Summary of Managing the Modern Law Firm

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Editor Laura Empson has collected papers that present the latest research on the evolution of the modern law practice. Although the writers here are academics, their papers are not overly technical. In straightforward language, they discuss the various challenges new international, corporate structures present to legal traditions, from public service to the “partnership ethos” to billing. getAbstract recommends this book to strategically minded legal executives who want to map out new directions while retaining the best of the old values and ethics.

About the Author

Laura Empson lectures on organizational behavior and strategy at Oxford Saïd Business School. She is director of the Clifford Chance Centre for the Management of Professional Services Firms. She previously worked as an investment banker and strategy consultant.



Tradition and Change

The rapid growth of corporate law firms and the expanding interests of their large clients have changed the lay of the land for law firms. They are competing in a new market. Their clients expect them to have a global presence. The new corporate governance structures demanded by megafirms’ size and complexity are challenging long-held legal traditions and even ethics. Other issues, such as diversity, the mobility of legal staff and clients, and more intense competition, are also causing firms to experiment with new approaches. Which traditions the profession will maintain and which it will jettison is unclear, but eventually new practices will emerge – that is, until the next wave of challenges washes them away in their turn.

The Ethos of Partnership

The traditional legal partnership is deteriorating. Many believe it is too important to the sound practice of law to abandon, but others find that the realities of legal corporations require a new system. The question is how to use modern structures and support systems to keep the essential qualities of the partnership ethos alive. It should evolve rather than become extinct.

The partnership...

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