The Marketing of Legal Services in the United States, 1855-1912: A Case Study of Guggenheimer, Untermyer & Marshall of New York City and the Predecessor Partnerships

  • Richard A. Hawkins University of Wolverhampton, UK


Purpose – This paper explores the marketing of legal services in the United States during the period 1855-1912 using Guggenheimer, Untermyer & Marshall and its predecessor partnerships as a case study.

Design/methodology/approach – Historically few law firm records have survived because of client confidentiality. However, some of the early records of Guggenheimer, Untermyer & Marshall have been donated to the American Jewish Archives (AJA). The AJA also holds the personal papers of two former partners in the firm, Samuel Untermyer and Louis Marshall. These sources only provide a fragmentary view of the history of this firm. So this paper has also drawn upon the extensive newspaper coverage of the activities of this firm and its predecessor partnerships. The New York Times digitized archive, the Library of Congress Chronicling America digitized newspaper archive, and the Fulton History Newspaper Database (an unofficial digitized historic New York State newspapers database created by hobbyist Tom Tryniski) proved to be invaluable.

Findings – This paper suggests that notwithstanding the belief of the WASP legal establishment that the law was a gentlemen‘s profession, by the late 19th century changes in the structure of the American economy had profoundly altered the nature of the profession. Some firms considered the law had become a business. Hence legal services had to be marketed.

Originality/value – This paper is the first to explore the marketing of legal services in this period.


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