Thirty years ago, almost to the day, Big Law changed forever. The decision by The American Lawyer to publish detailed law firm financials in 1985 laid bare for the first time the inner workings of a tradition-bound and conservative industry. The previously unthinkable levels of fiscal transparency would go on to fundamentally and irrevocably alter the way in which law firms are structured and operate.

“I cannot think of anything that has had a greater impact on the market,” says Bruce MacEwen, founder of law firm consultancy Adam Smith, Esq. “It has just been a seismic change.”

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