This legal biography of the California cattle company Miller & Lux illuminates the relationship between law, economic change, and the distribution of wealth and power. It examines law in an environment undergoing rapid development, where the rules governing resources, especially water, were in contention. From the 1870s through the 1930s, Miller & Lux looked to the law to mediate its place amid change. This entailed the hiring of corporate counsel, a new concept for late-nineteenth-century America, and the creative development and use of new legal doctrines. The actions of its lawyers and managers and those of the opponents and judges it faced reveal the complex, dialectical interplay between legal and economic power.
Impressively researched from a labyrinth of primary source, Flooding the Courtrooms is an absorbing history of Miller & Lux and its influence in the shaping of the West.