By Benjamin H. Barton: The fall and rise of lawyers  Updated 3:38 PM ET, Sat May 23, 2015

The American legal profession has faced  a tsunami of bad news since 2008. White-shoe, corporate law firms have faced waves of layoffs or even shuttered their doors. While the very top firms are rolling again, the 50 years of explosive growth that started in the 1960s are now a memory. 

But at least corporate lawyers have had recent glory days. Solo practitioners, the largest  single group of American lawyers and the heart and soul of the profession, have struggled for a quarter of a century.