Shark Tank: Greed, Politics, and the Collapse of Finley Kumble, One of America's Largest Law Firms

Shark Tank: Greed, Politics, and the Collapse of Finley Kumble, One of America's Largest Law Firms
By Kim Isaac Eisler
2004/10 - Beard Books 
1587982382 - Paperback - Reprint - 252 pp.

This book is must reading for every attorney, as well as for those interested in how the legal profession has been transformed from its provincial early days to today's super-sized, dominant law firms.

Publisher Comments

Categories: Banking & Finance

This title is part of the Smart Management list.

This book portrays the spellbinding story of the rise and fall of the law firm Finley Kumble Wagner Underberg Manley Myerson and Casey. Formed in the late '70s with the belief that a corporate client would need only one law firm if it had branches in other cities, it became the largest law firm in the nation. Gobbling up small law firms and stealing lawyers and clients from rivals, it began the era of the megafirm as it grew to 250 partners, 450 associates and attorneys of counsel, and 1,000 support people. Affirming that facts can be more engaging than fiction, this is the inside account of the clash of personalities, the ruthlessness, the double-crossing, and the strategies which eventually led to the firm shooting itself in the foot and its ultimate demise.

From Publishers Weekly:

The author, an editor of Legal Times, here expands an expose written by his boss, owner Steven Brill, in the magazine. Eisler's account, using recreated dialogue, shows the behind-the-scenes influence on national politics and business of Finley Kumble, an aggressive law firm with offices in some 25 cities. The names of prominent attorneys on the firm's letterhead attracted celebrity clients such as Donald Trump, until debt, interoffice feuds and, charges Eisler, a disregard for ethics led to press exposure of internal corruption and questionable legal practices. Finley Kumble declared bankruptcy in 1988. A bewildering, large cast of characters and haphazard organization of material make the narrative hard to follow. Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Until it all fell apart in 1988, Finley Kumble was the second largest law firm in the world, with offices throughout the United States and in London and a stellar line-up of partners including former U.S. senators Paul Laxalt and Russell Long. Eisler has spun a fascinating expose of the greed and quest for power that brought these attorneys together and then tore their firm apart. The book contains few courtroom scenes or attorneys pleading for justice for their clients; justice and the interest of clients was not a major concern at Finley Kumble. Readers instead will find a detailed account (preceded by a very helpful chronology of events) telling what went wrong with this firm and may even be thankful, at the book's end, for the firm's collapse. Recommended for public and legal libraries.  -- Sally G. Waters, Stetson Law Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla. Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc

Kim Isaac Eisler is the National Editor of Washingtonian Magazine. Previously, he worked as Senior Editor of the Legal Times and as a staff writer at American Lawyer magazine in New York. Prior to becoming a specialist in law firm issues, Eisler was a staff writer and bureau chief for the Tampa Tribune and the Delta Democrat-Times. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, Judy Sarasohn, deputy national editor of the Washington Post, and their daughter, Sara Sophie.

He is also the author of another Beard Books title, The Last Liberal: Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. and the Decisions That Transformed America.

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