Recent Issues

February 2009 Issue

Cover Story

Abraham Lincoln, Esq.

In the public mind, Abraham Lincoln is best remembered as our 16th president—perhaps the greatest in U.S. history. He steered the nation through the turmoil of the Civil War, issued the Emancipation Proclamation and set the standard for presidential eloquence with the Gettysburg Address.

But before all that, Lincoln was a lawyer.

And not just in name. For a quarter-century—from 1836 until he was inaugurated as president in 1861—practicing law was Lincoln’s primary livelihood. Based in Springfield, Ill., but also “riding circuit” in other parts of the state, Lincoln maintained a busy and diverse practice.

Lincoln was well-liked by colleagues for his direct manner, sense of humor and storytelling abilities, but as the bicentennial of his birth is commemorated in 2009, he may be a more popular—and relevant—figure among lawyers than ever.

Feature Section

    Copyright in the Age of YouTube

    As user-generated sites flourish, copyright law struggles to keep up.

    Caperton’s Coal

    The battle over an Appalachian mine exposes a nasty vein in bench politics.

    Off Track

    Taking a year off doesn’t have to mean derailing your career. How getting off the treadmill helped four lawyers inject new meaning into their personal and professional lives.

ABA Connection

Abraham Lincoln, Esq.

In the public mind, Abraham Lincoln is best remembered as our 16th president—perhaps the greatest in U.S. history. He steered the nation through the turmoil of the Civil War, issued the Emancipation Proclamation and set the standard for presidential eloquence with the Gettysburg Address.

But before all that, Lincoln was a lawyer.

And not just in name. For a quarter-century—from 1836 until he was inaugurated as president in 1861—practicing law was Lincoln’s primary livelihood. Based in Springfield, Ill., but also “riding circuit” in other parts of the state, Lincoln maintained a busy and diverse practice.

Lincoln was well-liked by colleagues for his direct manner, sense of humor and storytelling abilities, but as the bicentennial of his birth is commemorated in 2009, he may be a more popular—and relevant—figure among lawyers than ever.

A Docket That Reflects Then And Now

Few lawyers today have a practice as diverse as Abraham Lincoln’s was in the years before the Civil War. But it was a caseload that still should sound familiar to lawyers practicing today.

Eloquence in One Draft

Abraham Lincoln usually went through several drafts when he prepared speeches or wrote letters for publication in newspapers.

The Common Touch at Trial

Much of Abraham Lincoln’s law practice unfolded in the 8th Judicial Circuit in central Illinois.

Training Ground for the Presidency

When Lincoln was elected president in 1860, he had less experience in public office than almost every president who had preceded him. His career in government amounted to eight years in the Illinois General Assembly and another two in the U.S. House of Rep­resentatives.

The National Pulse

Green Grow the Lawsuits

Free to Be

Supreme Court Report

A Torturous Process

McElhaney on Litigation

On Good Behavior

President's Message

A Lawyer at Heart

Precedents

February 24, 1803

Letters to the Editor

From One to Many