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Organizational Professionalism in Global Law Firms

Work, Employment and Society, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 7-25, 2008

Posted: 4 Jul 2008  

James Faulconbridge

Lancaster University


Are the challenges of globalization, technology and competition exercising a dramatic impact on professional practice whilst, in the process, compromising traditional notions of professionalism, autonomy and discretion? This paper engages with these debates and uses original, qualitative empirical data to highlight the vast areas of continuity that exist even the largest globalizing law firms. Whilst it is undoubted that growth in the size of firms and their globalization bring new challenges, these are resolved in ways that are sensitive to professional values and interests. In particular, a commitment to professional autonomy and discretion still characterises the way in which these firms operate and organize themselves. This situation is explained in terms of the development of an organizational model of professionalism, whereby the large organization is increasingly emerging as a primary locus of professionalization and whereby professional priorities and objectives are increasingly supported by organizational logics, systems and initiatives.

Keywords: Globalization; Legal Profession, Organizational Professionalism, Professional Autonomy, Professional Services Firms

Suggested Citation

Faulconbridge, James, Organizational Professionalism in Global Law Firms. Work, Employment and Society, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 7-25, 2008 . Available at SSRN:

James Faulconbridge (Contact Author)

Lancaster University ( email )

Lancaster LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

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