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BigLawMoney and Meaning in the Modern Law Firm$
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Mitt Regan and Lisa H. Rohrer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226741949

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226742274.001.0001

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Money and Meaning in the Modern Law Firm

(p.232) Conclusion

Mitt Regan

Lisa H. Rohrer

University of Chicago Press

This book relies on more than 270 interviews with partners in major law firms to gain a rich understanding of how lawyers navigate business pressures and their commitment to non-financial professional values. The interviews make clear that law firms and the partners within them face intensifying competition that demands close attention to financial productivity. Partners therefore must be entrepreneurial, continuously seeking work deploying business management skills to ensure that it's profitable. At the same time, partners seek satisfaction in non-financial professional values, and a partner's commitment to a firm is shaped in important ways by their conviction that it gives weight to both business considerations and professional values. In an era in which firms no longer have long-term client relationships that provide bind lawyers to the firm, the ability to strike this balance can serve to some extent as a substitute for it. This requires that a firm credibly communicate to its partners both that it is a well-run business enterprise and that the firm stands for something more than this. This involves simultaneously solving a Prisoner's Dilemma and an Assurance Game. Firms that can meet this difficult challenge have the potential to thrive in the modern law firm market.

Keywords:   business, professional values, prisoner's dilemma, assurance game, law firm culture, organizational loyalty

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