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As a matter of enterprise organization and as codified in the Uniform Partnership Act, a partnership — including a law firm partnership — is nothing more than “an association of two or more persons to carry on as co-owners of a business for profit.” Traditionally, however, lawyers make much more of partnership than that.

Within the cultural milieu of law firms, partnership implies both special privilege and special obligation. Many young lawyers in private practice see partnership in a major firm as the brass ring. To those who have achieved that status, partnership often forms a significant element of both personal and professional identity. A law firm’s culture depends in large part on what the firm expects of its partners.

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