Law Firms – Their Purpose, Types, Structure, and More!

Law firms are business entities that have lawyers engaged working in various avenues of law. They share resources like rent, staff, furniture, technology, internet, libraries, etc., to provide clients with comprehensive services for all their legal needs. Law firms provide a variety of specialized services to legal companies as well as individuals. They advise their clients on their legal rights and liabilities and have litigation lawyers that physically represent their clients in the court of law. They respond to notices and cases filed, engage in negotiations, and finalize contracts on behalf of their clients. The lawyers also engage in criminal, civil and business transactions like intellectual property, real estate, and taxation.

There are different kinds of formations of law firms. Most law firms are owned and managed by lawyers themselves. They are:

  • Sole proprietorship:

    in this kind of law firm, only one lawyer is responsible for all profits, losses, and liabilities.
  • Limited liability company:

    as the name suggests, the lawyers cum owners are part of the organization but are not liable to third party creditors of the firm.
  • General partnership:

    all the lawyers in this firm jointly share the profits, losses, and liabilities that are accrued to the firm.
  • Professional association:

    in this kind of firm, the lawyers or advocates are offered stocks. They operate similarly to a business corporation.
  • Limited liability partnership:

    in this type of law firm, there is neither any liability nor any responsibility on the lawyers against any creditor or negligent performance on the part of any other co-lawyer. This type of partnership allows for the advocate-owners to function with ease and without any hassles. They are also taxed as a partnership but enjoy being the beneficiaries of liability protections that are usually afforded to a corporation.

What is the working structure of a firm?

  1. Partners and Chief Executive Officer:

    they are joint owners and business directors of the entire firm. The entire operation runs on their authority and command.
  2. Associates:

    These are the lawyers of the firm who are engaged as employees of the firm. There are usually junior and senior associates who are on track to making it partners of the firm.
  3. Interns:

    these are usually law students who working in a firm to gain practical experience and skills necessary to make it in the firm in the future.

What kind of services are provided by the law firms?

Depending on the specialization and nature of the law firm, they will provide services accordingly to their clients. Most law firms are multipurpose firms with varied services like arbitration, administrative law, aviation law, banking, and financial law, competition law, corporate law, criminal law, contract law, constitutional law, environmental law, intellectual property law, property and real estate law, labor law, information, and technology law, taxation laws, etc.

Working with a law firm has its pros and cons. It is highly recommended that potential clients compare them and then engage their services. Clients must ascertain their goals, skills, and financial limitations before landing on a firm.