and operation of a prototypical multinational firm.

The history of Vinson & Elkins both mirrors and contrasts with that of many other major American law firms. It began in 1917 with two partners, a handful of clients, and ten thousand dollars. By the 1990s the firm retained more than five hundred lawyers, represented more than eight thousand clients on several continents, and posted multi-million-dollar annual earnings.

Craftsmanship and Character serves as a model study of American law firms and opens the door for more explorations of these hugely influential but largely unstudied institutions.

Southern Legal Studies

Page count: 680 pp.
Trim size: 6.125 x 9.25


List price: $61.95

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Harold M. Hyman is William P. Hobby Professor of History Emeritus at Rice University. His books include Union and Confidence: The 1860s, A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution, and Craftsmanship and Character: A History of the Vinson & Elkins Law Firm of Houston, 1917-1997 (Georgia).