A law firm is a business entity formed by one or more lawyers to engage in the practice of law. A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law as an attorney, Counsel or Solicitor; a person The primary service provided by a law firm is to advise clients (individuals or corporations) about their legal rights and responsibilities, and to represent their clients in civil or criminal cases, business transactions and other matters in which legal assistance is sought. Consumers refers to individuals or households that use goods and services generated within the economy. A corporation is a separate legal entity usually used to conduct business A right is a legal or moral Entitlement or Permission. Rights are of vital importance in theories of Justice and deontological ethics An obligation is a requirement to take some course of action whether legal or moral. Civil law, as opposed to Criminal law, refers to that branch of Law dealing with disputes between Individuals and/or Organizations, in which The term criminal law, sometimes called penal law, refers to any of various bodies of rules in different Jurisdictions whose common characteristic is the potential
Smaller firms tend to focus on particular specialties of the law (e. g. patent law, labor law, tax law, criminal defense, personal injury); larger firms may be composed of several specialized practice groups, allowing the firm to diversify their client base and market, and to offer a variety of services to their clients. A patent is a set of Exclusive rights granted by a State to an inventor or his assignee for a fixed period of time in exchange for a disclosure of an Labour law (also known as employment or labor law is the body of Laws administrative rulings and precedents which address the legal rights of and restrictions "Tax code" redirects here For the term as used in the United Kingdom PAYE system see Tax code (PAYE. 
Law firms are organized in a variety of ways, depending on the jurisdiction in which the firm practices. Common arrangements include:
In many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, there is a rule that only lawyers may have an ownership interest in, or be managers of, a law firm. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Thus, law firms cannot quickly raise capital through initial public offerings on the stock market, like most corporations. In Economics, capital or capital Goods or real capital refers to items of extensive value Initial public offering (IPO, also referred to simply as a "public offering" is when a company issues Common stock or shares to the public for the first A corporation is a separate legal entity usually used to conduct business In the United States this rule is promulgated by the American Bar Association and adhered to in almost all U. The American Bar Association ( ABA) founded August 21 1878 is a voluntary Bar association of Lawyers and law students which is not specific S. jurisdictions.
The rule was created in order to prevent conflicts of interest. In the adversarial system of justice, a lawyer has a duty to be a zealous and loyal advocate on behalf of the client. The adversarial system (or adversary system) of law is the system of law generally adopted in Common law countries that relies on the skill of each advocate Also, as an officer of the court, a lawyer has a duty to be honest and to not file frivolous cases. A lawyer working as a shareholder-employee of a publicly traded law firm would be strongly tempted to evaluate decisions in terms of their effect on the stock price and the shareholders, which would directly conflict with the lawyer's duties to the client and to the courts.
In the United Kingdom, lawyers are divided between barristers, who plead in the higher courts and give expert opinions on points of law, and solicitors who act directly for clients. A barrister is a Lawyer found in many Common law Jurisdictions that employ a split profession (as opposed to a Fused profession) in relation A "solicitor" is a term used in many Common law jurisdictions for a lawyer who offers legal services outside of the courts Even though barristers are traditionally seen as the senior branch of the legal profession, and the most distinguished British lawyers are generally barristers, most barristers are self-employed sole practitioners (although they share facilities in sets of rooms known as "chambers", usually at one of the four Inns of Court). The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations to one of which every barrister in England and Wales (and those judges who were formerly barristers All the main UK law firms are firms of solicitors.
Big law firms usually have separate litigation and corporate departments. The corporate departments advise companies on corporate deals, and the litigation departments deal with the problems the firms' clients face.
Law firms are typically organized around partners, who are joint owners and business directors of the legal operation; associates, who are employees of the firm with the prospect of becoming partners; and a variety of staff employees, providing paralegal, clerical, and other support services. For partnership in cricket terminology see List of cricket terms A partnership is a type of Business entity in which partners Employment is a Contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. A paralegal is a person with legal training and/or knowledge who works under the direct supervision of a Lawyer. An associate may have to wait as long as 9 years before the decision is made as to whether the associate "makes partner". Many law firms have an "up-or-out policy" (pioneered around 1900 by partner Paul Cravath of Cravath, Swaine & Moore): associates who do not make partner are required to resign, either to join another firm, go it alone as a solo practitioner, go to work in-house in a corporate legal department, or change professions (burnout rates are very high in law). Paul Drennan Cravath ( July 14, 1861 – July 1, 1940) was a millionaire Lawyer of Manhattan and a partner of Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP (“Cravath” is a prominent American Law firm based in New York City, United States with an additional office in London The term profession is applied to those persons who have specialized and technical skill or knowledge which they apply for a fee to certain tasks that ordinary and unqualified people cannot Burnout is a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest ( Depersonalization or Cynicism) usually in the work
Making partner is very prestigious, especially at a large or midsize firm. Such firms take out advertisements in legal newspapers to announce who has made partner. Traditionally, partners shared directly in the profits of the firm, after paying salaried employees, the landlord, and the usual costs of furniture, office supplies, and books for the law library (or a database subscription). Partners in a limited liability partnership can largely operate autonomously with regards to cultivating new business and servicing existing clients within their book of business. A limited liability partnership (abbreviated as LLP) has elements of Partnerships and Corporations. Book of business is common parlance in the legal services sector and refers to the collection of clients that a lawyer (usually a partner has assembled throughout his or her career However, many large law firms have moved to a two-tiered partnership model, with equity and non-equity partners. An equity partner is a partner in a Partnership who is a part owner of the Business, and is entitled to a proportion of the distributable Profits of the Equity partners are considered to have ownership stakes in the firm, and share in the profits (and losses) of the firm. Non-equity partners are generally paid a fixed salary (albeit much higher than associates), and they are often granted certain limited voting rights with respect to firm operations. It is rare for a partner to be forced out by fellow partners, although that can happen if the partner commits a crime or malpractice, experiences disruptive mental illness, or is not contributing to the firm's overall profitability. However, some large firms have written into their partnership agreement a forced retirement age for partners. This age can be anywhere from age 65 on up. In contrast, most corporate executives are at much higher risk of being fired, even when the underlying cause is not directly their fault, such as a drop in the company's stock price.
In the United States and Canada, many large and midsize firms have attorneys with the job title of "counsel", "special counsel" or "of counsel. " These attorneys are employees of the firm like associates, although some firms have an independent contractor relationship with their of counsel. An independent contractor is a Natural person, Business or Corporation which provides goods or services to another entity under terms But unlike associates, and more like partners, they generally have their own clients, manage their own cases, and supervise associates. These relationships are structured to allow more senior attorneys share in the resources and "brand name" of the firm without being a part of management or profit sharing decisions. The title is often seen among former associates who do not make partner, or who are laterally recruited to other firms, or who work as in-house counsel and then return to the big firm environment. At some firms, the title "of counsel" is given to retired partners who maintain ties to the firm. Sometimes an "of counsel" is a senior or experienced attorney, such as a foreign legal consultant with experience in international law and practice, and his own clients. They are hired as independent contractors by large firms as a special arrangement, that may lead upon profitable results to partnership. In these situation an "of counsel" could be considered as a transitional status in the firm.
Law firms range widely in size. The smallest law firms are solo practitioners (lawyers practicing alone), who form the vast majority of lawyers in nearly all countries. 
The United States pioneered the concept of the large law firm in the sense of a business entity consisting of more than one lawyer. The first law firms with two or more lawyers appeared in the U. S. just prior to the American Civil War (1861-1865). Causes of the war See also Origins of the American Civil War, Timeline of events leading to the American Civil War The coexistence of a slave-owning South  The idea gradually spread across the Atlantic to England, although "English solicitors remained a corps of solo practitioners or very small partnerships until after World War II. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including " Today, the United States (and the United Kingdom) have many small firms (2 to 50 lawyers) and midsize firms (50 to 200 lawyers). 
Lawyers in small cities and towns may still have old-fashioned general practices, but most urban lawyers tend to be highly specialized due to the overwhelming complexity of the law today.  Thus, some small firms in the cities specialize in practicing only one kind of law (like employment, antitrust, intellectual property, or telecommunications) and are called "boutique" firms. Employment is a Contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. Intellectual property ( IP) is a legal field that refers to creations of the mind such as musical literary and artistic works inventions and symbols names 
However, the largest law firms have more than 1,000 lawyers. These firms, often colloquially called "megafirms" or "biglaw", generally have offices on several continents, bill up to $750 per hour or higher, and have a high ratio of support staff per attorney.  They can, and in some cases do, litigate every issue, burying their opponents in a blizzard of paper in the process; the result has been a kind of legal "arms race" where every large corporation tries to retain the services of the biggest law firm they can afford. The term arms race, in its original usage describes a competition between two or more parties for real or apparent military supremacy A corporation is a separate legal entity usually used to conduct business  Because of the localized and regional nature of firms, the relative size of a firm varies.  Thus in New York, several hundred attorneys would be required for a "large firm", whereas in Las Vegas, perhaps only 50 attorneys would be needed to be a "large firm".
The largest firms like to call themselves "full-service" firms because they have departments specializing in every type of legal work that pays well, which in the U. S. usually means mergers and acquisitions transactions, banking, and certain types of high-stakes corporate litigation. These firms rarely do plaintiffs' personal injury work. However the largest law firms are not very large compared to other major businesses (or even other professional services firms) due to the fact that, as law firms, they cannot raise capital from the public markets and, due to ethics rules, cannot represent conflicting parties.
The largest law firms in the world are based primarily in the United Kingdom and the United States. The American system of licensing attorneys on a state-by-state basis, the tradition of having a headquarters in a single U.S. state and a close focus on profits per partner (as opposed to sheer scale) has to date limited the size of most American law firms. A US state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of the United States of America that share Sovereignty with the federal government Thus, whilst the most profitable law firms in the world remain in New York, four of the six largest firms in the world are based in London in the United Kingdom. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located But the huge size of the United States results in a larger number of large firms overall — a 2003 survey found that the United States alone had 901 law firms with more than 50 lawyers, while there were only 58 such firms in Canada, 44 in Great Britain, 14 in France, and 9 in Germany.  There is an increasing tendency towards globalisation of law firms.
In 2004, the largest law firm in the world was the British firm Clifford Chance, which had revenue of US$1. Clifford Chance LLP is the largest Law firm in the world both by number of lawyers and revenue and a component of the UK's " Magic Circle " of leading law The United States dollar ( sign: $; code: USD) is the unit of Currency of the United States; it has also been 675 billion. This can be compared with $312 billion for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart Stores Inc (or Walmart as written in its new logo is an American public corporation that runs a chain of large discount department stores On the other hand, Clifford Chance employs about 6,500 worldwide (3,200+ of whom are fee-earning lawyers), versus Wal-Mart's 1,900,000 employees.
The salary paid to lawyers in law firms typically depends on the firm size (small-firm salaries vary widely and are not often publicly available). In the United States in 2006, the median salaries of new graduates ranged from $50,000/year in small firms (2 to 10 Attorneys) to 135,000/year in very large firms (more than 501 attorneys). According to alreadybored.com, many large firms in major markets such as NYC, California, DC, Boston and Chicago compensate new associates according to the following pay scale:
First Year: $160,000, Second Year: $170,000, Third Year: $185,000, Fourth Year: $210,000, Fifth Year: $230,000, Sixth Year: $250,000, Seventh Year: $270,000, Eighth Year: $280,000. Other markets such as Texas start at $160,000, but the annual increases are much smaller than the foregoing scale. With a few exceptions, markets such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, Denver, and Seattle generally start at $130,000 or $145,000. With a few exceptions, most other U. S. markets start within $20,000 of $100,000.
NYC bonuses (the top of the U. S. market) in 2007 were as follows: First Year: $45,000 (35K + 10K special bonus), Second Year: $55,000 (40K + 15K SB), Third Year: $65,000 (45K + 20K SB), Fourth Year: $80,000 (50K + 30K SB), Fifth Year: $95,000 (55K + 40K SB), Sixth Year: $110,000 (60K + 50K SB), Seventh Year +: $115,000 (65K + 50K SB).  Larger markets outside NYC typically match the base bonus without the special bonus. Smaller markets and/or smaller firms pay $5K to $20K bonuses, if any at all. 
Most law firms are located in office buildings of various sizes, ranging from modest one-story buildings to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world (though only in 2004, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP was the first firm to put its name on a skyscraper). A skyscraper is a tall continuously habitable Building. There is no official definition or a precise cutoff height above which a building may clearly be classified as a skyscraper "MMIV" redirects here For the Modest Mouse album see " Baron von Bullshit Rides Again " Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP, known more commonly as Paul Hastings, is a leading international law firm with over 1300 attorneys and 18 offices worldwide Some solo practitioners practice out of their homes or in offices built as special additions to their homes.
Because their "work product" is often intangible, or at least conceptually difficult for clients to grasp, some firms are notorious for using jaw-dropping interior design (huge amount of floor space and fantastic views) as a "shock and awe" tactic to impress prospective clients and intimidate opposing counsel. Interior design is a practice concerned with anything that is found inside a space - walls windows doors finishes textures light furnishings and furniture Shock and awe, technically known as rapid dominance, is a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming power dominant battlefield awareness dominant maneuvers and spectacular Other firms will find more modest office space, depending on the nature of the practice.
In late 2001, it was widely publicized that one personal injury plaintiffs' firm in the state of New York has been experimenting with bus-sized "mobile law offices. " The firm insists that it does not "chase ambulances". Ambulance chaser is a Derogatory phrase sometimes used to describe a Trial lawyer who specializes in representing accident victims It claims that a law office on wheels is more convenient for personal injury plaintiffs, who are often recovering from severe injuries and thus find it difficult to travel far from their homes for an intake interview.
As legal practice is adversarial, law firm rankings are widely relied on by prospective associates, lateral hires and legal clients. Substantive rankings typically cover practice areas such as The American Lawyer's Corporate Scorecard  and Top IP Firms. The American Lawyer is a monthly law Magazine. It was founded in 1979 by Steven Brill. Work place rankings are directed toward lawyers or law students, and cover such topics as quality of life, hours, family friendliness and salaries . Finally, statistical rankings generally cover profit-related data such as profits per partner and revenue per lawyer . Statistics is a mathematical science pertaining to the collection analysis interpretation or explanation and presentation of Data.
In an October 2007 press conference reported in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, the law student group Building a Better Legal Profession released its first annual ranking of top law firms by average billable hours, pro bono participation, and demographic diversity. Building a Better Legal Profession is a national grassroots organization founded by students at Stanford Law School in January 2007   Most notably, the report ranked the percentages of women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and gays & lesbians at America's top law firms. A law firm is a business entity formed by one or more Lawyers to engage in the practice of law The group has sent the information to top law schools around the country, encouraging students to take this demographic data into account when choosing where to work after graduation.  As more students choose where to work based on the firms' diversity rankings, firms face an increasing market pressure in order to attract top recruits. 
A number of television shows such as Ally McBeal, L.A. Law, The Practice, Boston Legal, and Justice have revolved around relationships occurring in fictional law firms, highlighting both public fascination with and misperception of the characteristic lives of lawyers in high-powered settings. Television ( TV) is a widely used Telecommunication medium for sending ( Broadcasting) and receiving moving Images, either monochromatic Ally McBeal is an American Television series which ran on the FOX network from 1997 to 2002 LA Law is an American television Legal drama that ran from 1986 to 1994. The Practice is a American Legal drama created by David E Kelley centering on the partners and associates at a Boston Boston Legal is an American Legal drama - Comedy created by David E Justice was a short-lived Legal drama produced by Jerry Bruckheimer that aired on FOX in the USA on CTV in Canada on Warner