The Illinois Central Railroad, one of the largest Illinois corporations, retained Abraham Lincoln as counsel in the early 1850s. To place Lincoln's corporate law career in context, one must first understand the state of corporate law, the types of corporations in existence, and the typical corporate law practice in the 1850s. The discussion is divided into several sections. Part II examines Lincoln's legal background: his education, admittance to the bar, law partners, office arrangements, and his general reputation in the legal community. Part III outlines the status and changes in corporate law in the mid-nineteenth century. Part IV chronicles the history and development of the Illinois Central Railroad. Finally, part V is an analysis of the attorney/client relationship between Abraham Lincoln and the Illinois Central Railroad.

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