In the United Kingdom, the traditional partnership model is under threat from the looming onset of the third and final stage of the Legal Services Act (LSA), which will permit U.K. law firms to accept outside investment and have nonpartner equity shareholders for the first time.

Although the provisions for these “alternative business structures” (ABS) do not formally come into effect until October 2011, U.K. firms are already preparing themselves for what many experts believe will be a fundamental reshaping of the profession.

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