Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Lawyers create and apply knowledge for clients, and law firms are the paradigmatic vehicle for delivering that knowledge. Lawyers typically form firms by partnership, where all the members agree to enjoy the profits or suffer the losses. These are usually flat-profiled organizations composed of partners (owners), associates (employee attorneys), and staff. Other firms may be run as franchises or as more hierarchical and autocratic structures. Some law firms can trace their histories for hundreds of years. For example, Freshfields in London became solicitors to the Bank of England in 1743. However, some countries, such as Greece, have only allowed the formation of law firms since the 1990s; and in other countries, such as England and Wales, parts of the legal profession, such as barristers, prohibit the creation of law firm partnerships. Law firms obviously come in many shapes and sizes. In the late twentieth century, one could characterize the legal ...