A law firm is an organization staffed, owned, and managed by professionals; as such, law firms sit at the nexus of two distinct strands of academic inquiry: work on the professions and work on organizations. Law firms are governed by distinct rules, perform specialized work, and must integrate professional norms with organizational goals—and thus they present a unique challenge to researchers. This article reviews the organizational literature examining the structure and behavior of corporate law firms, connects this work to the sociological literature on the legal profession, and suggests new ways to combine these approaches and thereby deepen our understanding of the law firm as a unique organizational form.


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