There is a remarkable uniformity in the business model of law firms that often no longer serves lawyers’ objectives. The profession clings to the presumption that a successful firm must be an equity partnership in which those elevated to partner status share in the profits and governance of the firm according to some numerical assignation of their relative worth. This is the way law firms do business — always have, always will.

But increasingly, lawyers seem disappointed by this model. Why are the financial rewards not greater for those who seem to be doing very well? Where is the sense of real collaboration among partners? Why do individual lawyers lack recognition commensurate with their accomplishments? Why do lawyers lack the control over their practices and their firm’s resources that they feel they have earned and need? Why are associates not more inspired? Why is there so much bickering among partners over money or even pettier issues? Why do lawyers not feel more gratified professionally and financially? Why are they often envious of their clients — who seem to be so much better rewarded and fulfilled?

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