Over the past few decades, every other sizable sector of the professional services industry has switched wholesale from being organized as partnerships to being organized as corporations.  This includes:

  • Management consultants, such as McKinsey, BCG, and Bain;
  • Architectural firms, such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Kohn Pederson Fox;
  • Engineering firms, such as CH2M Hill, Dames & Moore, and Woodward-Cycle Consultants;
  • And investment banks including Goldman Sachs and Lazard.

The law firm sector appears to be the only remaining holdout sticking with the partnership as the dominant organizational form.

Clearly, the other professional service sectors have concluded that the corporate structure is superior at the ultimate goal, delivering client service.  (If any “went corporate” and found clients dissatisfied, they would have switched back.)  And, our new “alt-law” competition, not to mention in-house departments, wouldn’t dream of any other form.

So without further ado, our question of the month for you:


Does the partnership form remain the optimal structure for law firms?

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As always, we invite your further thoughts in the comment section below.

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