Books on Law and Economics by Michael H. Trotter

During the 1950s and early 1960s, the legal profession was rapidly becoming "an impoverished profession." In 1950, only one out of every 709 Americans was a lawyer. By 2010, one out of every 257 Americans was a lawyer and the top 50 Am Law 100 firms had gross revenues of $48.4 billion and their equity partners enjoyed average "Profits Per Partner" of $1,712,000. Declining Prospects explains the remarkable changes that have occurred over the past two decades and what the future holds for many of America's major business practice law firms. Mr. Trotter's prior book on the legal profession, Profit and the Practice of Law, addresses in greater depth the changes that occurred from 1960 to the mid-1990s and some of the profession's attendant problems. The two books together provide a comprehensive review of the evolution of the legal services industry in America since the end of World War II.

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Declining Prospects - How Extraordinary Competition and Compensation Are Changing America's Major Law Firms tells the story of growth and change in the legal services industry in United States during the last two decades and how they are affecting the major business practice law firms, their clients, their clients' law departments, and all of the lawyers serving the legal needs of business in America. The equity partners of the major firms have become extraordinarily well compensated over the past 17 years, but the financial prospects of the firms and their lawyers are declining while corporate law departments have become the dominant force in the corporate legal world. The book explores how greatly increased competition and costs along with the emergence of powerful and capable corporate law departments, the commoditization of many legal services, and the impact of new technology and "New Model" law firms are now affecting the structure and future of America's most important law firms.

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Profit and the Practice of Law - What's Happened to the Legal Profession has emerged as the definitive work on growth and change in the major business practice law firms in America between 1960 and 1995. It explains why and how America's major firms were transformed, and how the transformation has affected the lawyers in those firms, their clients, and the lawyers working in-house for such clients. The changes that occurred in the United States have also occurred in other countries around the world as widely diverse as the United Kingdom and Taiwan. The book considers many of the problems with the delivery of legal services faced by clients, corporate counsel, and private practice lawyers and law firms and suggests solutions to them. The problems that existed in the mid-1990s are still with us today and some are even worse now than then. The remedies suggested remain relevant.


Both books are readable and entertaining for lawyers and non-lawyers alike and will benefit many types of readers. College students thinking about law school (as well as the counselors who advise them) will be better able to handicap their prospects for a satisfying and prosperous career as a lawyer. New lawyers will acquire insights into the challenges they face and how they can be overcome. Lawyers in the middle of their careers will gain a better understanding of their options, and of the skills they need to hone in order to remain successful in their careers. Retired lawyers may gain a better perspective on their own careers and the forces that shaped them. The books will hold the attention of business executives interested in managing their legal requirements and costs, and anyone interested in the life of lawyers in the major American firms or the role of the legal profession in America's business and economic life.


Michael Trotter has written and spoken frequently on the history and economics of the legal profession in America since the end of World War II and its prospects in the future. He was the Keynote Presenter at the October 2013 national conference sponsored by The NALP Foundation on "TOMORROW'S LAW PRACTICE: A FORUM ON THE MARKET, DEMAND AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR LAWYERS" and was a Keynote presenter at the Mitratech INTERACT Conference 2012 on Law Economics.

Mr. Trotter participated in both the ABA's Second Seize the Future Conference in 1999 and the Raise the Bar Program in 2005-06. He is also the author of Pig in a Poke? The Uncertain Advantages of Very Large and Highly Leveraged Law Firms in America, which appeared as a chapter in the American Bar Associations publication, Raise the Bar - Real World Solution for a Troubled Profession (2007), and his columns have appeared several times in Managing Partner Magazine, and often in Atlanta's legal newspaper, The Daily Report.

His courses in law firm management and economics at the Emory University School of Law in the early 1990s may have been the first, and were certainly among the first, to be taught at a major American law school. He is a partner in the ""New Model" law firm of Taylor English Duma LLP.

Mr. Trotter's studies of law firm growth and change have combined the perspectives of a successful practicing attorney, an experienced law firm manager, and a historian. As a partner in two of the largest and most successful firms in America (the predecessors of Alston & Bird and of Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton) and three entrepreneurial law firms, he has been a keen student of the economics and ethos of modern law practice.

Michael H. Trotter received his law degree from the Harvard Law School in 1962 and his B.A. degree from Brown University cum laude (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1958. Prior to attending law school, he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in the Harvard University Ph.D. Program in American History and was awarded a Master's Degree in History in 1959.