"Lincoln Case" Definition

Cases and nonlitigation activities included in this edition are those which involve Lincoln, one of Lincoln's three partners during the period of their partnership with Lincoln, or both Lincoln and his partner. The chronology of Lincoln's partnerships is as follows:

Because of the nature of law partnerships and court records during the mid-1800s, it is not possible to separate definitively Lincoln's practice from those of the three men with whom he was a partner. Through letters or newspaper accounts we know that Lincoln had a lead role in some cases; with the majority of cases, however, we only know that it was a partnership case. In many instances, the only way we know of Lincoln or his partner's involvement is because the clerk wrote their names (or initials) in the judge's docket. In other instances, we may know of Lincoln and his partner's involvement because one of them wrote a document in the case. Conversely, Lincoln is often listed as an attorney of record, but we know from other records that he did not actively participate in the case. Since we could not clearly separate Lincoln's cases from his partners' cases, we made the decision to treat all cases during the period of a partnership that were attributed to at least one of the partners as a Lincoln partnership case.

For more information on the three partnerships, see Partnerships in the Statistical Portrait.