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Live or let die: What law firms will look like in 20 years

Do law firms still need partnerships? Guy Vincent considers what law firms will look like in 20 years

24 August 2012

I am old enough to remember when a well-known law firm granted only partners the privilege of using the grand staircase in the firm’s reception. The many other members of the firm who were not partners entered the building through a side door.

Most of us who are old enough to have been around in those days, including that firm, have changed. But we all still have to face up to a lot more change in the profession, including to the traditional partnership model. Is the LLP the best model and do we still need partners?

We lawyers are by nature conservative. Our legal training emphasises caution and aversion to risk. We have not had to face up to change because, until recently, lawyers have enjoyed a golden period. Those of us who qualified in the 70s and

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