Review of Nancy Lisagor & Frank Lipsius, A Law Unto Itself: The Untold Story of Sullivan & Cromwell

Monday, January 1st, 1990 at 12:00 am by Erik M. Jensen
Erik M. Jensen, Review of Nancy Lisagor & Frank Lipsius, A Law Unto Itself: The Untold Story of Sullivan & Cromwell, 1990 Colum. Bus. L. Rev. 133

A Law Unto Itself is an imperfect blend of sociology, political history, muckraking journalism, and gossip. The subject of the study, “the quintessential Wall Street law firm,” has the potential to be interesting, and law firm groupies and readers of The American Lawyer should be satisfied with the book’s gee whiz style. Moreover, allegations of Nazi collaboration insure that the book will have appeal to a readership interested in sensationalism. As a case study of a firm recently buffeted by alleged ethical violations and charges of “fatal arrogance,” however, A Law Unto Itself could have been a major contribution to the growing literature on the mega law firm. It is not. Much of value exists in its pages, but the book lacks a clear purpose and a coherent theme.

Author Information

Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. The reviewer was associated with Sullivan & Cromwell from 1980 until 1983, and he admits to the following bias: although he did not always enjoy the experience, he found the quality of work - and the ethical standards represented - to be of the highest order.