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From kinship to magic circle: the London commercial law firm in the twentieth century

Galanter, Mark and Roberts, Simon (2008) From kinship to magic circle: the London commercial law firm in the twentieth century. International Journal of the Legal Profession, 15 (3). pp. 143-178. ISSN 0969-5958

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Identification Number: 10.1080/09695950902804217


The authors trace the successive transformations of the large London commercial law firm, which entered the 20th century as a small group of partners, typically from one or more family groups, surrounded by a large group of working class clerks who performed much of the 'professional work'. After mid-century this firm based on kinship and class hierarchy gave way to a larger firm consisting of non-kin partners selected meritocratically presiding over an increasing band of assistant solicitors and trainees recruited on the basis of their educational credentials and taking part in a promotion-to-partnership tournament. In the last decade of the century, the central institutions and understandings of this meritocratic firm gave way to a constellation of larger, less stable, and increasingly supra-national aggregations, in a setting pervaded by a fascination, both instrumental and narcissistic, with rank and image.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 Routledge
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2009 15:51
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:44

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